At a time of staggering wealth and income inequality many people are looking for a way to help support mainstreet instead of Wall Street. And that can be hard to do. But that doesn’t mean that all is lost for small businesses. In honor of small business week, today I have an article featuring a variety of ways to help support local businesses!
If you want to directly support a small business then you can always just spend your money at their location. If it’s a restaurant you love, be sure to make them a regular part of your dinner rotation. And you don’t even have to go to the restaurant and sit down to eat. You can always get delivery or take-out and enjoy their great food in the comfort of your own home. But when you do go and sit down in the restaurant to eat or drink be sure to tip well. Getting good tips is something that helps a restaurant keep talented staff in their business.
And there is a lot of money that can be wasted for a small business if they have a lot of employee turnover. The time and effort it takes to train new employees takes away from all the other important things they have to do to keep their business running. So being a good tipper can be a great way to help them keep their best staff members and reduce the amount of time and money they have to dedicate to training new employees.
If it’s a small retail business that you love, be sure to drive to their location and buy your goods there instead of buying them on Amazon. And be sure to do it regularly. Having a consistent consumer base can be really make or break for small businesses. Bringing in new customers requires spending money on advertising and promotions. But a customer who has already shopped at the store and had a positive experience doesn’t require them to reach them through ads. So they aren’t spending extra money just to get someone in the door. In fact just a 5% increase in customer retention can increase a company's profitability by nearly 75%!
If you really love a local small business you can always show support by giving them some free advertising in the form of your social media. Give a restaurant a glowing Yelp review. Or post a picture of your favorite meal on your Instagram. If you got a new product that you really love, maybe make a post about it and tag a friend (or friends) in the post that you also think might love the product. This can be a great way to get new customers to give the business a try for the first time. Afterall, you’re more likely to believe your friend's opinion than you are to believe whatever is said in an advertisement.
Be sure to follow the small businesses social media accounts if they have them and be sure to share their posts (especially if they have a big sale coming up or a great new product in stock). Social media can be a really key factor in building brand awareness, especially for smaller businesses that can’t afford tv or radio ads. So by using your network to help promote them, you are helping them reach an audience and consumer base that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to reach. Not only will this help them bring in more revenue from more customers, it will also save them some money because they won’t have to be paying for their own advertising in the form of expensive ads or employing a full time social media manager.
GiftYa partners with thousands of small businesses around the country and getting a digital gift card to their business can be a great way to support them. If you want to see which of your local businesses accept GiftYa be sure to go to www.giftya.com/buy and search using the name of your city or your zip code. You’ll get a list of all the businesses in your area that accept GiftYa. And if you are a small business owner and want to partner with GiftYa so that way you can generate revenue off of our digital gift cards you can go to www.giftya.com/local-merchants and begin the process of partnering with GiftYa at no cost to you!
Another great feature to these gift cards is that they can be given as gifts in just a couple of seconds. You can buy them digitally in just a couple of clicks and then instantly text them to somebody’s phone. And then once they have the gift card to the local business they are going to be more likely to give them a try. Afterall, they won’t be spending their own money so it’s not like they are taking a huge risk on somewhere they haven’t shopped before.
And the vast majority of small businesses agree that retaining a customer is much cheaper than acquiring a new customer. So in this way you can help them acquire a new customer and they just have to worry about getting them to come back. And a business is much more likely to be able to sell to a customer a second time than they are to be able to sell to a new customer. Which means that the chances are after the person you sent the gift card to has shopped there once, they are much more likely to shop there a second time!
Another great way to support small businesses is to help them build brand awareness. That means that basically you do some free advertising for them. And one easy way to do that is to go to Gift Card Granny and make a custom Visa card. The nice thing about these cards is that they are accepted everywhere that Visa is accepted, which basically means they are accepted everywhere.
And with these custom gift cards you can pick out a custom photo to print on the front of the card. So if there is a local business you love you can put their logo or symbol on the front of the card. That way every time you use it, you are doing a little bit of free advertising for the small business that you love! And if you want you can even make a bunch of custom gift cards with the logo on them and give them out as gifts at the next big gift giving occasion. And since they are accepted everywhere that accepts Visa there is really no limit to the reach they can have in your local community!
One of the most important ways that you can support a small business is through word of mouth. Which essentially just means that you need to tell people about them. If there’s a dish at their restaurant that you really love, be sure to tell people about it. If you have guests in from out of town be sure to take them to the restaurant so that way when they go home they have positive things to say about the restaurant in a whole new market.
Or be sure to shout them out the next time your office needs somewhere to cater the next big staff meeting. And the same thing applies for retail businesses. If they offer a great price on something or you got a great deal the last time you were there, be sure to tell people about them. And if the cashiers there know you by name as a regular, be sure to tell others about how friendly and helpful their staff is.
Small businesses are always fighting an uphill battle in the modern economy. Massive corporations and chain restaurants have a huge advantage when it comes to being able to negotiate prices. And then since they can get the lower prices, they can offer a cheaper deal than many small businesses can.
When you support a local small business with your dollar, that dollar is then spent again by somebody in your local community. Supporting a local restaurant that gets their produce from local farms means that your dollar goes to support the local economy multiple times. And when everybody in your community starts supporting local businesses that money goes into the local tax base. Which means better roads and better schools in your town. So even though a massive corporation might give you a better deal by a couple of dollars, that money leaves your community and goes to their bottom line. By supporting local small businesses you are really supporting your local community. You might pay just a little bit more, but there will be a chain reaction of your entire community getting value from the dollar you spend. Making it a better deal overall when you really think about everything that you are getting out of the transaction!