If you’re like me, everything feels a little overwhelming right now.
You’re probably tired of hearing that this is “the new normal” or that these are “unprecedented times” or that we’re even going through a massive, worldwide, system reboot.
Since you’ve heard all of that 1000 times, it’s not helpful information. And you definitely don’t need to hear about how everyone is struggling because you are currently living it, so you won’t get any of that from me either.
However, I do have something I really want to share that I think is useful.
I’ve seen a lot of people asking about how they can support small businesses without spending any money. Or with very limited spending.
Small businesses and “hands-on” type businesses have been hit pretty hard.
Those who have online businesses can use that to their advantage, but we’re still in the middle of a global crisis. People are afraid and feeling helpless, which is 100% legit.
Whether you’re still going in to work or working from home or not working at all or were laid off or furloughed, we’re all in this mess together. We’re not all in the same boat but certainly in the same ocean of crazy.
To that end, we want to help one another out, particularly those whose boat in this ocean might be more of an old, patched canoe instead of a big, shiny yacht. You just might be in a patched canoe yourself and you’re not sure how you can help, if at all.
Ok, enough with the boat metaphor.
I’ve put together a quick list of things you can do to support small businesses without spending any money (unless you want to).
This is probably the easiest way to help small businesses or local businesses. There are a few simple steps you can follow to maximize this support.
1. Follow them on facebook or instagram or twitter. If they have a youtube channel, subscribe to their YouTube. If they have a free facebook group, join their group.
2. Like and share their posts or content. It’s great to just follow them, but to take it a step further, you need to help broaden their reach to people who might not know them. The more you like their content, comment on their posts, and share what they’ve posted, the more people will see them. And some of those people might not be as financially hard hit as others and might want to work with them/purchase from them.
3. Share the content they post with a personal touch. For example, you might say, “I really love the amazingly simple tips my friend Melissa Droegenmueller shares about homeschooling. She makes it feel doable instead of daunting.” PS…this is a real review. My friend Melissa is brilliant when it comes to educating younger kids at home. Join her free facebook group, The Parent Resource Room, here.
To simplify your life, choose 10 small or local businesses to do this for. You can’t do this for everyone.
Leave a 5-Star Review
Another way to boost their image publicly is to post a review on Yelp or on their facebook business page. This way other people can see real, honest reviews from people like them and can be encouraged to support them because of what you say.
An especially helpful way to review them would be to share what they’re doing for the community during this time of crisis, if they’re doing things like this. For example, my son’s Montessori school has shut down like other schools, but they’ve been sending home these amazing boxes and baskets for the kids filled with hands-on activities my son can do at home. I’m sharing pictures of this on social media and writing a review for them that they can post to their website. What they are doing is a great service to the kids, as well as the parents. And it demonstrates how much they care, which will help when we finally do re-open and kids can go back to school again. I want to make sure their classes are full so they stay in business, which is why those photos and reviews will help.
Tell Your Friends!
Do you know a mama struggling to balance working from home with little kids? I’d point her to my friend Valerie, who is co-leading a donation-based facebook group to support moms in this position.
Do you know someone who is looking to boost their visibility and business using instagram? I’d direct them to my friend Molly, a fellow airforce spouse and mama at my son’s school who has some GENIUS tips I’ve used in my own business.
Is your neighbor in need of a birthday cake for her daughter? Do you have a friend who is complaining of low back pain?
If there are people you usually go to for these things, recommend them to your friends. They might be able to afford their services now or in the future!
Take Advantage of FREE Offers
As a small business owner, I have lots of free offerings. I do this so people can get a taste of what I offer without having to make a huge investment. It’s low risk and helps people get to know me, plus I think of it as a service to my community. Not everyone can afford to pay so having some free offerings (my YouTube channel, my free facebook group, my DAILY CORE video) are ways that I can give back.
Usually these freebies are often a way that you can get on someone’s email list. Please subscribe! Read their emails if they’re relevant and useful. Unsubscribe if they’re not. And forward anything that might benefit friends who don’t know about this person. Share the link for their freebies. Spread the love!
Right now small businesses would love feedback on how they can best support you. Please share your thoughts, suggestions, ideas for how they can make their business better.
Trade for services
If you can’t afford to pay for the services or goods a small business offers but you have skills that might benefit them, you can always do a trade.
For example, I am always looking for someone who is wordpress savvy and loves yoga. While I can manage my site decently well, I’d love to hand over some of those day-to-day things to someone else. But I can’t afford it. If someone wanted to trade with me for free yoga classes or private lessons, I’d do it in a heartbeat.
What are you good at? Do you have skills that might help a small business survive this crisis? SHARE THEM.
When things start to shift and that small business becomes more profitable, you might be able to renegotiate the terms and be paid for your work. Or you might stick with your mutually beneficial trade.
Those are my best tips for how you can support small businesses without spending any money. If you have some other ideas for supporting small businesses spending little or no money, please leave those in the comments!
Let’s support one another through this crisis and beyond!
Here are 2 of my current freebies: