How to Support a Small Business Without Spending Any Money

There are so many amazing businesses in the Waterloo Region, but it can be expensive to try and support all of your favourites. Small businesses are the foundation of an awesome community and there are alternative ways to support them without monetary value. With the help of different strategies, you can seriously boost the success of a business with small kind gestures that go a long way. Support your favourite businesses through these five easy ways

Recommend them to a Friend

Know a friend who is in the market to buy a house? Recommend a local realtor! Or maybe you have a coworker who wants to buy a new car. Sharing your experience with one of your local dealership can help them out. Many of the choices we make, especially when purchasing large-ticket items, may be run through our friends, family and coworkers for advice and tips. Referrals are a great way for businesses to gain new business from previously happy customers. 

Offer to Give a Helping Hand

Many small businesses operate with less than 5 staff members. This means that when staff require a long-term leave, get sick, or can’t make it in for an event or show, a business can really suffer. Volunteering your time is an extremely generous way you can help support a business. This is dependant on the business itself, but may work for ones that sell particular products at holiday markets, shows or exhibitions. In addition, sometimes businesses may require resources, such as tools, to fix a window or could benefit from recommendations on products you’d like to see. Offering your advice or resources is a great way to connect in a different way. If a business asks for your help, consider taking them up on it – or even reach out if you are so inclined.

Sign up for their Newsletter

Newsletters are continuously becoming popular as it allows businesses to directly communicate with their customers. Often times they will share special offers, discounts, or sales that are happening in-store. Signing up for a business’ newsletter ensures that they have a customer base to communicate with, while also allowing you to hear of the awesome things they have going on. It doesn’t cost you anything and you can unsubscribe at any time. Support local biz by staying in touch.

Get Active on Social Media

Many businesses rely on their social media presence to get the word out about their business. From sharing special offers, to updating their hours of operation – there are many ways that social media is truly valuable for a small business. There also happen to be several ways you can engage with a business’ social media account in order to help them succeed. Firstly, following a business shows your loyalty to them. When their follower count begins to increase, others in the community can start to trust that they provide great service and products. 

Often times the algorithms that social media platforms have in place do not favour small businesses. They are looking to increase the viewership of posts that gain likes, follows, shares and comments. This is why engaging with a business’ social media is extremely important. Whenever you see a post, like it! If you have a moment to leave a comment, that’s great as well. When commenting, make your comment more than 4 words to help with a substantial engagement rate on the post. Sharing a post, especially on Instagram, helps more people see them. You can do this by clicking the arrow button and either sending it directly to a friend or putting it on your Instagram story. An often forgotten tool is also “saving” a post on Instagram. It lets Instagram know that that post is interesting enough to you to save!

Coming from the era of Facebook photos, we often forget about tagging options. There are two ways you can use the tag features to help a local business. First, tag a friend in a comment on a post they might think is interesting. This helps increase the visibility of a single post to more social media followers! Additionally, you can tag the business itself in posts you may share. From showcasing products you may already own of theirs, or just a casual shoutout for the great work they’re doing, tag that business so they can see how much you appreciate them!

Write a Review

Writing an accurate and in-depth review can be a great way to showcase how special a local business is. When a new customer is choosing between a big box store or a chain location with a recognizable name and a local business, they will want authentic and accurate reviews to ensure they will be receiving great service. There are different ways you can review a business. You can leave a review on Google, Facebook and even ShopKW! To ensure you leave a compelling review, try these steps:

  1. Describe your situation (Such as “I knew I was on a tight deadline to get flowers arranged for my wedding”)
  2. Talk about the benefits your receive (Such as “Jessica was able to accommodate my flower colour preferences and work within the deadline I had”)
  3. Specifically name an employee that you worked with
  4. Leave a thank you!

These few tips will show a reader that not only was a business able to complete the task at hand, provide a service, or sell you a product, but also go the extra mile to show the connections that are built when using the services of a small business.

We all know that even with the best intentions, it cannot always be feasible to be supporting a local business at a particular moment monetarily. But we have to remember that it’s not always about the value you can offer for free. With these different ways to support a local business, you can use this in tandem of choosing to shop locally. Even when you may not directly be able to contribute money to a company, you can still help further their goals.