It’s no secret that social media portrays entrepreneurship as a life of instant, guaranteed success with a corresponding glamorous lifestyle. And while business ownership has been one of the greatest joys of my life here at Marigold & Grey, and certainly one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, this stereotype could not be further from the truth.
Whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur, just starting out, or doing your side hustle with dreams of going full time, I know you know what I mean. It can be tough with a capital T.
With the spotlight on all things small business today, I’m calling out less conventional ways you can help show your support to small business owners to help keep them going. Especially after all the Black Friday madness, if you’re all shopped out, settle in for this read. It won’t require you to buy a thing.
They’re Not Amazon
Small businesses are hardworking types. They hustle like crazy and make miracles happen on the regular. But we don’t have robotics and assembly lines and can’t deliver by drone. In other words, we’re not Amazon Prime. Set your expectations properly before making your purchase and realize that part of what you’re buying is, not only the item itself, but also the knowledge that you’re supporting a dream and making an impact. Quality things are worth the wait.
Give Them Feedback
Small business owners care and their team members do too. We’re keenly aware that we need to constantly improve in order to survive. Part of improving is knowing what you need to do in order to improve. Without feedback from customers and clients like you, we don’t always know what you’re thinking.
Take the time to offer honest feedback to a business owner. If it’s positive, that means the world to them. But constructive criticism, when delivered respectfully and without intent to damage the business, is the most valuable feedback of all. It can give a business owner an immediate roadmap of precisely what they should be focusing on.
Surveys are annoying but take them! Leaving reviews takes time, but do them.
Give Them Grace
If something is less than perfect, resist the urge to take a scorched earth approach. Provide respectful feedback and allow the small business a chance to rectify it.
Don’t automatically assume that it happened because they don’t care. Part of being a small business is learning from mistakes and learning as you go. Giving them the chance to take their shortcoming seriously and resolve it for you thoroughly will make them a stronger business in the long run without having to endure a damaging review written in a moment of frustration.
Buy on Quality
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to save money or take advantage of this time of year for the sales that are all around us. But small businesses don’t typically have the ability to forego margins as easily as the big box stores do and so the pressure to participate in Black Friday/Cyber Monday campaigns can take a toll.
If they’re offering a discount that’s lower than what you might have been hoping for, realize why and show your support anyway. Resist the urge to make price what you lead with. They automatically can’t compete on the same level. Buy from them for bigger reasons than simply price. I promise you that this extra spend is making a difference!
Sign Up for Their Newsletter
A lot of business owners pour their hearts and souls into their newsletters. And this is saying a lot considering their efforts are also spent in so many other places at the same time. They typically have to be good at #allthethings.
For example, when someone hits “reply” to one of our M&G newsletters and responds to my “Note From the Founder” message, even if it’s just a sentence or two, it makes my entire day. Maybe even week or month!
Business ownership can be downright exhausting and one simple message of encouragement, validation, or interest in general can give that business owner a burst of energy to get them going again! This type of support doesn’t cost you a thing yet goes a long, long way.
Give a Pep Talk
If you’re friends with a small business owner or perhaps visiting a retail location, lend them some words of encouragement. Things can be challenging with price increases, labor shortages, and all of the other countless day-to-day pressures.
A few positive words like “You’re doing great things” or “Look at how far you’ve come” or “I’m really proud of you” or “I really love what your brand stands for” or “You put quality work out into the world” are easy things to say and mean the world.
Last but not least, you can instantly change the trajectory of a small business by referring them. Share them on your social media. Rave about them to your family and friends. Don’t assume that everyone knows about them simply because you do. This is perhaps the easiest way to help a small business that can go a very long way!
Our gift boxes are intentionally sourced from small artisan businesses wherever possible. Your support means so much to us in our efforts to support other small businesses in return.