How to Support Small Businesses By Spending Little to No Money

Chances are you know someone who runs a small business, whether it be as a side hustle or a full-time job. You may not be able to buy something from them  (the coronavirus hasn’t been easy on your wallet after all), but you still want to show your support. Luckily, there are a few ways you can support a friend’s entrepreneurial venture by spending little to no money. As a small business owner myself, I always appreciate it when my friends:

  1. 1. Follow, Like, Comment and Share

    In an overflowing sea of small business profiles on social media it can be incredibly difficult to actually get your posts seen. Sure, business owners can pay for ads to reach a wider audience, but not everyone can afford them, especially if they’re just starting out. Plus, ads are not always effective. Of course you can choose the demographic you want to target by age range, gender, country and general interests, but those are some pretty generic categories and will in no way guarantee that you reach people who are actually interested in your specific product or service. It turns out that good old-fashioned word-of-mouth is way more effective at helping a small business get seen on social media. Follow them and give them as many likes, comments, and shares as you can-- no gesture is too small. In fact, something as simple as commenting a heart emoji on a post can help someone get more engagement on their account and (hopefully) make some sales.

    Laptop and Phone
  2. 2. Make Use of a National Postal Service

    Many small businesses rely on national postal services like Canada Post and the USPS because they tend to offer much more cost-effective shipping options than private postal carriers. Without these government-owned postal carriers, small businesses wouldn’t be able to offer reasonable shipping prices on their products and would lose customers as a result. As of late, the USPS has been struggling financially, which jeopardizes the survival of small businesses everywhere (and of our democracy since the USPS allows Americans to vote by mail, but that’s a whole other story). If you want to help save the USPS, and by extension, small businesses, buy some stamps or shipping supplies from your local USPS office and sign petitions demanding that the Trump administration provide financial aid to this crucial service. Canadian businesses will also be impacted if the USPS goes under because packages shipped through Canada Post are handed over to the USPS once they arrive in the US. So, us Canadians are not exempt from doing our part to stop the USPS from going bankrupt.

    Two letters in letter box
  3. 3. Provide Encouragement

    Running a small business can be challenging, exhausting and stressful. You may be able to create your own schedule but that means you’ll feel an irrational, nagging sense of guilt whenever you’re not working. You may meet the loveliest people through your work but you’ll also run into some Karens who don’t understand the value of what you’re selling and will rudely complain about your prices and/or try to bargain with you. You may feel proud for pursuing something you’re passionate about but some naysayers in your life won’t believe in you and will try to pressure you into doing something more “practical”. It can all be very disheartening, so any form of encouragement is more than welcome. Tell a small business owner in your life that they’re doing a good job, that they’re allowed to have work/life balance, that their work is important and valuable. Who knows, a kind comment could remind them why they started their business in the first place and prevent them from giving up on their entrepreneurial dream.

    Four people holding each other in shades of purple