Small business? How to support other SMBs

3 min read
Jennifer Dunn

How can you support your fellow small business owners? Do business with them. Take the extra time to park downtown to get your coffee from Bob and Ted instead of hitting your favorite java chain’s drive-thru. Pick up your paint at the family-owned hardware store instead of the big box alternative. The End.

You can now resume your regularly scheduled life …

Well, that’s not the only way small business owners can — and should — support other small business owners, but it’s probably the most important. Supporting small business is key to supporting our economy and thus, making life better for all of us.

Don’t believe me?

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small firms create more jobs than large companies. Small businesses also tend to put more dollars back into their local economies, meaning they fuel even more job creation and growth. On a more personal note, it’s just gratifying to do business with another small business. It feels good to walk into a store or call up a service provider and have them ask how the kids are and what you think about this darn drought.

To that end, here are just a few ways you can support your fellow small businesses:

Recommend them

Experts often say that word-of-mouth marketing is the best type of marketing. When someone you know and trust tells you to try out a business, are you more likely to give them a chance? Of course you are. If a small business does a good job for you, don’t keep it under your hat. Tell the world.

Leave an online review

One great way to get that word of mouth going is to leave a review on a site like Yelp®, Google My Business®, or Angie’s List®. And don’t discount the power of giving them a shout out on your Facebook® or Instagram® account. Your friends and colleagues might not need that small business’s services now, but they’ll remember your glowing review later.

Consider barter

A less obvious way to work with a small business is to consider a trade. Maybe a fledgling or struggling business can’t pay full price for your Web design services, but they can give you 10 free meals or sweep out your chimney a few times. As the old saying goes, “A rising tide lifts all boats.” Supporting other small businesses only helps all of us in the long run.

Send employee referrals

Finding competent, reliable help is the hobgoblin of many a small business owner. If you know of a great candidate, don’t keep that person to yourself. Be ready to make a call or write a reference and send that candidate toward your fellow small business. Not only does this help a colleague out, it helps keep top talent in the local economy.

Share the small business love

Small business owners are busy. But the next time you talk to a fellow small business owner — maybe as you’re buying a book from her store or chatting with him at the coffee urn at a PTA meeting — mention the power of doing business with other small business. Give a referral or ask if she has plans for her business on Small Business Saturday. The more we all know about the power of doing business with other small business, the more all of our proverbial boats are lifted.

So, how do you support other small businesses?