Many small businesses can benefit from the holiday season in order to overcome the year's challenges and fluctuations. It's the season of giving, and the holiday shopping season is the ideal time to consider how to support small businesses online and the community.
What is Considered a Small Business in the US?
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), a company is considered a small business if its annual revenue ranges from $1 million to more than $40 million and it employs 100 to over 1,500 people.
While these figures appear staggering, it is important to note that nearly 90% of small businesses employ fewer than 20 employees. Furthermore, 23 million small businesses have no employees, are self-employed, and are run solely by the owner.
How Can You Support a Small Business?
As a consumer, what can you do to continue supporting small businesses during the holiday season and beyond? Here's how!
Purchase gift cards
Gift cards are an excellent way to support a small business now by purchasing something for yourself or someone else in the future. This is a fantastic idea for your local neighborhood boutiques, favorite restaurants, and pet supply stores. Furthermore, many small businesses now buy gift cards online, saving you the trip to the store.
Shop on a local or online small business
Consider purchasing from small businesses rather than large well-known brands. Small-business owners value their relationships with all of their customers. They rely on both regular and sporadic customers to not only help them earn a profit, but also to spread the word about their company to others. Because these small businesses rely on local customers, you can expect friendly, personalized service. Consider this: you'll be able to cross that task off your to-do list while also assisting a small business in need. It's a no-brainer!
Tip a little more than usual.
Financially, service and hourly workers have had a difficult year due to the pandemic. Without the consistent flow of tips that they would normally see on a busy Friday night, these employees found themselves short on cash. As businesses reopened, many struggled with staffing, putting additional strain on their employees. Tipping more generously can go a long way for service workers if you are in a position to do so.
Donate to Nonprofits that support small businesses.
Support non-profits that assist small businesses in growing in oversaturated and competitive markets. Every penny spent on these organizations will be well spent because it protects and promotes the growth of local and small businesses.
How Can You Support a Small Business for Free (If Money is Tight)?
As a loyal customer, you can help your favorite small businesses without spending a dime. Here are 5 ways to support small businesses to get you started!
Promote and share their social media posts.
Like, comment, and share their social media and promotional posts when you see something you like or during extremely relevant times to help drive the reach of their business to the people who follow you personally. Word-of-mouth and sharing can generate enormous value, and social sharing nowadays takes almost no time at all. Everyone appreciates a positive recommendation. Support small businesses on Instagram. Sometimes, advocating for your favorite small business is as simple as clicking share on their latest social media post.
Sign up for their email list.
Email marketing newsletters are one of the best ways to stay in touch with your favorite small businesses! By joining your favorite company's email list, you're telling them, "I want to hear more from you!" "Remember, there is a real person behind each of your favorite small shops, so every new signup assures them that people support their work and are rooting for them." Signing up for email lists also means you'll be the first to hear about any upcoming announcements, such as product drops or new offerings.
Tell your friends and family about them.
Did you have a positive experience? Inform your family and friends. Have you seen a friend post on social media about a need that a small business you know might be able to fill? Comment with their company name and contact information. Any word-of-mouth that increases visibility for a small business is always appreciated.
Leave a positive review.
This one is completely free, takes only a few minutes, and can be completed from the comfort of your own home. Furthermore, it is relevant and impactful regardless of the time of year or what is going on in the market as a whole.
Small businesses rely heavily on customer feedback. Consider this: if you're looking for a new place to try in your neighborhood and see it has only two stars on Google, you're probably less likely to stop there than one with five stars.
Following a purchase and a positive experience, look into where and how you can share a positive review - this could be on the company's website, on Facebook, on their Google business listing, or elsewhere. If you can't find out where, simply ask if there is somewhere you can or simply offer them a quote they can use in marketing via email. Many small businesses enjoy promoting positive feedback from their customers and clients.
Interact with small businesses in new and interesting ways.
In the last few years, many businesses have expanded into new areas, such as virtual classes. In many cases, these options actually facilitated them in evolving their business and reaching people in new ways, so see if you can support them by taking advantage of these new options.
Because it can be more difficult for small businesses to stay relevant, they must constantly work on adding new products to their shelves and new benefits for their customers. Take a moment to visit some of your community's hotspots to see what new features and functions you haven't tried out yet.
Running a small business is tough, so even if you can't afford to spend, these small actions will leave an impact!
How Does Supporting Small Businesses Help the Economy?
Small businesses not only provide jobs for locals, but their presence in a community reduces blight and allows other businesses to thrive.
By supporting a small business, you are also supporting the local community. Spending money there helps to stimulate the local economy and keep local businesses thriving. These smaller businesses help to create and sustain jobs while also keeping the area vibrant and buzzing with shoppers and tourists. When you support a small business, the local economy flourishes, and so will the state and national economies.