As we head into silly season, we need to now more than ever support our small business friends. December and January are likely the toughest months for any entrepreneur. There are many ways in which we can support our small business friends which don’t only involve monetary spend.
Access to Networks
There is immense value in opening your networks to your small business friends. This enables entrepreneurs to build relationships and capacity needed to be successful. If you think you have a valuable connection, why not make the introduction? A simple phone call or email could be a game changer. Interestingly, most business is built on word of mouth. Therefore, if you know of someone who is looking for a service that an entrepreneurial friend offers, pass on their details. Although not every single referral will lead to a sale, you’ve done your part in supporting your friend.
Invest in the entrepreneur
Often all that is needed is an emotional investment. Start off by listening to your small business friends and offering troubleshooting ideas when needed. You could read their blogs, try their products or services and provide valuable feedback. Be kind when giving negative feedback. Think of way that you can constructively provide input so that they can better their product for service. Encouragement goes a long way. Certainly, the entrepreneurial journey is tough and lonely. Sometimes all you need to say is “I see you”. Being present and available can go a long way for any entrepreneur.
Become involved in their business
One of the easiest things you can do is share their work. Almost everyone is on social media. It takes little or no effort on your part in hitting the “repost” button. This could be valuable in expanding their current reach. Don’t just like their posts, comment! This really helps to boost the post. If you’ve tried their product or service, why not write a review or recommendation? Testimonials are yet another asset to any entrepreneur. It could possibly help their business grow in leaps and bounds.
In addition, you could look at educating yourself further about their product or service offering. This shows that you care about and have an interest in their business endeavours. In short, you could ask if they need any assistance. Being an entrepreneur, you try and be all things to everyone, and burn out trying to do everything. Offer them helping hand, even doing a simple task like bringing over a cooked meal could make the world of difference.
Pay full price
There is a saying that goes, “there are no friends or family in business”. Now it might sound like a contradiction based on the paragraphs above. However, this means that you should not be asking for discounts just because you know the entrepreneur. If you truly value the product or service they are offering, you should pay full price. Their price is set and you should respect that. You don’t work for free, and neither do they. By supporting them, you’re putting food on their table and ensuring that they can keep doing what they are doing.
It’s often so easy for us to support “well-known” artists, service providers, etc. But we often do not do the same for our entrepreneurial friends. Take the time to look around your community. There are many talented people. Put the same energy that you would put into that “famous” business, into your own network of entrepreneurs.
In conclusion, we all know being an entrepreneur is hard. There is absolutely no doubt about that. There are many sleepless nights and stressful days. Supporting one another is a remarkably easy thing to do. There is more than enough work out there, so there is no need to clamber over each other to get to the top. Help build and motivate one another. Finally, remember that your entrepreneur friends are heading into a really difficult period. Think of creative ways in which you can support them now more than ever.