It’s no secret small business owners have struggled over the past year. As a travel agent, I went from a thriving business to completely dry for almost a year. Only within the last three months have we started to see travel picking up. Many of my friends who are photographers, coffee shop owners, hairdressers, and myself included, have felt loss this year and some even struggled to pay their bills. We didn’t have the community supporting our business through the lockdown; in fact, many of us were encouraged to stop our services. Only recently has travel picked back up, families started feeling comfortable with photo shoots, and small coffee shops opened up their interior for guests. In the midst of the lockdown I had several friends reach out wanting to know how they can help support my business. Obviously no one was traveling, nor did people feel confident booking a vacation and I wasn’t encouraging it either. We had no idea what the next 6-9 months were going to look like, so instead, I decided to make a list (it is what moms do best, after all).
Here are 5 great ways to support your friend’s small business:
- Like their social media posts. Did you know that Facebook and Instagram are set on algorithms? If a post is gaining likes, it will show up in more newsfeeds. I’ve had posts reach 300+ people on a Tuesday, but the very next day my new post only reaches 30 people.
- Write reviews. Before we purchase anything, we read the review section. I want to know everything about the product from the fit down to the material. If you have ever bought a product from a small business, leave them a glowing review if you loved the product or service. (Bonus points for asking where they would like the review. I would rather have reviews on a website called Travel Leaders than my Facebook page.)
- Share their post. Maybe you’re not interested in an all-inclusive kids stay free vacation at the Hard Rock hotel in Costa Maya, Mexico, but that doesn’t mean your neighbor or work colleague isn’t.
- Word of mouth. This is where I gain most of my bookings these days. A friend of a friend was talking about their recent Disney vacation and they said, “You should book with my friend Kailey. She doesn’t charge anything and we had the best, most stress free vacation.” Word of mouth is everything to my business! I also offer referral bonuses if your friend books their vacation with me. Who doesn’t like free money? Many small businesses will offer perks for referrals.
- Lastly, if you can, buy the product from your friend, not the big box stores. It may be easier to run to Walmart for a throw pillow or to book your vacation on your own. However, I promise Walmart doesn’t get excited and tell their husband, “I think we can have date night this month since we have some extra money.” When you buy local, you help support families who rely on extra money, you put food on their tables, allow their daughter to take dance lessons, or allow a family to take a fun spring break getaway.