There are many ways to support small businesses. Even the smallest effort can make a big impact on local businesses. Here are 32 ways you can support small businesses today!
1. Shop Etsy
Etsy is great way to support small businesses. They are full of local artisans and unique gifts, decor, invitations, and even website templates! Etsy also has great filters so you can filter results by a specific state or city so you can artists and creators in your local area.
2. Visit your farmer’s market
Do you know where your food comes from? You will if you purchase produce from your local farmer’s market. Produce grown locally is often fresher than what you’ll find on grocery store shelves.
3. Buy and gift local artwork and decor
Rather than decking out your home with prints from retail stores, search for artwork at local stores and artists’ studios.
4. Eat in or order takeout
Restaurants were particularly hit hard by the pandemic, and they could really use your orders. You could probably use an evening off from cooking! If you can, pick up your order instead of having it delivered. Many local restaurants don’t have drivers—or have staff shortages—and third-party delivery apps like DoorDash, Postmates, and Uber Eats charge restaurants a fee that takes a big portion of their small profits away.
5. Buy gift cards
You might not use a gift card immediately, but the immediate revenue and guarantee of a future customer can really help a small business. A gift card is a physical promise that you’ll support that store later. Plus, it’s a wonderful present to give someone or treat yourself to some self-care.
6. Hire small businesses year-round
Choosing to hire a small business professional supports their work and saves you time. Try making a list of tasks that you spend too much time on. Can you outsource any of that work?
It’s easy to hire artisans, technicians, and handymen in any town. Here are a few ideas of how to get started:
- Instead of picking up a cake from the grocery store, purchase one from a local bakery.
- Hire a local muralist to decorate your garage, wall, or building exterior.
- Hire a handyman to fix leaky faucets, clean gutters, and make other home repairs
- Skip filing your own taxes and employ a registered accountant to sort through your important documents and receipt
- Get your oil changed by a local mechanic
- Hire a local digital marketing agency, web designer, content writer, or social media manager to improve your own business
- Work with a local/independent insurance agent
- Hire a local band or entertainer for your party or event
7. Do your holiday shopping early
Impress everyone by getting your holiday shopping done early. Shopping early alleviates some of the holiday stress from extra busy workers. In one 2020 Google study, 66% of consumers said they were planning on shopping at local businesses. That means small business workers will be busier during the holiday season than at other times of the year. Besides, you’ll be able to stop stressing over gift shopping and focus on gift wrapping, holiday dinners, and relaxing. It’s a win-win for everyone.
8. Invite your coworkers to a happy hour at a local restaurant
Be courteous to the staff – they’re often one of the strongest assets a small business has, take time to train, and can be challenging to replace. a smile and a kind word can go a long way for workers who are serving customers all day.
9. Order a catering platter from a neighborhood restaurant or butcher
10. Join a CSA
11. Plan a date night around town
12. Put together a gift basket of local favorites
Create your own custom gift basket with locally-sourced items, like:
- Coffee from a local roaster
- Banana bread from a local bakery
- Chocolate from a local sweets shop
- Custom cutting board from a local woodworker
- Cheese from a local farm
- Give the gift of tension relief with a gift card for a massage, pedicure, or even a chiropractic adjustment
- Beer from a local brewery
- Wine from a local winery
- Painting from a local artist
- Hat, hoodie, or t-shirt from a local shop or attraction
- Add a plant or flower arrangement from a local florist
- Honey, hot sauce, or candles from your local farmers market
- Jerky from a local butcher
13. Hold your own Small Business Saturday
Once a quarter, spend the day shopping and dining locally. For even more fun, invite a friend or bring the family along!
14. Purchase something special for your Secret Santa
15. Look for small items that would be unique stocking stuffers
Consider some local favorites that are unique to your area and out-of-town friends or family can’t easily get where they live.
16. Send a long-distance friend a gift of your favorite local treats
Get Involved Online
17. Recommend local retail stores and service providers in your neighborhood Facebook group.
18. Find local hashtags on Instagram
On Instagram, you can search some of the local hashtags for your area to find local businesses. Once you find some you like, follow them! They’re often really good about sharing and collaborating with other local businesses so that will help you find more.
19. Ask in a Facebook group
There are always a few people in every Facebook group who are in the know about all things small businesses and local!
20. Vote for them for local awards
21. Tag local businesses on social
Supporting local businesses can be as simple as sharing photos of them on social media. The next time you’re at your local farmer’s market, snap a photo of the produce! Make a quick Instagram reel featuring your favorite items at your local store! This free promotion will mean the world to the store’s workers and will build trust and social proof with other consumers. Amplify the store’s message as much as you can. The more people hear about them, the more sales they can make.
22. Leave a positive review
Post positive, detailed reviews on Google, Yelp, and Facebook. Bonus points if you share a picture with your review!
23. Comment, like, subscribe, and share
One of the best ways to support a business you believe in is by amplifying its message on social media. Small businesses put a lot of work into posting on social media, even though most business owners have many other responsibilities to tend to. It’s a job that takes a lot of time and strategy, so the least you could do is boost their engagement by liking posts, commenting occasionally, and sharing posts into your feed so your audience sees them. Here are a few easy ways to support businesses for free on social media:
- Comment on social media posts when you can! Maybe that means answering a question the company posted, or raving about the effectiveness of a product on a post featuring it. Comment away whenever it feels natural!
- Use Instagram’s “Support Small” sticker. Whenever you feature a small business in your Instagram stories, place the “Support Small” sticker in the corner so they can direct viewers to its content. Tag the business so it can reshare your story to its story.
- Subscribe to its YouTube channel so you get notified when new content is out!
24. Sign up for newsletters
Signing up for newsletters may not seem super supportive, but it’s a free way to show your appreciation. Small businesses often run promotions that newsletter subscribers hear about first, so you’ll hear about special sales before others do.
25. Use terms like “support local businesses near me” or “small business near me” on search engines
Some local businesses don’t have storefronts or are located off the beaten path. A simple Google search will allow you to discover small businesses you wouldn’t have heard of otherwise. Search “support local businesses near me” or “small business near me” to see a page full of places to support.
Pause before posting that negative review
Take a moment to consider whether the staff member was simply having a bad day and that level of service is not reflective of the business overall – afterall, they’re human too! Is it possible you had a tough day that spilled into a misunderstanding or impatience on you part? One negative review can have a big impact on a small business and be challenging for them to improve their overall rating/reputation despite their best efforts to address an unfortunate incident
26. Notify the business of something not working on their website
Notice something not working properly on their website? The glitch or oversight could be unknowingly causing them to lose a lot potential new customers and they will want to know.
27. Check out that new grand opening
Most small businesses put a lot of time, effort, and heart into their grand openings. A good turnout can help attract onlookers to stop by, can help them post more impressive photos on their website and social media, and can help you get excited about future visits there
28. Attend their events
Many small businesses host holiday and/or charity events throughout the year. These events really rely on community involvement for their success. If you see an upcoming event that you may be able to attend, be sure to mark it in your calendar so you keep it in mind as the date gets closer — and bring a friend with you! It’s more fun that way and helps get even more of the community involved.
29. Browse around when you’re in town
You may find something you didn’t realize they sell
30. Invite businesses to your events
Is your company or community hosting an event? Consider hiring local vendors to add more entertainment, food options. If the business doesn’t exactly fit the theme of your event, you can still invite them to sponsor part of the event.
- Financial donations
- Physical donations – products they sell or promotional items for a giveaway
- Opportunities to post their logo on printed signage at the event (some have branded tablecloths, tents, signs, and even a step and repeat backdrop that’s great for photo ops and gives the event more of a formal feel
- Logo on promotional items, like flyers or mentions in newsletters and press releases
- Link on the event page of your website
- Tag on social media
31. Invite them to sponsor or contribute to a local event or team
Whether you’re hosting a charity event, your kids’ sports team or recreation group is looking for sponsors, or your neighborhood is having an event, many small businesses are happy to contribute financially, donate products, or volunteer to support local events and groups in their communities. This is especially true if you can offer them a logo on a t-shirt or sign, or a link from the group/event’s website.
32. Recommend local businesses to friends, family, and colleagues
You may not be able to support local businesses with your money, but word of mouth is just as important. Try recommending local businesses to your loved ones and colleagues. Your friends, family members, and colleagues are more likely to support a local business after it’s got a recommendation. Here are a few easy ways: The company you work for could treat employees to dinner at a local restaurant.