Here’s a little something that I thought I’d put together for those of us that are entrepreneurs and are working hard to establish our businesses. I know that many want to support and many wish us well, however, there are still some guidelines that will help us in establishing our business. Now, this isn’t written for the “whatever I do, you should be grateful” crowd. This is written for those that really and truly want to support in the best ways possible. While this list could certainly be longer than 10 things (as you’ll see with my “side notes”), let’s just use these as a jumping off point. Here goes!
- Ask them what method of support puts the most money in their pockets – This is business, so let’s not pretend it has nothing to do with money. If you want an entrepreneur to succeed, that means you want them to make the greatest profit that they can for their work. You should always buy directly from the source whenever possible. Don’t buy their stuff from anywhere. Ask them what way is best.
- Don’t promise to support if you don’t plan to support – I know your heart may be in the right place and you’re trying to say the right thing to show support and be encouraging, but believe me when I tell you, a small business owner would rather you not support at all as opposed to giving them false hope.
- Side Note: Likes and shares on social media platforms are definitely appreciated, but shouldn’t be confused with monetary support.
- Don’t immediately ask for discounts – I know we all love a deal, but if you really want to support, you support at full price unless you’re offered a discount.
- Side Note: Don’t ask for free stuff, but you can take it if its offered. They have bills to pay just like you.
- Other Side Note: Don’t complain about pricing. If you think it’s too much or it’s out of your price range, just politely decline. What you see as “too much” others may see as “worth it”.
- If you don’t need the product and you really want to support, buy it for someone that does need it – Make it Christmas in your mind. You may not need what’s offered, but chances are, you know someone that does. This is a perfect time to commit a random act of kindness and buy someone a gift “just because”.
- If you don’t see what you like and can’t gift what you see, give a financial donation – This may be the least favorite because we all want something for our money, but I don’t know of a small business that doesn’t need a few extra dollars to get more product. Support shouldn’t always require you getting something tangible in return. Sometimes, you can support by just sowing a seed.
- Tell others what they do – This one is so vitally important. We miss so many opportunities to support one another because we refer people to big names instead of the names we know personally. Our support shouldn’t end with our purchase. Keep the pipeline flowing just like we do for major corporations. Referral business matters! Tell somebody!
- Side Note: We post about everything else on social media, so post about your friends business without being asked to. Show the product, wear the product, rave about the product, etc.
- Other Side Note: If their business has a social media page, like and promote that page. Share posts and articles from that page. Trust me, your endorsement matters to someone just starting out
- Don’t bad mouth them to others if you haven’t given them a chance to do better – If something isn’t up to par, gossip won’t make it better. Go to them, and go to them in private, and help them improve. We have a bad habit of yelling when we’re dissatisfied, and saying nothing when we’re pleased. That’s backwards. Even if they don’t receive it, make the effort, and please, do it with respect and tact. People are sensitive about their work.
- Side Note: Please be informed when you speak. Often, if we don’t know and understand a particular business, we’ll speak out of turn. For example, if you didn’t enjoy a movie, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it was poorly made, so don’t say that if that’s not true. Maybe the story didn’t resonate with you, but it might to someone else.
- Don’t give advice about a business you don’t understand – This is key! It doesn’t matter what you would’ve done if you have no idea how it’s done in that line of business. Don’t confuse your preferences with expertise.
- Don’t look for perfection – This is especially true with businesses that are just starting out. Maybe they haven’t worked out all of the kinks and maybe some things aren’t what you’re accustomed to from big name corporations. If you really want to support, support through the rough patches and the growth. Be patient as you support.
- Just do it! – We’ll buy stuff we don’t need from stores that don’t need our money to keep the doors open, all to support strangers. We do this all the time. Why not do it for someone that you know.
Bonus – Being a secret admirer isn’t support. Don’t stand in the shadows with silent support. Show your support!
Let be clear here. I’m not in any way suggesting that you support just anything. If you don’t believe in a product or it goes against your morals in any way, you have the right not to support it. I don’t suggest that anyone sow into something that they are against or believe is harmful. But for those people that you know are just trying to live independently, give them a hand. You never know what you’re helping to kickstart.