It is said that when you support a small business, you support a dream. You get to be a contributor to the realization of someone else’s dream. This is not always about money.

    It is a small business we are talking about here, so little acts can go a long way and will be well appreciated. It’s just like helping or contributing to see that child grows, baby food or napkins can do a lot. It’s become a cliche to say it but remains true nonetheless. Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy.

    It will take years before we fully understand the economic impact of the coronavirus, but one thing is painfully clear right now: Small businesses across the country are facing an existential threat. The global pandemic brought an uncomfortable and sudden shift to the curve. Everyone started looking for a plan B because we do not want to go hungry.

    The majority went into business especially students, selling stuff like clothing, female handbags, small chops, cakes, snacks homewares, make-up accessories you name it. Others learned skills like make-up, writing, tailoring and are earning from these. I can bet that everyone that owns a cloth or small chops vendor on the WhatsApp contact list. Yes, everyone. That’s how large it has grown.

    A friend was complaining to me that she gets no support at all from friends and those on her contact list. She made it clear that only a particular circle of people patronize her and it’s not every time. Maybe once in a month or so, not encouraging at all. I got to know that the kind of support she was talking about was not the one to do with money. Everyone is struggling, you don’t expect to wake up and see an alert of say N500, 000 from your friend. It cannot happen. But, they are little things that can be done even without spending a dime.

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    Building a Small Business / Market Entrepreneur is hard in every sense of the word. These people make not more than N500 from selling a product. From the little profit, they buy mobile data to keep posting their products online and look for customers. Some even fend for themselves. It is charitable to always support these people. There are so many small businesses out there, and I think it’s so important to shop small as well as support local businesses when you can.

    In this article, I will let you know how to put a huge smile on that entrepreneur friend of yours or your favorite online vendor. Here are 9 ways you can support small business, most of them are free so you do not have to break the bank:

    1. Engage in their social media posts:

    Like, comment, tag, share, use hashtags, or sharing their post/story with your own followers and friends. This will increase their visibility on social media platforms and attracts more customers. These platforms have algorithms that when a post gets a lot of engagements, it is shown to more and more people. So next time you see a post from a small business Entrepreneur, do well to engage on it. It does not cost anything. Always drop a nice comment even if you do not intend on buying the product.

    2. Refer / Recommend them to Potential Customers:

    This is a big deal for so many small business owners. The joy and gratitude in their hearts when they know you refer them is second to none. Once you know the products they sell or services they render are of high quality, referring them is always a responsible choice. The goal of every business owner is to reach more customers, so why not? If my friend (check the story above) was referred, she would not have the same set of people buying from her once in a blue moon.

    3. Patronize them:

    When you scroll through their online page, if you see something you like, buy it. You still do not have to break the bank to do this one. Just patronize them if you can afford it, it is that simple. The choice to patronize a small business implies that you will encounter superior client benefit.

    4. Give Positive feedback or review of good Products / Services:

    giving reviews

    This one is actually easy to do. To give a good review, you can take a picture or record yourself using, eating, or wearing the product depending on the method of use. This can be done at your convenience and requires no stress at all. Good feedbacks and reviews drag extra attention from customers because everyone wants to be a satisfied customer.

    5. Hire them as Vendors:

    Entrepreneurs are now often regarded among the simplest employees, bringing the type of creativity, dynamism, and motivation that permits them to seize opportunities and attain great things for employers. they will actually be a crucial ingredient to your workforce, igniting excitement and keenness in other employees. In simpler words, if you have a gathering or a small party, hire that your friend to be the snacks or food vendor. It boosts their small business.

    6. Send them Goodwill Messages:

    Most small business owners are often in doubt and sometimes depressed because of lack of experience yet. This is quite normal but in times like this, they need reasons to keep pushing. Goodwill messages especially when it comes from their customers or people they barely know can alleviate the tension on their bad days. You can motivate them by sending good luck messages for new business and they will be happy to know that you are there for supporting them. If you really love something a small business is doing, share about it! More importantly, share it with them.

    7. Sign up for newsletters on their website:

    The purpose of an email newsletter is to offer those on the list updates concerning their business, products, and services. However, it isn’t something that’s generally used for a tough sell. An email newsletter should desire an update from a stimulating, helpful friend, instead of a pushy salesperson. This is just the business owner keeping in touch with customers. Next time you see one, do well to sign up.

    8. Tip a little extra when buying from them: ClichĂ©, yes but very effective and generous on your side as the giver. Some businesses accept this, some don’t. You can make inquiries and make sure it’s not a taint to their name before tipping. On the other hand, in a scenario where they accept tips, you can do this as a kind gesture. It encourages and adds a little extra to their pockets.

    9. Have them in mind for the future:

    In other words, loyalty helps. Some businesses rely on former customers even as they try to get new ones. Loyalty can stem from many things, but in general, a loyal customer will associate favorable experiences with a brand, therefore, increasing their likelihood to make repeat purchases with that business. If you’ve got the financial means, it is a great idea to stay them in mind and keep shopping with them throughout this point.

    In Conclusion:
    The above are 9 sure ways you can support a small or growing business without breaking the bank or worrying about a great shift in your pocket. Whether your friend has a small business or you have discovered a wonderful business online or on your local high street, show them some love!
    It is not about money or financial support. Small businesses just need a comfortable breeding ground and when they get the right support, they expand and grow beyond measures. You can also volunteer your services and help when needed. Do these, the vendor will thank you then thank me later.

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