As we build back from the pandemic, enabling small business owners to support each other has never been so important. We need to champion each other’s businesses so that we can not just survive, but develop, grow and flourish.
So how can small business owners support each other? Here are five small ways that make such a big difference:
1) Leave a review
If you’ve recently purchased from or worked with a small business or small business owner, leave them a review! Whether it be on social media or on Google, a review is a great way of helping business to be more visible. It also helps them to build trust and enhances their reputation with potential customers. You can of course also encourage people to reciprocate.
2) Like, comment and share
We all know how challenging social media can be at the best of times. Especially when you don’t have the money for paid advertising. So next time you see a post from a small business that you like, engage with it. Your support will help to get that post, and the business, seen.
Equally, if you’ve contributed to that post – such as by providing a comment that has been included – share it! Doing so brings huge benefit to your business too as it shows that your thoughts and content is valued by others.
Taking this a stage further, it’s also important to tag small business owners in your posts – appropriately of course. For example, if you share that you’re attending an event run by a small business, tag them in the post rather than just type their name. Likewise, if you’re sharing something about a product or service, or sharing an image of a small business owner, tag them and let them know! They can only like, comment and share if they know the post is there.
3) Guest blog
We all know how important blogging is to get people to our websites, and also to show our authority when it comes to our subject matter. But did you know that Google also loves backlinks? Why? Because they act as a vote of confidence for your website.
Therefore, a great way for small business owners to support each other is to provide opportunities for each other in this space. This is something that we do a lot. Examples include inviting members and clients to provide comments for inclusion in our blogs, and also full-length guest blogs of their own. Then, everyone we include receives a backlink from our website and is tagged on the resulting social posts.
But then the pendulum swings the other way – if you’re a contributor, don’t forget to share the post aswell!
4) Collaboration is king
When you’re the only one in your business, it’s hard to have a ‘loud’ voice, so this fourth point is all about working together. About collaboration. About valuing each other.
As a starting point, we’ve all heard the phrase ‘collaboration not competition’, designed to encourage exactly this. And it’s true – at least in a way. The bit that doesn’t ring true for me is the implication that you can only have collaboration or competition.
Instead, acknowledge your competitors. Small business owners can support each other by acknowledging each other’s strengths and weaknesses and rather than competing with (or worse – copying) them, help each other out instead.
Let’s imagine – two ‘therapists’ might both be working with children. But those therapists may have different training, different specialisms and different approaches, despite both wanting to help the child. So rather than ‘vying’ for that particular piece of work, let’s acknowledge where each other’s strengths lie. Then, where appropriate, we can cross-refer. For example, therapist A might decide that their approach isn’t quite right for that child – so rather than just saying that they can’t help, why not refer that family to another person who can?
5) Join a community
Running a small business can feel really lonely, so as small business owners, let’s resolve to support each other. There are lots of networking groups out there, including our own community, which any woman in business is welcome to join, regardless of the nature of her business. But rather than just join one yourself, why not bring others along with you? An introduction and a friendly face can really help to smooth the way, especially for those feeling nervous or unsure.
Whether your business is an a good place right now, or not so much, don’t take the small business journey alone. Instead, take support from us, your peers and your communities, but make sure you return it too. The power of the small business community is so much stronger than its individual members. So even if things are going well for you now, imagine what could be achieved when we all work together?