There have been lots of posts going round online about how to help small businesses without spending money. They are brilliant posts and I know they've helped my friends and business owners in Barry.
Most of these posts involve sharing on Facebook, liking on Instagram, commenting on LinkedIn or retweeting on Twitter. These are all great things to do but there are so many other ways to help businesses, especially if you're trying to avoid social media at the moment.
I will start by saying please ask before you give your opinion on someone else's business. Not everyone will want the feedback or be ready to receive it! If you have a suggestion ask them first if they're happy for you to share it.
1. Take the journey their customer makes
One of the easiest things you can do is to take the journey a customer makes. Pretend to be a new customer and visit the small business website to see how easy it is for you to find the products you need, what the payment system is like, does the order email come through and is there anything you would change. This can be so useful for a small business because they won't always see bugs and glitches that you might spot.
2. Buy something small
While you're there why not buy something small? Supporting businesses doesn't need to be a huge purchase every week. It could just be something small to show that you care. Check out the Just A Card campaign for more examples, "If everyone who'd complimented our beautiful gallery had bought 'just a card' we'd still be open".
3. Read their newsletter
Business owners put a lot of time and energy into their newsletters and it's frustrating when they are left unread. If you've signed up to a newsletter make the time to read it and respond. The feeling of getting a reply to one of your emails is the best, especially if they have been helpful!
4. Send useful articles
If your friends are struggling for inspiration, why not send them useful articles that are relevant to their field? If they are a dog trainer you might find tips on separation anxiety, a mortgage broker might be interested in house prices, a social media manager might want to know the latest trends for Pinterest. You don't have to go out looking for articles but if you spot something that might be helpful why not send it their way.
5. Share a blog post
We often think that sharing a social media post is the easiest way to help promote a business, but sharing a blog post can be even better. Not only does it spread the word about the business but it also leads people straight to their website where they might make a purchase or sign up to a newsletter too.
6. Leave them a review
If you've seen the posts you'll know that leaving a review is great for a business as it helps to build trust with their brand. You can read more about why I love reviews here. But have you thought about other places you can leave a review that aren't Facebook? Google, Trip Advisor, Vouched For and even writing a review in an email that they can share on their website are great ways to show other potential customers why they should use this business.
If you want to help a local business why not show them this post and ask which would be the most helpful for them today?