In this day and age where the world is surrounded by cell phones and computers, where finding a better deal is at the touch of a finger- even if it is a chain store or corporate store- a local business strives on the help from their friends, family, and clients/customers to help them out in order to survive. Unfortunately, the question is always the same: “What do I get out of this?”.
Think about it, recently, have you talked about a locally owned business unless you were getting a discount or a chance to get something for free? What happened to this word that we live in? What happened to helping everyone out instead of tearing everyone down?
The most common response a business gets is “I don’t have that kind of money right now” or “I would but your product/service is too expensive.” These responses are completely ok, and respected, as these business owners are not ‘rich’ and understand your struggles. Local businesses borrow money from their families, banks (if they are lucky), and search for other means of income/monetary help because these days it’s hard to compete with “Walmart’s low prices”- especially local artists, photographers, and musicians.
Artists, musicians, photographers, drafters; anyone who designs or creates something are highly overlooked with the ease for others to easily create ‘similar’ things themselves. These artists have lost their though of what it means to ‘be worth’ something because they are constantly competing with someone who will always trying to be cheaper than them. For instance, a photographer like us will calculate our ‘worth’ cost, after considering our many years/hours of experience, schooling, research, cost of equipment and supplies, time on the field, and correspondence; but this is something that is overlooked by someone who is just ‘looking for a deal’ and they hire the first person who is $20 or less, most of the time being dissatisfied with the outcome.
Owning a business isn’t easy, and it definitely has it’s stresses. That is why I wanted to list 5 ways that you can help your local business- some will cost you money and some are completely free. There is something on the list for everyone! Please, remember to support your local businesses!!
But quickly, before I get into the 5 ways- please, please, please, remember…when you do any of the “5 ways” below, please do it in a positive manner. If you had a negative experience, or you just didn’t agree/like something, please just refrain from any of the below. Local businesses are most of the time either owned by 2 or less people and a lot of the time passed down through generations of family- by spreading negative, you can hurt that business owner, not only by destroying their self confidence but also causing others to not give that business a chance. If you have a problem with a local business, try to keep it private between you and the business owner- it’ll be appreciated!!
5 Ways to Help Support a Local Business
1. Talk about the business to your friends and family!
This is the best and most requested form of help you can give a local business. There are only so many people a business can reach by Facebook, newspaper, billboards (if they are able to afford them), etc. Everyone has a friend or family member. Even if that person may not use/go to that business, they may still spread the word to someone else. Don’t just assume that it won’t help, because it will!
2. Share the business!
This is a long the same route as #1, but more in a way that’s not direct. Share a business’s Facebook posts, hand out businesses cards/leave them at places (that permit it), play their music, hang their photos, etc. By seeing/hearing/using the business’s products, other’s will see it and ask you about it! (and please, do tell! 🙂 )
3. Buy something!
This one is easy! With my friends and family, if they are selling something, I try to purchase at least one small item. Or if I really like it, I’ll purchase more. In the same aspect with services- if you like a photographer but don’t have a lot of money, try a mini session they are offering at a discounted price.
4. Wear apparel/use items!
Some businesses give out/sell t shirts, pens, tablets, even candy! USE IT! Wear your shirt, use your pen- don’t just hide it in a closet or drawer somewhere.
5. Offer to help out (as a family member/friend, without expecting compensation)!
This one also depends on the business, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that business owners get burned out and sometimes just need a small break. We have a few friends that help us by running effects or even just as simple as holding a client’s coat. Even just that little bit helps. And you are also helping that person by boosting their day that they get to talk to their friend/family member and show them what they do.
I hope this helps to put a bit more perspective on “help your local business” and that this will help local businesses out a bit more. Please consider doing at least one of these once every month- you won’t believe how much of an impact you will make! 🙂