12 easy ways you can support local business

support local business man in white holding red heart with help support local businesses on the top and bottom reads shop small and we all win

Support Local business and small businesses is important as they play a large part in our economy and our lives.

How you can support local businesses

Many small businesses will, unfortunately, be unable to survive against large corporations, which will damage our sense of community and local pride. We can help support local business by doing these tasks:

  1. Shopping Online
  2. Purchase a gift card
  3. Ordering takeaway online
  4. Put more in the tip jar
  5. Write an excellent review
  6. Postpone do not cancel
  7. Digital Classes
  8. Get involved socially
  9. Tell your loves ones
  10. Subscribe to their blog
  11. Write them a letter
  12. Spend, buy and invest in local

Shopping online 

Shopping online might seem an odd one, and it might be everything you have heard not to do when supporting local businesses, but it’s needed! If local shops have to close their doors due to high business premises and business rates, the only way to help is to go on their online stores. As a WooCommerce developer, I have made many eCommerce websites for start-ups and small businesses owners. I know first hand local online stores provide a top-quality shopping experience and help the community.

holiday shopping, smartphone, phone
Shopping online helps support local business.

Purchase a gift card

Buying gift cards from a local business helps with their cash flow in these uncertain times and promotes the store when you pass the gift card onto your loved one. If the store is not open, fear not buying a gift card can be done digitally. The eCommerce web design projects I have completed include digital gift cards which are delivered to the recipient’s email address on their special day.

Ordering takeaway online

Many local restaurants have turned to offer takeaway food deliveries. Go to your favourite restaurant’s website, place the order and have it delivered. Paying online is easiest.

Put more in the tip jar

If you do decide to order a takeaway, a simple thing to do is to leave a tip more than usual. You can do this on the restaurant’s website. 

Write an excellent review

If you are looking to support an independent business for free, leave them a useful review on their google my business, trip advisor or anywhere else they collect reviews helps. My SEO York business offers local SEO as a service, and I know the importance Google places on genuine, positive reviews. The more you get (quantity, quality and frequency), the more you stand the chance of being shown on the search results page. The more visibility a business receives the more times their phone rings. Disclaimer – it takes a lot more to increase your organic search visibility, and there are many other ranking factors to consider when optimising your profile. However, leaving an honest review goes a long way. 

It also helps with conversion optimisation. Testimonials and reviews help give social proof.

rating, user, survey
A genuine testimonial can help support small business.

Postpone do not cancel

Instead of cancelling postpone the appointment or try booking a time slot which best suits all parties. 

If you have a wedding fast approaching and you can no longer get married on the same date let your photographer, florist and other businesses you are hiring know. They will understand if you said ‘I’m looking into a new date’ opposed to ‘sorry, I’ll cancel and look around for someone else closer to the time’.

Digital classes

A lot of local businesses have turned to offer online classes. I have created websites allowing locals to provide lessons online, which has meant they can keep their members happy and keep the money coming in via paid membership. Courses can be yoga, fitness, photography, baking the list goes on. Little finance is required to join one of these courses, and independent businesses don’t need to pay any additional business rates as its all online.

Get involved socially. 

If your small business can not open, and they are trying to promote their online business, get involved. Engagement is a critical factor in social media success rates. So next time your favourite shop tweets, post something on Instagram or Facebook like it, share it, respond and leave a comment.

Tell your loved ones.

Marketing budgets for social media campaigns and pay per click can soon be expensive. Although I’ve worked with businesses, who get a good return of investment, nothing beats word of mouth. By telling people where you shop locally and why you like them is a great way to support small business, for free!

Subscribe to their blog

Notice how my blog has a ‘subscribe to the newsletter’ on the top right-hand sidebar or at the bottom of the post? Other local businesses have the same structure as part of their digital marketing strategy. Subscribing means when they have news to share like when they’re able to open again, or when they write new content, they can tell you without having to invest in paid ads. I include these ‘sign up to our newsletter’ call to actions and lead gens in all clients my web design.

Write them a letter

You can always contact and write a personal message either directly or on their contact, feedback form. Thank them for all they have done for you in the past, by even wishing the business owner(s) well and ask how you can support them further.

Spend, buy and invest in local

It’s excellent writing reviews, sharing posts and doing stuff for free. Local businesses need sales more than ever! If your income hasn’t been disrupted, jump on their website and buy something from them.

Why local businesses are important

Spending locally results in the money staying in the community and is a way to support small business. The people who work there are likely to spend their money at other local businesses. By doing so, will help create more local jobs. Here are five reasons why local businesses are essential:

  1. Owners in your social circle
  2. Keep jobs and invest locally
  3. Environmental factors
  4. Real people behind the till
  5. Identity

Owners in your social circle 

With corporate, multinational, large businesses and chains, it might be one person or a board of directors running the show. Either way, a small number of people run a massive operation. Local people own small businesses, and both the owner and the employees live in your village, town or city. You might know them, or someone in your circle might know them.

Keeps jobs and invest locally

Large businesses can make job cuts and replace staff with automated AI machines. Small businesses employ ‘real people’ helping the local economy. By real people I mean people you might see around town when you are out and about.

If employees remain to earn a wage, even after tax and national insurance, they too can buy from an independent shop and help support local, independents shops as well. 

“As small businesses get back on their feet and reopen with new safety measures in place, consumers can lend a hand by shopping local – supporting local companies and jobs.”

Small Business Minister Paul Scully – GOV.UK

Environmental factors 

There is an environmental factor that shopping locally helps the planet. Restaurants buy food from local suppliers; an artist creates using local craft shops; the eCommerce stock is stored nearby. 

There is no need for an item to be individually packaged and shipped from the other side of the planet. Delivery can be made locally, dropped off on your doorstep by the owners or delivered by a local courier. 

Real people behind the till

Small businesses often know the customer who buys from them. It builds and sustains a personal relationship. There is no AI customer relationship management system (CRM), and there is no automated computer learning to segment your customers. Just a traditional human connection.

Identity 

If one place sells and specialises in a particular service or trade, it can become famous for that. It helps build an identity. 

I’ll answer some questions and then it’s your turn to answer the ones below these:

Is it essential to support small local businesses?

Yes, keeping local businesses alive helps build a sense of community.

How do you ask someone to support your business?

You can mention on social media you are local and how it would mean a lot if they can share your post, buy your products or hire your services.

How can I support my small business for free

If you have shopped from them in the past, write a review on their Google My Business, Trip Advisor or wherever they collect reviews. You could also share their posts on social media and subscribe to their newsletter. 

How local businesses help the community

Local businesses I know of at times use their profits to help with fundraising for local projects, local innovation and a local charity. 

How can you show your support to local businesses?

If you have the money, the answer is as simple as buy from them.

Why do governments support business startups?

Startups bring something new and exciting to the local area. New companies are likely to have done their market research and have identified a gap in the market. Often the owner(s) have a lot of enthusiasm and in need of help setting up their premises. The service they will seek may be from a local painter to decorate their shop or a local web designer to build them a new website 😉

Questions, please answer in comments.

I would love to hear from you in the comments – please let me know your opinion:

  1. Would you support a local small business if its a little more expensive than a corporate company?
  2. What gift ideas do you have planned for loved ones in your life? Can you buy these locally?
  3. What are some unique, practical/useful gifts to give this holiday season that also helps support local/small businesses?
  4. What do you think the economic impact would be if people started rejecting big corps and kept local companies. To the point that are many small businesses in place of one big one?
  5. What’s your favourite local or international small business brand that you like to support?

 Any other advice you can give to others on how to support local business would be appreciated.