We all know small businesses are important. According to the Department of Business Innovation and Skills, in 2013, the growth is the UK business population has been driven by an increase in the number of small businesses. Along with visiting your local butcher and family-owned curtain shop, there are lots of things you can do to help support other small businesses. Most of these tips will only take a few minutes but will make a difference to others. And going the extra mile now can foster relationships and help your business out in the long run.
1- Recommend them
Make sure you are aware of quality businesses that provide and offering complementary or related to your own. So if you are a dog walker, for example, make sure you know the best pet groomer in town and vice versa. That way you will have an answer ready if your customers ever ask you for a recommendation. This adds value to your customers and helps other small businesses – it’s a win win!
Word-of-mouth recommendations are one of the most trusted forms of marketing out there. If you have had a positive experience with another small or medium sized enterprise (SME), spread the word about it by sharing your experience on social media. If the business is completely unrelated to your own, share it from your personal account; you don’t want to spam your customers.
2- Leave them online reviews
Positive online reviews can make a world of difference to a small business, especially if they are new. So help out other SMEs and leave them detailed reviews if you have enjoyed their products or services. They will likely remember you and keep you in mind if they ever need your business’s services later. And if you end up doing business with you, they are likely to return the favour and leave you a review as well.
3- Send employee referrals
Finding qualified, reliable help can be extremely difficult for busy small businesses. If you know of a qualified candidate, make the necessary call or write the email to get that person noticed by a good small business in need of a quality employee. Not only will it help your colleagues out, it keeps that talent in your local economy.
4- Like their page and follow them
Making connections on social media is a good way to build networks and keep on top of what’s going on in your local area. Plus this can really help a small business out, especially if they are just getting started. Those first few likes and follows can be the most difficult to get and, of course, they are likely to return the favour.
5- Share their content
After liking or following them, if you see they have written an outstanding blog post or have created an exceptional infographic, share it. It’s important that the content is high quality and that it adds value to your customers by being relevant to your target audience. Sharing for the point of sharing will only hurt your business.
6- Collaborate with them
Take advantage of SMEs that offer complementary products and services to you by reaching out and hopefully collaborating with them. A florist specializing in event flower arrangements could join forces with an event photographer to add value to both businesses, for example. In this case, the photographer could take pictures for the florist’s brochures in exchange for flower arrangements at the photographer’s exhibition stand or next photo shoot. Take advantage of the connections you make.
Whether you’ve already made it big or you’re just getting started, you can always appreciate someone reaching out to give a helping hand. These six simple tips are sure to be well received and help you make valuable connections with other small businesses near you.