We all know that supporting small businesses is key to strengthening our communities. According to the Small Business Administration, they create 1.5 million jobs annually and account for 64% of new jobs created in the US. But how can we support green and local businesses without overconsuming? Check out our list of tips for some ideas on how to diversify the ways that you support your local businesses.
Boost their online presence
If any of your local businesses have a social media presence, funnel more eyes towards their pages by tagging them in your own posts, writing reviews on sites like Yelp and Google and signing up for any promotional newsletters that they may have. You can also find new small businesses on sites like Etsy and Shopify, browse and buy from local businesses on Sook and find used, out-of-print and rare books from independent booksellers on Alibris.
Vocalize your support
Recommend your favorite local businesses to friends and family. Word of mouth is an incredibly powerful marketing tool: a study by global marketing research firm Nielsen found that 92% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising. Leverage the power of your endorsements to bolster support for local businesses.
Open your eyes, ears, and laptop
The impulse to click “place order” online before shopping at a brick-and-mortar store is stronger than ever. Counteract this by evaluating your online purchases and taking notice of local businesses in your city or town.
There are plenty of ways to find new favorites. Your local Chamber of Commerce, community Facebook groups and Nextdoor forums are all resources to broaden your index of neighborhood businesses. Make an adventure out of exploring new community businesses with friends. These local stores may carry items that you would otherwise buy online; increasing your knowledge of your surrounding merchants allows you to shift from buying shipped items to making purchases from small businesses.
Pickup is preferred
Though getting meals or groceries delivered is tempting, ordering from most delivery services reduces the profits received by merchants. Companies like Postmates, DoorDash, and Instacart charge additional fees to the businesses who use them, whittling down already thin profit margins. When you’re able to buy from a local restaurant or grocery store, picking up your dinner order and grabbing products in-store bolsters the impact of your purchase.
Green products and services are at high demand with more and more people keeping people and the planet at top of mind. Businesses that join the Green Business Network® (greenbusinessnetwork.org) can get lots of resources for going green and meet other eco-entrepreneurs.
For everyday purchases or special occasion shopping, remember to think small and explore the independent storefronts in your community or online. When you support small business, you make the world smaller—in all the best ways.