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Small businesses have had it tough recently, which is why we want to encourage people to support local business wherever possible.
Beyond just spending money with them though, it can be difficult to know what to do. Here are small ways to show your support, helping you build connections with small businesses in your area.
The best way to support local business is by actually spending money with them. While this sounds obvious, it can be surprisingly difficult.
It’s not always easy to resist the convenience of online shopping and supermarkets, for example, and national (and international) chain stores dominate high streets all over the country.
The good news is that there are various initiatives that incentivise spending money within the community, aiming to make it easier. For example, American Express runs regular campaigns that give its cardholders cashback on purchases at independent businesses. They have a map of participating businesses that you can use all year round, not just during the campaign.
Here are tips to support local business:
Many local businesses offer membership or loyalty schemes to help customers support them.
Independent cinemas with a membership option might include free tickets and reduced booking fees as part of the deal, for instance, cancelling out the price of membership in the long run.
If your favourite local business doesn’t yet have a membership or loyalty scheme, why not encourage them to set one up?
Another way to help local businesses is by buying gift vouchers from them (or, again, encouraging them to start offering vouchers). Gift vouchers will boost a business’s cash flow in the short-term. By giving vouchers, you’ll also be promoting your favourite local businesses to your family and friends.
If you want to show support but don't want to make a purchase yet, you can always buy vouchers and cash them in later on. During coronavirus restrictions, many businesses created (and sold) memberships and vouchers to bring in some cash while they were forced to close.
In today’s digital-oriented world, many local businesses rely on customers being able to find them through an internet search. So if you have a favourite local business, or you’ve just had a nice experience at one, leave a Google review to big them up.
We’ve previously reported that 87 per cent of consumers read online reviews of local businesses, but many people might not think to leave a review unless they’ve had a really bad experience or an extremely positive one.
This means being proactive in your praise is a great way to support local business. As well as Google reviews, you could also write reviews on TripAdvisor, Yelp or websites that fill a particular niche (like Checkatrade for local tradespeople).
As hinted above, lots of businesses now rely on online activity to promote their business. Therefore, social media has become very important. If you use it, one small way to show your support is by following local businesses, helping them grow their online audience.
Get involved by:
If you know a small business owner or run a small business yourself, why not encourage partnerships in your area so everyone can promote each other’s services? For example:
Finally, our SME Insights Report has data on business confidence and optimism, so read that to understand the challenges that businesses are facing.
How have you supported your favourite local businesses? Let us know in the comments below.
Photographs: Monkey Business/stock.adobe.com
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Sam has more than 10 years of experience in writing for financial services. He specialises in illuminating complicated topics, from IR35 to ISAs, and identifying emerging trends that audiences want to know about. Sam spent five years at Simply Business, where he was Senior Copywriter.
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