Pffffttttt… seriously people. That never happened! And never will.
To Big Box / corporate businesses, YOU are just a number! They really don’t care about building a relationship.
They don’t don’t send you a thank you note to appreciate you for telling your friend Jane about that cute top you wore, that great movie you watched, that tasty box of X you made and the family loved. (Small businesses appreciate those who help them, and if they don’t, they should)
They don’t share how amazing YOU are on social media or to their “friends or followers” for YOU referring them to your girlfriend you told to shop there.
It. Just. Doesn’t. Happen.
Don’t even get me started about how small businesses are the backbone of businesses or how we, small biz, are the ones that suffered most when the pandemic locked up our economy. Think about it, who stayed open – Big Box did, that’s who! WE need to support small businesses and stick together.
Shop Local & Small Business
Like I mentioned in my blog about small businesses competing with big box companies, small businesses CAN compete. We may have to work harder, and we often do, but we can do it. But we really need to stick together to help small business and we need to continue to use the platforms out there to help spread the word for fellow business owners – like social media, blogging on websites and sharing, etc.
Consider branding – large corporate companies, big box stores and even franchises have nationally and international branding oftentimes even before they open up a new store near you. When a new one opens up, you are already excited because you know what they sell, what they offer, their pricing and the like. When a small boutique, new local restaurant or awesome little hole in the wall pub, or a new multi-level marketing company hits the market, you know….. nothing.
This means that we, small business owners, whether you are brick and mortar, service or product based, multi-level marketing or other business… we have to put in that much more work. So, ya’ll.. be kind when your sister, neighbor, friend or the like starts their new business venture and shouts it from the rooftop. Now, we know there are many that are pushy or maybe just don’t understand that selling isn’t really selling, but educating ….but don’t blast them for it! Just reach out privately and say hey, you might want to go about it this way instead, so you don’t tick off all of your friends with your constant posting or me me me sales pitches. Besides, we all have those friends who share about every workout, every move their baby makes, every outfit their cute little dog wears or maybe every shooting event or margarita they drink… and we don’t harass them, right? Damn right, who would harass someone who shoots and drinks margaritas? #justsayin PLUS, nor do we harass the big box companies for forcing themselves in our social media feed, mailbox, email box and etc. So, just be kind.
How to help ourselves & small business owners
As a small business owner, we need to network. We need to find those like minded individuals. And by networking, I don’t mean – go to a network group, hand out your business cards to everyone and tell them what you sell and how they need to help you by buying it. #networkfail Get to know them, one by one, and see how you can help them and be clear on how they can help you. I mean, know specifically how they can help by knowing your ideal client, your target market and who might be a great referral partner for you.
Because remember, while everyone may be able to use your product or service, let’s be honest, they aren’t. So focus your energy on those who are and will, not might or won’t. This is a great way to get your new business out there and make some quality relationships on the way.
As a small business, we need to be where our customers are. So, wherever that is, be there. Start with one social media channel and then build upon that. As a consumer, if you have done business at Sally’s new hair salon, ate at Pat’s new restaurant, bought Ann’s new product… SHARE your thoughts, pump them up, support them. Remember YOU do business with whom you know, like and trust and by sharing that information. Your friends may want to do business with them as well. Just like you do for your fav movie, fav club, fav sports team or best dish at xyz place – be sure to share that same excitement for your fellow business owner or friend who is starting a new business or venture.
Shout from the Rooftops – REFER!
On that note – why don’t we give the same enthusiasm for our friends or fellow biz owners but we will for corporate America? For example:
- Why share these leggings we got at Target but we don’t do the same for our girlfriend who’s selling them as her side hustle.
- Or why do we share supplements you can buy on Amazon but not shout out about a friend who sells health care supplements as her home business.
- Or why do we give kudos to major chains that charge 8 bucks for a cup of coffee but won’t try a coffee from a friend who’s trying to support her family.
- Why not refer to your business friend mortgage lender or small town bank over providing that Big Bank.
- Why not refer to your friend who sells insurance over sending someone who spends millions on a reptile for a “spokesperson” – that’s your insurance premium at work folks.
- Why not promote your local farmers for your organic or fresh fruits and vegetables?
- dude, I can do this all day long – hoping you are getting the idea.
It’s like there is this negative stigmata about sharing for a friend who has a multi-level marketing business – or fear of supporting a “pyramid scheme”. Umm, hello folks, you do know what a pyramid is, right? Basically, the people/person at the top makes the most money. Doesn’t a CEO of Walmart make more than the GM, who makes more than the Manager, who makes more than the Cashiers, who makes more than the Welcome person? That sounds a LOT like a pyramid to me. Don’t get sucked in folks. And besides, I’d MUCH rather help my friend get rich than Sam Walton, Mark Z, Jeff Bezos, John Mackey (Whole Foods), George Dayton (Target, per Wiki).. anyways, you get the idea. HELP the little people, WE are the little people, the big people – we’ve helped them all plenty.. enough!
Don’t be Cheap!
Had to throw this one in there. We all have a friend who is a doctor, IT guy/gal, lawyer, cop, social media guru, website person, etc etc etc and we all ask those.. quick questions. Folks.. it isn’t a quick question. Or rather, it is a quick question for you, but the answer, NOT. SO. QUICK. Well, sometimes it might be if we answered in our lingo. But, you won’t understand. So our quick answer turns into a long drawn out explanation and how to fix it. It’s just really not fair because you are soliciting these folks for FREE WORK. How would you like do work for someone else, with nothing in return, ever? You wouldn’t.. so stop asking. And business owners, stop answering. Answer, sure, I’d love to help you. Let’s set up a time and we can go over that and my hourly rate is X.
Also, on that same note, why do we haggle pricing with small business owners? Why are they not worth what they say they are? When was the last time you walked into Walmart or Target and wanted to buy a widget and the price marked is $199. Do you take it to the checker and say… you know, would you take $150 for it? NOOOO, you don’t, so stop short changing your friends and fellow small business owners.Small business owners support other small business owners. Big box companies don't care and are just about your money. See how to help here #smallbiz Click To Tweet
Bottom Line – Stick together
Folks.. we have to stick together. Business owners need to be better advocates for themselves: see your value, know your value, know what you need, know who are good clients and business partners and build relationships. Friends and fellow business owners – we need to help share about other business owners and friends. Let’s support them. And if they get out of hand with pushy salesperson mode, tell them, but be kind.
So, not sure how else I can spell this out.. be small business needs our help.. we need to help each other. If I can help you in some way, please contact me. If you, or someone you know, are in need of help with your website, search engine optimization or ads on Google to boost your visibility on the internet, please let me know. I would love to help.
Meghan M says
Small businesses have certainly felt the pain of 2020. While the big companies got bigger and acquired billions (I’m looking at you Amazon and Walmart), the little businesses suffered and many got crushed. You’ve provided some good reminders for ways that friends, family, and the general population can support small business and the livelihood of many families across the US. Just one small gesture can make a difference for a small business!
Kristen Day says
EXACTLY Meghan, Walmart, Target, Dollar Tree even, Amazon (manipulated and controlled what was “essential” and not) and the list goes on and on… they never shut down.. just slap on a mask and put hand sanitizer on the counter with a silly plastic shield at the cash register, oh and some stickers on the ground.. really?? That is their “suffering”.. what about the millions of businesses that suffered or the employees at these places.. crickets. Anyways, preaching to the choir and thank you for jumping in!