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Small businesses are worthy of your support, and they need that support now more than ever. Here’s a list of ways that you can help lift up your favorite local small businesses, and many of these tips won’t cost you a dime.

Interested in making a positive impact on the lives of the hard-working entrepreneurs in our community? Well, here’s your chance!

Ready… Set… GO

1. Shop with them!
Obviously – avoid the temptation whenever possible to use the big box stores. If there’s a local small business alternative, go there instead. It may cost a bit more, but isn’t it worth it?

2. Call direct for take-out!
Don’t use Uber Eats, etc. Your favorite local restaurants have to share the profit from your purchase with delivery services such as Uber Eats and Door Dash. Do these small restaurants a favor and pick up your food in person. Also, leave a tip.

3. Collect business cards!
And pass them on to others. If you are happy with the service a small business provides for you, ask for a dozen business cards. Then hand them to friends and colleagues that you think would be very likely to hire that business.

4. Engage on Social Media!
Like, comment, and share – Follow your favorite small businesses on social media, like some of their posts, and share some of their posts as well. There are restrictive algorithms at play for businesses on Facebook and Instagram. The more you like and share their posts, the more likely their audience will actually see their posts. And you thought Facebook was free… HA!

5. Post a video testimonial!
It’s so easy to post a video on your personal or business Facebook account. Right now, nothing is more effective for reaching your audience on Facebook than video. Set aside just a minute to record a quick video testimonial for a local small business that you love on your phone and post it to your Facebook account.

6. Sign up for their email newsletter!
Help a few small businesses grow their database by signing up for their email newsletters. It’s free, and they’ll love you for it. And when you receive their email newsletter – open it and have a quick read! Actually, that reminds me: have you signed up for our email newsletter? 😉

7. Help them network!
Ask a business owner who their perfect client is and then tell people you know that fits that description. Chances are, their perfect customers and clients are people just like you.

8. Slow down!
Enjoy the process of shopping around. Take the time to explore the community and the local small businesses serving it. This one is just as much for you as it is for those beautiful small businesses. Stop and smell the roses.

9. Be an ambassador!
Join the local Chamber or business networking groups for a meeting or two, and wear your consumer hat. Ask how you can support the businesses in the group.

10. Make it a date!
Take a friend along when shopping at your favorite small businesses. Personal introductions are the most impactful. You’ve heard the old business adage, “Never eat lunch alone.” Well, how about “Never shop alone?”

11. You’re an influencer!
Take a photo of you enjoying a local small business for Facebook or Instagram and tag them. Another great way to promote a small business on social media. Be an influencer that promotes others – generously.

12. Say Thank You, and Mean It!
Running a small business can be a lonely place, and these business owners would appreciate a heartfelt thank you. Trust me, it will make their day.

13. Donate some time!
Donate 20 minutes of your time to help promote a small business. Ask a business owner how you can help them with 20 minutes of your time. They may ask you to make a social media post, shoot a quick video, or simply share some advice if you have some expertise that could benefit them.

14. Be thoughtful!
Take the time to find quality local artisan producers. Don’t take the shortcut and buy from the big stores online. Sure, big retailers have some exclusive services that the small local businesses can’t provide. But, if we take a little extra time occasionally, we can find local crafty alternatives that are often higher in quality. For example, consider finding a talented local florist rather than dialing up 1-800-flowers the next time you need a bouquet.

15. Introduce your network!
Invite your friends on Facebook to “like” a certain small business. This is a fast and easy way to 10x a small business’s social media audience. By recommending a business for your friends to follow, you’re providing powerful validation for that business with only a click of the mouse. Easy, and takes no time at all.

16. Purchase gift cards!
Local businesses sell them, and you should buy them. If you’re going the gift card route, cards from local small businesses are way cooler than those from big national chains. WAY cooler.

17. Have patience!
Cut small business owners some slack, they are under immense pressure. No one works harder than a small business owner and their team. They want your business, and they love serving their customers. The big guys may be faster and more convenient, but supporting local businesses is way more satisfying.

18. Speak up!
Talk about small businesses more often, and share positive experiences at every opportunity. At work, at the brewery, on the golf course, and at the gym… promote, recommend, and share your positive experiences with small businesses more often.

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We could probably think of many more ways to help small businesses, but this should be enough to get you started. Do you have an idea that wasn’t listed here? Send us a message and we’ll share your idea during a future podcast episode. After all, if there’s one thing we’ve learned during all of this, we can’t do this alone.

Cheers, Lake Norman!