Written by: Christina Metcalf

It’s officially Small Business Season, and that means it’s time to give a little love to small businesses. With rising interest rates, soaring costs, and online competition, small businesses are feeling the crunch. This season, do a little extra for your neighbors and make a concerted effort to shop small. If you do, you could be saving a small business this year.

How to Save Small Business Without a Lot of Money

Besides being job generators, small businesses flavor our towns. They attract tourists and bring money from other communities into our own. A quaint Main Street and shopping district attracts a lot of people. If we don’t support small business this year, we could lose those businesses and lose the attraction factor for additional spending.

Yet not everyone has money to spend this holiday season. According to GOBankingRates over 1/3 people surveyed plan to forgo tipping their service providers or providing them with a Christmas bonus. People are looking for ways to save and many are coming up short. Still, there are many ideas for saving small business that won’t cost you anything.

  1. Write reviews of your favorites on a variety of sites. From Facebook to Google, industry-specific sites to local spots, reviews influence buying decisions. Writing a review is free.
  2. Tag friends when you see something they would like on social media. When a small business shares something you like on social media, tag a friend. Not only will your friend see the post, but all their friends will as well (permission settings allowing, of course).
  3. Check-in at businesses. Even if you’re not buying, when you check in at a business that is providing social proof that you are visiting this business. It creates a crowd mentality that the place is worth checking out. Ever decide not to eat at a restaurant because there are no cars in the parking lot? Checking in helps create a (virtual) crowded lot, which drives people to check the business out.
  4. Share images from the business. Take pictures. Share details about your experience. Photograph their calendar of events. Share anything that would draw people in. When you’re not directly affiliated with a business and you share, people see that as an endorsement and they’re more likely to act.
  5. Join their newsletter or mailing list. Now may not be a good time to buy but joining their mailing list and forwarding helpful information to your audience can help match a buyer with a needed product or service.
  6. Answer questions. If you see a question about a product or service on a group, give some suggestions. These types of referrals are hot leads for your favorite small business because they know the person asking is already in the market for what they sell or do.
  7. Post a round-up on social media. Create a list of your favorite businesses, restaurants, or service providers or post a daily “thankful for small business post” and feature a new local business each day. Write a “best new businesses” post for businesses that opened this year. Get creative and tag the business whenever possible.

There’s a lot you can do to support small businesses without spending anything. Giving them your time and promoting them to your audience can drive buyers to patronize them. For the biggest impact, make sure that everything you post is visible to the public and encourage people to share your posts. Your efforts might just be saving a small business this season.