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Supporting Small Business – the dos and don’ts

Prior to launching Rise, I would like to think I had a pretty good idea of how running a small business might look. I’d thought about things such as how I’d schedule our clients, how I’d like the business to operate, how I’d pitch our services, what those services would be etc.

What I DIDN’T think about were things like:

  • Other people’s opinions
  • Imposter Syndrome
  • Judgement from others about whether any decision you’ve made is ‘the right one’
  • A lack of understanding from others about the business and the ‘why’

SO! What we’ve done is compiled a list of ‘dos and don’ts’ that we feel are important to recognise when it comes to supporting and interacting with small business owners.

Some of these points may seem obvious to some of you, and for others, you may find one or two of these little tips super helpful (you’re welcome).

The Dos

Like and Share!

When you like or comment on a post, share a story, or interact online in any capacity, what you’re actually doing is helping that small business be seen! For example, when you engage with a small business regularly on Instagram, the Instagram algorithm assumes you will be interested in seeing their new content, ranking them higher on your feed and increasing their audience

Purchase (if you can)

For small business owners, the sale of any products or services is a WIN! Chances are this small business has come about for one of two reasons;

A: It is a ‘side’ project – something that’s being done in addition to working a full time job or being a parent, or

B: like us here at Rise, it’s the result of taking a huge leap into the unknown, leaving all other work behind in pursuit of chasing dreams, finding balance or fulfilling a passion.

Either way, accessing services or purchasing a product is probably one of the most impactful ways to support small businesses.

Hot Tip: When you do access services or purchase a product, revisit our first point and share it online! Take five minutes to answer questions about the business, review the product or just give a friendly shout out. Every little bit counts.

Link small businesses with each other

How great is it that we live in a world where communication and connection is more available than ever before! Another amazing way to support small businesses is by linking them up with one another.

Know a florist and a start-up event planner? Put them in touch!

Your friend is a small business owner who needs an Accountant, and you know an A+ Accountant? Send them the deets!

Offer your skills

Starting a new business can be stressful (naturally). There’s a lot to take in and sometimes the workload can become a bit much, especially in the beginning.

This is a great time to offer any skills you carry to lend a hand. Maybe you’re a wizz with WordPress, or you know how to take a fabulous photo. Offering your skills might just be the gesture that takes the pressure off a small business owner.

Short on skills but have lots of time? That’ll work! Tasks like putting together packaging boxes, or sticking labels on products takes TIME and if you’ve got some to spare, I guarantee you, you won’t be met with a ‘no thanks’!

The Don’ts

These Don’ts are things that we have picked up over time, from having conversations with small business owners, our own experiences and of course through what we’ve noticed online.

Make judgements on your friend for putting themselves out there

It seems like an obvious one but it’s absolutely gobsmacking how often people will criticise someone for putting themselves out there online. Maybe they’re showing their face more, posting content that’s a bit ‘quirky’, reviewing a beauty product or working with other businesses to help build their brand. At the end of the day, it’s their business, so it’s best to kindly mind your own.

“You should be doing this!”

Honestly I think this is the number one phrase that a small business owner will hear.

“Why don’t you do XXXX with the business?”

“Have you tried doing XXXX? That would be so much better!”

Alrighty folks, if there’s one thing you take away from this today, it’s this:

As human beings, we’re always learning. We’re always open to ideas. But when your ‘ideas’ are telling us how we should be running our business, they’re probably not welcome.

Look, we’re not saying that feedback isn’t valuable. In fact, feedback is welcomed!

Our suggestion: Approach ‘feedback’ in a different way. For example:

“Hey, love what you’re doing with the biz. I just wanted to let you know that I found XXXX a little bit difficult to use. I wanted to give you this feedback because I know how hard you’re working and how amazing your products are. If you ever wanted to brainstorm some ideas, I’d be happy to be a part of that!”

Ask them what their real job is

Our advice: DON’T DO IT!

As we mentioned back up there ^^, it’s highly likely that a small business owner has taken the leap from a previous workplace to focus on their business full time. By suggesting there’s another job in the background is essentially highlighting your belief that the business owner couldn’t possibly be making a living off their small business. Maybe they are, maybe they’re not. Either way, this question suggests a lack of faith in the business owner and the business model.

Many small business owners already suffer from that nasty thing called Imposter Syndrome. Questions like this simply bring this feeling to the surface and truthfully, it could potentially be really harmful to the success of a business.

There are certainly more points to be covered here, but for now, we’ll leave you with this:

It takes a lot of hard work, time, learning and growth to be a small business owner.

Show your support by following, interacting and advocating for your friends running small businesses. They’re doing great things. Share this with your small business bosses and remind them that their potential to succeed is infinite.

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