If you’re like me, you live life on a pretty strict budget and don’t often have the extra cash to monetarily support all of your friend’s businesses. Like many of you, my money goes to my rent and pets first, leaving little set aside to buy my friend’s newest piece of art.
Luckily, there are a number of things you can do for free, especially if you’re willing to put in a little bit of effort. Here are six ways you can support your friend’s businesses without breaking the bank.
1. Engage With Them On Social Media
One of the best ways to support a business, especially if they’re an artist, is to engage with their social media. While liking and following are both important, commenting is really what goes the extra mile.
Apps like Instagram look for posts with high levels of engagement and boost them in other people’s feeds. Leaving a genuine comment instead of the traditional fire emoji is even better, and can help expose their page to potential new clients.
2. Offer Up Your Skills & Collaborate
Everybody has their own unique skill set, and chances are one of your skills might be helpful to your friend. You don’t have to be a creative like an artist or a designer to offer your services either. Even skills like accounting, organization, marketing, and project management are extremely helpful.
3. Connect Them With The Right People
If you don’t have the right skills to help your friend directly, connecting them with those who can is the next best thing. Businesses are built with good networking, and making the right connections makes all the difference. As the right person is entirely situational, it is difficult to illustrate this with a proper example, so use your own judgment.
This connection also doesn’t have to be as blatant — like connecting your winery friend with your bar owner friend — and is often more subtle. Are they an artist? Try connecting them with a shop to sell their work, a business looking for art for their walls, or even another creative to collaborate with.
4. Namedrop Their Business In Conversation
People are more likely to support a business that somebody they know has recommended or mentioned before. Photographers, artists, and other creatives often generate a staggering amount of their business from this kind of word of mouth.
Even something as simple as mentioning their name helps because people might recognize it during a later Google search. While it might not seal the deal, it will likely get your friend in the door.
“Creative Arts Wedding Photography, that name sounds familiar. I’ll go check them out.”
5. Leave A Genuine Review
I cannot stress how important genuine reviews are for modern businesses, especially if you have stiff competition on Google. The number and quality of Google reviews often make the difference between one business or another for most people. How often have you chosen a restaurant, shop, or even a doctor’s office because they’ve had more consistent reviews?
Your reviews will also encourage others to leave reviews of their own, which really helps get the ball rolling. Buskers put a little bit of change in their instrument case to encourage tips, and this is no different.
6. Simply Ask How You Can Help Out
Your friend will know best what their business needs, be it Google reviews, somebody to pick up their supply order, or a designer to create a logo for them. Even running errands helps free up their time to do other things, so don’t underestimate the value of small gestures.
Odds are, though, that they will appreciate your offer to help. Starting and running a business is stressful, so small gestures like this can brighten their mood and motivate them to keep working.