The rise of small business is incredible these days! Only 3% of Australian businesses have 20 or more employees.
With the increased accessibility of technology comes to ease of creating, sharing and selling products and services online.
With the ever-popular emergence of the “side hustle economy”, and more and more people getting in the game, I am betting that many of you can think of a friend or family member that has a business or hobby that they can share to provide a product or service. We may not need there offering ourselves but how many times does the “word of mouth grapevine” get activated when someone needs to solve a problem. If you want to support your friends, there is no better way than to referring someone to them and I have a few simple things you can do that will make a big impact.
- Buy. Use. Refer
It’s simple… become their customer or client! Does your friend sell hand-painted signs on Etsy, buy one. Does she make custom cakes, order one for your next celebration? Did she open her own spa, go get a massage. (Yes please!) Whatever your friend is up to, become a customer or client and refer others to do the same.
Now, I am not suggesting that you visit your friend’s business every day or buy every product they offer. Sometimes it may not be appropriate to use the services they provide, you may not be their ideal client or you may not be in need of what your friend’s business is offering. That’s ok! You may be able to refer other people to their business or when the time comes and you do need what they offer, you’ll know exactly what to go!
- Like. Share. Post
If you’re not interested or able to be your friend’s client or customer there are other ways you can support. One of them is through social media. Liking, sharing or posting about your friends’ business is a huge gesture in this digital age. Most businesses use social media to build and gain trust with potential clients. You can help speed up this process simply by interacting with your friend’s business wherever they are.
Read their blog posts, check out their website, follow them on social media and most importantly like, comment, share and re-post whatever resonates with you and as often as possible.
- Be like glue and stick people together
Having an understanding of what your friend’s business is all about will help you be a master connector. As you meet ideal clients or customers for your friend’s business it will be natural for you to suggest that they connect.
Remember, that the purpose of recommending that two people connect should be mutually beneficial. It feels amazing to be able to refer someone to your friend when you know it will genuinely benefit that person, as well as your friend. This is the magic of networking taken to a new level!
But wait… there’s something in this for you too! When you’re a person that actively builds your networking skills through connecting others, you remain top of mind for those people that you have introduced to one another. In turn, they will think of you as someone to recommend or connect to the right people when the opportunity arises. That’s what I call a win-win!
- Ask what you can do
It’s not easy starting or running your own business, even a side business takes up a ton of time and energy! If you really want to support your friend in their new venture, try asking them how you can help.
You might be surprised at the simple answer you get back.
I have taken some of my friends up on their offer to help by asking them to look over my website and give me feedback before I launched it. They were happy to do that! I got some really awesome feedback from them. Typos that they caught, suggestions on style, color or design, even some revisions of my writing. I was thrilled! I took many of their ideas and I credit their feedback to making the site better.
Ask your friend how you can help and if what they suggest is manageable for you then do it! They will appreciate that gesture more than you can imagine ?
- Give honest feedback or just be a Cheerleader
This can be tricky, but true friends want you to know your opinion (usually!). If your friend asks you for your input, then share it lovingly. You probably know them better than most and that’s why they are coming to you for the feedback in the first place. Your insights might be just what they need to improve their products, services, business space or website.
If your friend has not asked for your opinion then you get the best job of all, Cheerleader! Be there to support, say nice things and encourage your friend as they navigate the crazy world of small business.
You can do it!
Don’t give up!
You’ve got this!
No matter how you choose to show up for your friend I am sure they’ll appreciate it. And a special shout out to my friends and family that continue to show up and support me every day ?