Starting a small business can be scary and life-changing. So when a friend takes the leap of faith to start their own business you will probably wonder how to support their small business.
Small businesses face a world of uncertainty and in many cases, the odds are against them. Here are some small business failure rates according to Fundera:
- 20% of small businesses fail in their first year
- 30% of small businesses fail in their second year
- 50% of small businesses fail after five years in business
- 70% of small business owners fail in their 10th year in business.
Those stats are scary.
But the upside to a successful business is obvious. Not only can it mean financial freedom, the sense of accomplishment is intoxicating.
So here are a few things you can do to support a friend’s small business.
1 ) Become a customer
Okay, this one is pretty obvious. When your friend’s small business is getting started the best thing you can do is be a customer. Helping your friend build early-stage revenue is critical to their success. No matter how small your purchase is, the fact that you are participating in their mission to build a business is a way to show your belief in what they are doing.
Additionaly, by being an early stage customer allows them to practice their business processes. If something goes wrong, like a invoice problem, service issue etc., it’s much better for that to happen with a friend that can be more understanding and help them work through it than some random person off the street.
This is also a great time for you to be honest with your experience with your friend’s business. Did it meet or beat your expectations? Are there places where they could improve? Let them know! It may feel a little awkward giving negative feedback, but it could make or break their business.
Remember to be constructive and give feedback in a way that it helps them become a better business person.
2) Leave an online review
When you first start a business one of the hardest obstacles to overcome is credibility. Whether you are a resturaunt, a retail store, service etc., many people shy away from companies that don’t have a long history of service.
Now days, online reviews are often the measure potential customers use to guage the credibility of a business. Lucky for you, leaving a online review takes just a couple of minutes and can have a huge impact on your friends business.
When your wite your review remember to use details about your experience, what you like about it, how it helped you etc.
You can also write multiple reviews on different platforms. For example if your friend has a restaurant write a review on their Google listing, their Facebook page, Yelp, GrubHub, and where ever else their business is listed. Not only are you helping them establish credibility review can also help their business get ranked higher on those platforms when other potential customers are searching as well.
3) Refer your friends
Word of mouth marketing is often all many small businesses are able to rely on depending on their budget. It’s important that you talk about their business when it makes sense.
You don’t want to sound like a used car salesman but when an opportunity presents itself don’t be afraid to celebrate your friend’s business. Additionally, acknowledging you are friends with the owner and sharing their story can boost the chances of whoever you’re speaking with visit the business.
People are more likely to try something new if they have a bit more background and understanding of what’s in store and who is behind the project.
4) Engage on social media
Small businesses rely on social media for more than reviews. It’s a way for them to share what they are working on, the story behind the business, and more. One way to show your support is to follow your friend’s business across social media and to engage with their posts.
No one likes to speak to an empty room. Your likes, shares, and comments can spark conversation and make it more likely for others to engage with your friend’s business. Your goal is to become an advocate for your friend’s business.