Things are tough for small business owners right now. The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports almost a quarter of businesses experienced decreased revenue in June of this year, with small and retail businesses particularly struggling to meet their financial commitments. We all have a role to play – as we begin the downhill slide into Christmas, it’s time to think about what you put under the tree.
Do your research
It makes sense that shopping with big businesses feels like the easiest option at Christmas time – they often have huge marketing teams and budgets to ensure they stay front of mind. To find the perfect present from a small business, it often means doing a bit of your own research (don’t worry, it’s fun research!). Chat to your friends about their favourite small businesses, ask your followers on social media for their suggestions, and keep a list of any that catch your eye (apps and extensions like Pinterest, Karma and Instagram’s ‘Saved’ feature will be your best friend here!).
People in your network have told you their favourite small businesses – now it’s time to return the favour! Send your friends and family links to small businesses or products you think they might like, and share posts from those businesses on your own social media. Leave reviews when you have an amazing shopping experience (and not just because they’ve offered you an incentive in return) to help the business draw in new customers. Why not go a step further and post about a local business on your neighbourhood’s community Facebook page? Always be sure to tag the business whenever you mention them on social media, too.
Make smart purchases
If you’re hesitant to splash additional cash on a local small business – and are feeling the temptation to opt for a cheaper, mass produced option instead – think about how to get the most out of your money. Make you’re reluctant to spend $50 on a lunch box in the new school year? Make it one of your children’s Christmas presents and the price instantly becomes a lot more palatable! Think also about how the gift will benefit, not just entertain, your kids. Sun protection, for example, is essential all year round. While spending money on quality, durable children’s sunglasses, stylish hats or natural sunscreen might seem like an unnecessary expense on an any other day, turning them into stocking fillers kills many birds with one stone.
Your favourite restaurant or boutique may have shut its doors thanks to COVID, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still support them – even if they don’t have an online offering. Buying gift cards is an amazing way to show love to small businesses who might be doing it tough, whether it’s a gift card you will personally use when they reopen or a Christmas present for a loved one. Gift cards are actually really beneficial for small businesses because they receive the money instantly and usually gain a new customer. A US study even found that 80 percent of customers spend more than the value of their gift card – on average, $59 more!
Talk to the business owner
One of the (many) amazing things about small business is that the owner is usually involved in its operation personally. They may run the social media account, handle the customer service or even be standing at the cash register when you visit them in-store. This provides the perfect opportunity to get to know them better and, in turn, learn how best to support them. Ask the owners of your favourite small business what they need to succeed this Christmas. Find out whether they or their friends and family members have any other business ventures you can support. You won’t just be helping out a business owner in need – you might just make a fast friend. After all, isn’t spreading love through your community what Christmas is really all about?