The support of new and returning customers is crucial to the growth of a new or small business. With so many in our communities venturing into entrepreneurship, it’s important to keep in mind that along with your support in dollars, they’ll also need a little understanding, courtesy, patience and encouragement as they work hard to build their businesses and give back to the very communities they came from.
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Scroll through the list below to check out a few things you should keep in mind when supporting local small and new businesses in and outside of your neighborhood this holiday season.
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Don't Forget To Tag Or Mention!
In age of social media, the mere mention of a new business or brand in a post can drive dozens, hundreds or even thousands of new customers to that business. If the business has their own social media page(s), even better than just mentioning a name is tagging the actual page. So share away...and where possible, don't forget to tag!
Payment Options May Be Limited
The cost of running your own business can be overwhelming. As a supportive customer, you'll want to keep in mind that a variety of electronic payment options may not be available in the first few months, or sometimes even the first year, of a new business. Always be prepared for the possibility of having to pay with cash if you're shopping in person and have either a credit or debit card handy if shopping online.
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If You Love It, Buy It Again!
Customer retention rates are important to any business, but for start-ups and small businesses, being able to build a solid roster of regular clientele early can be especially crucial. So if you purchase something that you absolutely love and know you'll need again, find a way to remind yourself to buy from that same business each time.
Take Complaints And Criticism Directly To The Owner Before Going Public
While it can be tempting to air out your grievances publicly first in the Internet era, giving new businesses owners the courtesy of resolving any dissatisfaction with you directly can save all parties involved a world of headaches. Unless your complaint against the business is something serious that could harm or do real damage to others and the owner is refusing to alert the other customers, take your issue straight to the source before taking it to the world.
Don't Just Shop, Spread The Word!
Post your new purchase or great product review on your social media pages. Tell your friends about that fab new clothing boutique, restaurant or service-based business you tried out and loved. Recommend small businesses you've supported in the past when someone is looking for a similar product or service. Every little bit you can do to spread the word as a happy customer helps!
Bring A Friend
We all know shopping with friends is twice the fun, so use this opportunity to make memories with your crew AND bring a few more new customers into the fold for the new business(es) you're supporting in the process.
Prices May Be Higher Than Expected…For Now
While new entrepreneurs work to build their business, learn their true customer base and make a return on their investment in the beginning, limited stock of products or limited staffing to provide services can cause prices to be a little higher than what you may expect. As the business grows and revenue increases, more pricing options and deals for loyal customers will likely become available.
A Little Encouragement Goes A Long Way
Everyone loves to tell new entrepreneurs how they can make their business better and constructive feedback can certainly be helpful at times, but what also goes a long way is a little encouragement. Whether you tell them how much you love your purchase, offer encouraging advice if you're an entrepreneur yourself, or just compliment them on setting an inspiring example for their community, hearing kind words from a customer can be just the boost they need to keep pushing.
Target Holiday Marketplace
Be Patient About Shipping Times And Limited Stock
Although receiving more orders for products or requests for services than expected is a great problem to have for a new business, securing additional staffing or more financial resources to accommodate the support can sometimes take time. As a customer who's support is vital to the growth of the business, you should keep this in mind while shopping and try to be as patient as possible while the business gets things up and running efficiently.