Image for post
Image for post
Many small businesses and independent brands take part in Dysco events. Photograph by Abodid Sahoo.

If you really want to support small businesses, here’s what you can actually do

Khrisha Shah
Jul 17, 2020 · 3 min read

Everywhere you look today you’ll come across the phrase ‘support small businesses’ — in news articles, across influencers’ posts on social media and within brand campaigns too. Becoming ‘vocal for local’ has taken on new meaning thanks to the pandemic and the huge crisis in unemployment and falling consumer demand, both domestically and abroad.

But what does this really mean, and how can you truly support the people and companies that need it most right now?

How do we break past the risk of simply virtue signalling and letting this rally call from becoming just another social media trend? It begins with putting yourself in the shoes of those most impacted and thinking about what they really need right now. And in reality that goes much beyond using a sticker to give someone a shout out on Instagram (although that’s certainly valuable in it’s own right).

Independent professionals have lost their jobs and their project pipelines have dried up. Small businesses’ sales have dropped drastically and they can no longer cover their fixed costs. Agencies and studios have seen their client rosters shrink substantially. It’s no secret that the big guys who have the funds to tide over tough times are the ones who can absorb everyone else’s losses and turn them into their gains. So how can you help those who need it?

  1. Send someone a heartfelt testimonial — if you’ve loved their work or their products, send them a few lines they can use as promotional material.
  2. Refer unemployed people to companies you know are hiring, or send clients to agencies who are in need of new work.
  3. Give entrepreneurs and creatives constructive feedback if you’ve used their services, so they can make improvements to their processes.
  4. Do trial runs or sign up to beta test new products, so they can go from testing to launching.
  5. Be patient when working with a younger company, help them streamline their systems while they work out the kinks.
  6. Try spending more of your advertising budget on smaller independent players and platforms instead of Google and Facebook.
  7. And of course, instead of buying from large well known brands, scout for local alternatives and give them a shot.

On the flip side, as a small business owner, I realise that people might not even know how they can support you. I think that’s where transparency becomes really important. We’re accustomed to only sharing the highlights and glorious moments, but we don’t talk enough about the challenges (might be something to do with impostor syndrome). On that note, we just published an article listing out the challenges we’ve faced as a company — so that our community members can help us navigate them both now and in the future. Do take a look and let me know if any resonated with you, or if you have other ideas on how we can all support each other in meaningful ways.

The Innovation

A place for variety of stories from different backgrounds

Sign up for The Innovation Digest

By The Innovation

Official newsletter of The Innovation Take a look

By signing up, you will create a Medium account if you don’t already have one. Review our Privacy Policy for more information about our privacy practices.

Check your inbox
Medium sent you an email at to complete your subscription.

Khrisha Shah

Written by

The Innovation

A place for a variety of stories from different backgrounds

Khrisha Shah

Written by

The Innovation

A place for a variety of stories from different backgrounds

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store