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Sustainability Tools | JDC EXEC

How to support small businesses

Chad Prinsloo | Web Designer

Janine Do Cabo  Sustainability & Leadership Development  |  JHB, South Africa

April 2020


It takes courage to start a business.  That, amongst other things like business acumen, tenacity, and drive, to mention a few skills and traits.  Every business man or woman takes a leap of faith when they forgo the comfort of a 9 – 5 job and endeavour to make their dream a reality. They then continue to take many more leaps no one really gets to see or even hear about because the whole thing about owning a business requires a great deal of risk and later on when done right – reward. As they toil long hours behind closed doors through late nights and early mornings silently, they do it with the ambition that one day their success will be louder than their hard work. 


According to an SBI report done in 2018, 56% of the jobs created were due to SMME’s, survivalist businesses, micro-enterprises and small enterprises.  That’s including the government.  Needless to say, with the contribution small businesses make to the unemployment rate, they deserve a round of applause.  Better yet, they deserve a proactive pat on the back for not only running the risk of forgoing the comfort a salary at a 9-5 gives but also contributing to the alleviation of a very grave unemployment problem in South Africa.  To proactively say thank you to a small business that has offered a product or service, you could support them in the 8 following ways – each of which may not even cost you a cent!

  1. Follow them on social media and comment on their posts regularly

Now we’ve all been that person…You know THAT person….The one who logs onto their FB or IG feed and sees something that was fascinating, interesting or funny, but ignored it like it didn’t change your life, even in a small way.  Instead, choosing to lurk behind a screen thinking no one would care if you did.  If you’ve appreciated a post, agreed with or even disagreed with content a small business has posted on their social media page, they’d be over the moon if you typed your thoughts out and posted it, even if it’s just an emoji.  This gives them the opportunity to see if what they doing is actually influencing the people they intend on influencing in the way they intend on influencing them.

  1. Share their post

Very similar to commenting, sharing is an inexpensive way to support small businesses. You can look at it as paying it forward because someone in your friend list may buy their product or service and thank you for it.  In turn, you’re saying thank you in a BIG way to the small business who will be able to add another loyal client to their client base – again thanks to you.

  1. Use the love reaction on FB instead of the like

The Love reaction on FB is a thumbs up o steroids that evoke a warm fuzzy feeling for the recipient.  Also, just like Google, Facebook’s artificial intelligence algorithms, read the reactions from users.  And since a Love requires more effort than a Like, making that effort, helps the business rank better in searches and feeds.  Therefore, love reactions helps their pages visibility.

  1. Tell a friend

Or family member….Just commit to telling someone when you receive good service from a business. Alternatively, when someone asks you if you could recommend a business for the same service you know that small business provides, give them the company’s details.  In fact, do one better by leaving a pleasant review.

  1. Give them moral support

As mentioned earlier, starting a business requires chutzpah or extreme self-confidence, but although in possession of it, each step to the top calls for are risks both big and small, something a business owner must face alone.  It would make things a lot easier for them if they knew they had a cheerleader in their corner, someone whom they will never want to disappoint – that’s the power of moral support.

  1. Buy from them when you can

Now I know I said it may not cost you anything to support a small business but let’s face it, sales are what brings in the dough.  You wouldn’t necessarily need to go out of your way to buy when your budget wouldn’t allow but when you see your hand sanitizer running low and you’re tempted to go to a competitor, remember the small business and give them a call!

  1. Don’t be the guy or gal that asks for freebies

We all know someone who is always trying to score a free something something…let that person not be you!  To emphasize point number 6, businesses survive when they receive money for a product or service rendered to a client.  Giving away free stuff is a colossal mistake and will do nothing but hurt their bottom line.

  1. Respect their time

So here’s something for those who think the small business owner has time to deal with the frivolous mind of an indecisive customer who isn’t really asking questions that are productive. The same 24 hours you have is the same 24 hours they do and where you’re faffing through your day, they have deadlines to meet and bills to pay – respect their time.

Good business owners have to either have or adapt to having a mind-set that gets results.  They set goals and daily aim to follow a path so that they are not only productive but also to ensure that they produce more than what they consume.  Along their journey, they share smiles with clients, fight courier companies to make sure your product arrives when they said it would, and bend over backwards to keep you loyal to them.  So why not appreciate them with a comment or refer them to a family member, and who knows, maybe one day you will be the small business owner who was grateful you paid it forward when you did.

So what are you waiting for, pay it forward and start sharing.

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