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5 Ways to Help Small Businesses (without spending a dime)

The most obvious way to help any small business is to buy their stuff; "vote with your wallet," they say. But there are plenty of things you can do to help out for absolutely free. In fact, doing some of the following may help their business grow even more in the long run.

1) Make the most of Facebook.

Follow the small busniesses you like, and be engaged in what they post. Each time you like a post, it has a chance of showing up on your friends' news feeds; Sharing a post to your own timeline gives it an even better chance. Things you comment on also show up on friends' news feeds, so don't forget to speak up!

2) Talk about them.

Even though so much of our time is spent online, our most valuable social interactions occur in person. It really makes an impression if you recommend a business or a product to someone face-to-face... and who knows who might overhear!

3) Pin the things you like.

If you're a Pinterest user, pin the products you love to a relevant board. This helps businesses reach audiences they might never find on their own, and helps your followers find something new. You can even get a "Pin It" button add-on for your browser of choice.

4) Help them sell their products.

If you work at a small business yourself (e.g., an independent cafe or book store) consider talking to your boss about putting their products on display for a cut of the profits. This is especially nice when working with an artist- your busniess gets decorated free of charge and both parties end up making money! Back-scratching at its finest!

5) Give them back-links.

A back-link is exactly what it sounds like: a link that leads right back to their web site. If you have a blog or web site of your own, putting a link to their site anywhere on yours is hugely helpful because it makes their site show up more often on search engines. I tuck mine away here. (Note: This tip is only really important if the business runs their own web site.)

Have any other suggestions for helping out small businesses? Comment below!

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