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You’re scrambling to find last-minute gifts, you’re picking up your aunt at the airport, the cousins are running around the house, the turkey is finally making it to the oven, and the stockings are waiting to be hung by the chimney with care — sound familiar? While the holiday season is meant to be a celebratory time to reconnect with family and friends, more realistically, this time of year can quickly become stressful and spent ticking through an overwhelming list of to-dos.
No one better understands the stressors that can come with the holidays than small business owners. On top of their personal obligations, entrepreneurs face operational business struggles that can start to make the holidays feel less than festive. They often work longer hours to compensate for employees’ holiday PTO, struggle to source inventory from strained suppliers and feel pressure from their big-box competitors to offer seasonal sales.
While we’re all experiencing the chaos, I’d encourage you to go out of your way to support small businesses this holiday season. We know it’s important to show love to local businesses in small ways all year round. Whether you skip the produce aisle at the grocery store to frequent a farmer’s market instead, order takeout from your favorite spot down the road as a weekly routine, or even just sign up for a business’s newsletter to stay in the loop on happenings throughout the year, the busy times are when we should go above and beyond to show up for small businesses.
As you continue to check off your to-do list and shop for the holidays, here are some tips to support small businesses this season:
1. Leave a (positive) review
There’s no better time to show your gratitude than the holiday season, so why not share your appreciation for a small business you’ve frequented this year? It could feel like an inconvenience to take the time to sit down and write a review, but it really makes a difference to the business owner.
Now is a great time to boost their ratings too, as new shoppers are likely browsing and reading reviews to pick the best gifts for their loved ones. Whether you’ve made a recent holiday purchase at the establishment or just took time to reflect on your year of spending and noted their standout performance, leave a review for the business to encourage others to shop there.
2. Shop locally
Shopping at local businesses has a multitude of benefits. Shopping locally and avoiding shipping costs can help reduce your holiday spending and your carbon footprint. You’re also helping stimulate your local economy and create jobs. If you’re not sure where to look, you can easily find some women-owned small businesses using the Bank of America Marketplace by Seneca Women. The Marketplace is an online resource that features a wide range of businesses searchable by category and geography, so you can find businesses that are close to home. If you find there aren’t many options near where you live, finding a small business in your region with an online storefront is a great alternative.
3. Buy a gift card
Purchasing a gift card for a small business is a great way to support and help them keep their momentum following the holiday season. Sales will likely drop off once the holiday buzz wears down, but if you buy a gift card, you’re helping drive traffic to their business when they need it. Plus, if you’ve waited too long to buy presents, this is the perfect last-minute gift.
4. Tell your friends
One of the most important sales drivers for small business owners is word-of-mouth marketing. If you’ve recently shopped at a small business you loved, tell your friends and family! If you want to show off new purchases you love, tag the business on social media. To boost their social media presence even further, consider resharing their posts and interacting with their content. There are numerous things you can do to spread the word about the small businesses you love to help people in your community find great places to shop.
No matter how you are spending the holidays, I hope you can find the time to shop at small businesses this year. Not only can you find the perfect gifts to make your loved ones feel extra special, but you’ll also feel great about providing a boost to the local businesses in your community.
This article is from Entrepreneur.com