Small family-owned shops have long been a part of a local community's economy. Since the 1970s, small businesses have made the largest contributions to the job market. Today, individuals with products or services they believe in take on entrepreneurial roles to offer them to the public. However, success is based on a number of factors, and small business owners carry all the risk of failure if the company doesn't bring in enough revenue to sustain operations and make a profit.

Small businesses shape the culture and feel of small towns and areas across the United States. Most residents of these towns and areas are happy and eager to support small businesses, but they are unaware of how to make a significant impact. There is a variety of ways to support the growth of the small business market in general.

Campaign on Kickstarter

Kickstarter is a crowdfunding platform that allows anyone to build a campaign to support goods or services. For individuals beginning a small business, the goods or services they have to offer can be expressed in a creative and engaging campaign with the ultimate goal of bringing in enough capital to jump-start the company. This allows you to contribute to the start-up and growth of one or multiple small businesses, even if you do not live in the area where the business will operate or cannot patronize the business in person.

Shop Local

Identify the small businesses in the town or area where you live. Take a day to explore your community. In many cases, you can take this trip on foot and save on gas. For larger areas, find maps or guidebooks that point out locally owned places to eat, shop and find entertainment.

After identifying small businesses in the area, make it your goal to shop at some or all of these businesses as part of your regular day-to-day routine. Small businesses generally can’t match the lower prices you find at the large chain retail stores. If you have a small budget, this can pose the greatest deterrent to supporting local businesses through direct and regular patronage. However, there are ways to work around steeper prices. Set aside a portion of your monthly income for patronizing the locally owned stores and family-owned restaurants in your area. Make it a point to buy local.

Big-box stores generally have cheaper mass-produced wares, but the costs of services are about the same between large businesses and small businesses in most cases – and the locally owned option may be cheaper. For example, it usually costs less to have a vehicle serviced at a local auto shop compared to what a large chain or car dealership can offer.

Another option is to shop locally during the holidays. Many patrons find more personal and unique options to give as gifts at small businesses, and sales during gift-giving seasons help ease the burden of steeper pricing.

Free Advertising

Advertising is key to building any business. Many small businesses can’t afford the advertising costs that most chain stores shell out. In many instances, a small business must rely on foot traffic and word-of-mouth to spread its name. Become an advocate for the small businesses you want to support. Tell other people in your area about a small business, and praise it on your social media accounts. Show off your purchases, and direct your friends and family to the small business where you bought the items. Indicate that a gift item you want can only be purchased at a certain local shop. In reality, the number of people who walk into a small business helps determine whether it thrives or fails, and by promoting it via word-of-mouth marketing, you can boost its chances.

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