17 Practical Ways To Support Your Friend’s Small Business

When you have a friend who’s started a small business, how can you help them? Running a business is seriously difficult to do (and if you run a business, you’ll know what that feels like). How can you support your friends small business? What can you do that will have a meaningful impact?

As you can tell, there are many ways to support your friend. Here’s a collection of ideas for you, broken down into 3 sections:

  • Supporting your friend’s business without spending money
  • Supporting your friend’s business with spending some money
  • What you shouldn’t do (as it’s unhelpful)

Supporting your friends business – what you can do without spending money


A1. Like/Follow their Facebook Page and/or Follow their Instagram Profile

If you feel that you are a customer for your friend’s business, then liking their Facebook page or following them on Instagram can really help with their paid marketing. If they pay for advertising through Instagram or Facebook, your Like/Follow can help the advertising algorithms to find more customers and people like you.


A2. Follow them on Tiktok

This is a really easy way to support your friend’s small business as your ‘follow’ helps the algorithms to pick their videos to show them to more people on the ‘For You’ page. Watching and liking your friends videos on Tiktok helps this even more. The more views that your friend gets for their videos, the more that word will get out about their business and products (or services).


A3. Connect with or Follow them on LinkedIn

Particularly if your friend is has a B2B business, connecting with them will help their posts get seen by your contacts. If you like and comment on their posts too, this helps your connections to boost what they see.


A4. Share their social media posts

A great way to support a small business is to share their posts on your social media accounts. You’ll need to make sure that you don’t do this too often, as your friends will dislike seeing the constant flow of reposts. However, reposting when a business has competitions and job opportunities can be very helpful.


A5. Engage with them on social media posts

I’ve somewhat mentioned this in the other ideas above, but it’s worth mentioning again. Chucking them a like on their post, or words of encouragement by way of a comment, or asking a question (so that they can answer it with another comment) can really help increase the reach of a social media post. It takes the smallest bit of effort but is one of the surprisingly effective ways to make a difference.


A6. Find and introduce potential customers to them

One of the best ways to support small businesses (or any business) is to help them to find new customers by sending them referrals. Customers are the lifeblood of a business, and the majority of small businesses need more customers. You can work out who would be a great fit for your friend and their business by telling your friends, your family, your colleagues, and any business contacts that you have. You can go the extra mile by working out which of your contacts are a particularly good fit for your friend, as this makes a sale really easy.


A7. Give them honest feedback

When you run a business, it feels very lonely. It’s hard to make decisions without feedback and ideas, even more so if you’re trying to create unique products and services. You can help by offering them honest feedback, making it as constructive as possible. It’s usually easy to complain and spot problems, yet suggesting ideas and improvements are more useful.

Make sure you ask if they want feedback first, because if your friend is lacking some confidence, suggesting ideas or being critical will be hard for them to hear. They’ll need to be in the right headspace to hear your feedback.


A8. Introduce them to useful contacts

As their business grows, you may know someone who would be a useful resource or contact for your friend. These might be accountants, consultants, lawyers, property agents, suppliers and more. They might not always know that these contacts exist, therefore you can simply ask your friend if they’d appreciate an introduction.


A9. Be a model for their photos or feature in case studies

With a product, your friend might need a model. Do you mind being a model so that you can be photographed? Do you have a family member who’d be happy to be a model? For a service, could your friend do a case study on you? Photos, case studies and videos are really useful assets in a business and you can help your friend by being in them!


A10. Attend their events

When one of your friend has an event or exhibits at an event, you can support them by seeing them at their event. They are likely to feel nervous and a friendly face will go a long way to give them a confidence boost.


Supporting your friends business – what you can do with spending money


B1. Leave an online review

Honest and genuine reviews can seriously help a business, particularly on platforms such as eBay, Etsy, Amazon, Google and Trustpilot. If you’re a bonafide customer you can write a review, spreading the word about all of the things that you love about their product or service. As you’d expect, this helps build trust with new prospective customers for them.


B2. Buy their product and give it to YOUR customers

If you run a business, and your friend has a suitable product, you can buy your friend’s product to gift to your clients. It helps your friend by giving them more sales, but also helps to spread the word about their product. Additionally, it’s likely that some your clients will post on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn (or another platform) sharing a photo and publically saying ‘thank you’. This gives you an opportunity to tag your friend by replying to that social media mention.


B3. Take a photo of their product, and post on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn etc.

You could always take a photo of you enjoying your friends product (or service) and post it on to your social media pages. Your friend will definitely find this helpful and will put a smile on their face. It also gives them something to respond to on social media, giving them even more exposure. It will only take a few minutes but has a strong positive effect on your friend. Even if the post doesn’t generate a sale for them, it’ll give your friend a boost.


B4. Record a video of their product, and post on Instagram, Facebook, Tiktok, etc

Going even further, you could record a video of your friends product or service and post that to your social media pages. Videos carry more weight and trust than a photo, helping boost the attention that your friend’s business receives.


What you shouldn’t do to support your friends business


C1. Don’t ask for discounts

Whilst I’m sure you mean well, asking for a discount actually hurts your friend’s business because it reduces how much profit they have. Profit is essential for investing in new stock, new equipment, new marketing, or even making it easier for your friend to work less. By asking for a discount, you’re taking up their time and resources which could otherwise be spent on sales that make more profit for them. This is what’s called ‘opportunity cost’. It costs them opportunities by doing or selling something with a lower profit.


C2. Don’t share anything they tell you confidentially

Hopefully you’d think that this is obvious, but don’t share anything that your friend tells you confidentially, either about themselves or the business itself. Without realising, you could end up accidentally sabotaging sales or opportunities for them. A well-meaning friend once cost me a sale because they


C3. Don’t write a fake review for them (* but genuine reviews are good!)

Reviews really matter and can help build trust with new customers, which is why reviews matter in a very big way. Whilst you might be tempted to create some fake reviews for your friend, they can actually hurt them more, as there’s an increasing crackdown on fake reviews.