Ok, I know this is a little self serving but as a small business myself I try to support others small businesses, entrepreneurs, makers and hobbyists as much as possible. Even if it is just sharing their info with others. Its not always cost effective to support small business when I am buying for my own company. I often turn to Amazon for bulk supplies. Why, because unless it is branded Amazon or says sold by Amazon, it is more than likely a small business on the other end. Take a look at the sold by below the product header. It is easy to look them up and see where they are based and if they are considered a small business. I know everyone is going to say, “but Brad you should buy American”. And I will, if I can find an American company that makes it. Most items are just sold by American companies.
When you are search Etsy or find a link on Pinterest, look at the about section for the business. Why, well believe it or not online “consignment” style sites aren’t always what the appear to be. In my experience it it looks mass produced it probably is. We shop on Etsy for craft type items but there are also a lot of foreign companies that create the façade of being a small American based maker. The easiest way to tell the difference is to listen to the words you are reading, if it sounds broken or improper use of words, then it is probably foreign.
Most small businesses do not advertise on Facebook. I don’t mean they don’t post, I mean they do not pay for ads. Why not? because it is a lot of risk for little return. But the do share their products with friends or on their pages. Seek those out, that my friends is where you will find the real quality crafters. A lot of folks just starting out will be very critical of their own work, they are hesitant to share items, recipes or skills because they are afraid of rejection from the bigger markets. These are the people you MUST buy from. They will be loyal sellers and will quickly earn your trust as a loyal buyer. Below is an example from a Facebook group where a fellow builder asked if she should expand from selling to friends to creating her own website.
Follow them on Instagram
When you find a business you like, follow their accounts on Instagram. When you follow them, your friends will see suggestions for them to follow. This leads to sales. It might be one of those seven degrees of Kevin Bacon situations but every lead helps. Most of these pages below are mom’s trying to earn some extra cash or even families that lost jobs during COVID. Here are just a few I follow;
Create a Partnership
If you run a small business yourself or just have hobbies that puts you face to face with the community, create a partnership with businesses who shares your values. No I dont mean make them a business partner, but do share them with your customers or friends and family. I recently had mold testing done for a commercial space. We were referred to a company they the remediation team often worked with. You can do the same for your own endeavors;
- Coach a sporting team, refer other coaches your favorite team photographer
- Just sell or buy a house, refer friends to your realtor
- Meet the new neighbors from down the street, tell them about that hole in the wall café you love
- You make wreaths for front doors and need wood signs for the middle, find a wood worker (here’s my contact info)
Support Affiliate links
Another way you can support a small business, use their affiliate links. Doesn’t cost you anything extra and if you already purchase from Amazon or other online shopping, why not look to see if someone you follow has an Affiliate Link.
Do you have a favorite YouTube channel (hopefully its My Simple Builds), support them by shopping with their links. When I was starting out to create my brand I researched a lot of channels and since I already shop on Amazon regularly I always used the links listed under the videos. Amazon is just one example and yes I use it a lot, but most households already buy from Amazon and usually on a monthly basis. Taking it a step further, I also use Amazon Smile. Smile sends money to my favorite non-profit organization for each of my purchases. It might not be a lot but between my personal account, business account and even non-profit account I have sent over $50 dollars this year of Amazon’s money.
Want to support My Simple Builds but not ready for me to make you something? Here are some affiliate links to get started.
Thinking about trying Audio books, give Audible a try for 30 days
Going back to work soon in person and need some new clothes? Check out Amazon Wardrobe
Are you running your own small business? Why not set up an Amazon Business account to get better prices.