How To Support Someone Else's Business

  • We all have friends, family members, or colleagues who are entrepreneurs and business owners. They may be selling a product or service or they may have an opportunity to offer others like direct sales reps or employers looking to hire. Others may be trying to advance a cause that they are passionate about. Many of them are sharing and promoting information via social media, email lists, events, and other methods of networking and marketing. We know we can’t buy every item, sign up for every opportunity, go to every event, or donate to every cause. So, what can we do to be supportive? 

    Try these tips: 

    • If it is something that may be beneficial to you or you don’t even know what it is, ask for more information. It might turn out to not be a good fit, but by asking for more information you now know more about it and that may be helpful at a later point. 
    • If it is something you get from someone else that you don’t know, get it from your contact instead. For example, instead of buying shakes from GNC, do you have a contact that sells a similar product? Instead of buying plastic containers from Walmart, do you have a contact that sells something comparable? Can you buy any birthday or holiday gifts from your contacts? 
    • If it’s not something you need or want, do you have a contact that may be interested? Is there someone else that you know that can help them? Word of mouth referrals and introductions are the best type a person or business can get.  
    • For your contacts in direct sales, consider hosting a party either at your home, at an outside location, or online. These parties can be a lot of fun and give you a reason to spend time with people.  
    • If your contacts are having events that you can attend – even briefly – consider attending and inviting others that may be interested. Can’t attend? Share it with others who may be a good fit. 
    • Do you receive a newsletter or emailing that you find helpful or useful? Often there is a “Forward to a Friend” link or something similar on the bottom that you can use to forward the information on to others who might also find the content helpful or useful.  
    • If you can’t donate to a cause that you would like to support, consider a doing a fundraiser or joining a fundraising team.  
    • Interact with your contacts social media posts. This is extremely helpful. Even if you can’t buy anything or attend anything, social media interaction really helps. A like is the quickest way to interact but a comment or share is much more beneficial and will get the post seen by more people. It doesn’t have to be a long comment; even something like “sounds great” or “wish I could attend” counts as a comment that will help.  

    Why should we be supportive? Aside from just being a nice thing to do, there will most likely be a time that you will also have something to promote or share and your connections that have felt supported by you will be much more likely to return the favor. Networking is about relationships and the relationships should be mutually beneficial. That means, both parties are getting something from the relationship. When each party supports the other in their endeavors, in whatever ways they are able to, that’s a successful professional relationship.  

    What other tips do you find to be supportive? Let us know!