I thought I would finish 2017 with a bit of a personal and passionate blog about something I truly believe in.
I know there is technically another Thursday before the end of the year but I am not going to blog next week…I plan to spend the time with my family, playing games with my kids and eating all the leftovers!!!
2017 has been such an amazing year for me. When I launched my editorial business in January, I was hoping that I would have a few clients who would keep me busy during the few hours my son was at playschool. I thought I would do a bit of proofreading, a bit of writing and perhaps help the odd friend or two. Instead I have been immersed in several new worlds, including the wonderful supportive network of fellow small business owners; the world of women in business through networking groups, such as Overton’s Local Women in Business and Hampshire Women’s Business group and the world of being self-employed and the joy and ‘juggling’ that brings. Through working with the Overton Business Association and local shops, I also now better understand the trials and rewards of running small, independent businesses.
And the best bit? I love knowing that by helping these businesses, just in one small way, lifts a huge weight off of a person’s shoulders and importantly let’s them focus a bit more time on what they wanted to do in the first place – their passion – whatever it may be.
In this blog, I not only want to say thank you to many of my clients and to all of the support I have received from several sources this year. I also wanted to highlight to readers the way you can also support small businesses in 2018.
Small business reality
Genuinely, when you buy a product from or use the services of a small business you bring actual happiness to the owner. People who run their own independent business often care so deeply that what you are paying for is not just what you purchase. You are vindicating their purpose, their being and their passion. They don’t have big budgets to spend on marketing or branding. They don’t have loads of staff to support them in all areas of business. For most, one person has to be the social media manager, finance director, stock controller and admin support all rolled in to one!
It is probably getting a little bit late for Christmas shopping suggestions, but if you need any last-minute gifts, check out Facebook, your local business directories or local Christmas markets and see what’s on offer locally. There are so many amazing crafters and producers making beautiful gifts and offering extraordinary presents, or even a gift voucher. I have worked closely with Natasha Poffley from the English Charm Company on her blog and website and I just didn’t realised how many amazing and unique charms, jewellery items and keepsakes she can create. All handcrafted and made in the Britain – completely bespoke and you will get an excellent, personal service. This is the difference when you buy from a small business.
So many small businesses are also simply there to try to make your life a little bit easier. This year I have met Helen Cousins, from Fresh Spaces, who is a professional declutter and organiser! I didn’t even know these people existed, but she has taught me so much through her Facebook posts and amazing ‘Declutter challenge’ month. Jemma Giles is another person who has inspired me this year. I work with her on her newsletter and she offers a really personal approach to the massage therapies she offers. It is all about your needs and what would suit you best. The client always comes first.
How to support small businesses
I know budgets are always tight at this time of year and buying locally or from small, independent business can seem a little more expensive on the surface, but don’t forget the quality, care and time that will have gone into the production of these items.
However much you try, I understand you can’t buy from all local businesses or have a need to, but what you can do (perhaps it can be your new year’s resolution!) is to support them in other ways…without spending a penny:
- Recommend them to friends and family when relevant.
- Like and follow their page on Facebook, Instagram or other social media platforms.
- Invite friends who may also like their products or find their services useful
- Comment on or at least like/love/react to their posts – this really helps with reach and you never know who you may be covertly recommending them to by doing this.
- Leave a review – hopefully a 5* positive one, but of course, be honest.
- Share their events.
- Subscribe to their newsletter, if they have one.
- Link to their website or social media pages in discussions or blog comments, where relevant. For example, if someone if asking for a recommendation. This is called a ‘back link’ and really helps with SEO which in turn helps their website shoot up the rankings in a search engine results page.
I have tried to mention a few clients here, but there are so many more to thank. I wrote a list of all the types of small businesses I have helped this year, it included: children’s entertainment, hairdressers, wedding planners, a campsite, a pre-school, as well as two lovely authors. I have been so proud to work with them all and can’t wait to meet more new people in 2018. I want to keep making the lives of small business owners a little bit easier and help them to present the very best version of themselves through their written content. It is so exciting!
Here’s to 2018 and don’t forget…buy local…support local….and have a wonderful Christmas.