Most small businesses are run by just a couple of people with a few staff. Even more small businesses are run by one man bands. The ones who deal with every single aspect of a business. Everything from cleaning the toilet, running to the bank for change, to being front of house and serving you with the very best of their knowledge. Nothing ever gets delegated to other people because there is nobody else.
These one man bands are responsible for submitting their accounts every year, stock taking, social media, constantly thinking of ways to get themselves out of a square box, because they want to be different and exciting.
They are the ones who answer the phone, answer emails and run facebook pages. They are the ones who build up websites for their business from scratch to keep the budget low, but sacrifice hours and hours of down time and family life to get their jobs done.
It's well known that serious small business owners constantly inject money back into the business. To buy stock, redecorate, upgrade furniture and equipment, courses and training.
How many times have you been to a huge hotel with over 200 staff and the carpets are frayed and old, wallpaper is peeling off the walls, tiles are cracked and dirty in the swimming pool, gym equipment is broken and can't be used. Rooms are old and desperately need updated. Simply because money doesn't get invested back into the business.
A small business owner isn't working day in and day out every single day to pay for a 10 bedroom beach house in Florida. Or 5 holidays to the Caribbean every year. They do it because they love what they do, they have a genuine burning desire to be doing what they are doing every single day. They do it to pay their bills and support their families.
When was the last time you actually praised a small business owner rather than complaining?
Small business owners hear more complaints than praise. Not because they are terrible at what they do. It's because we live in a world where people shout when they're not happy with something, but will whisper or say nothing at all when they absolutely loved their experience.
When was the last time you praised that small coffee shop run by a young mum whilst her kids are at school? If she made you the best cup of coffee ever, tell her. You will make her whole week.
When was the last time you went out for a meal to that small family run restaurant and told the owners that the steak was by far the best you've ever had?
When was the last time you got your hair cut and you told the hairdresser or barber, how they cut your hair so well that you were really happy?
When was the last time you went to a beauty salon and got a massage done and told the therapist that your back was literally healed after your treatment?
Moral of the story is to just be nice. If someone has impressed you, tell them. You have no idea what it will do to a small business owners confidence.
Every single business owner on frequent occasions will be so run down, so deflated and so discouraged because they have worked 80-90 hours each week for the last 6 weeks and feel like they have nothing to show for it.
Sometimes its a slow, hard slog. Sometimes they don't know how they are doing. Sometimes they are literally so close to giving up, you don't even realise just how much your praise can lift them up.
If you book a table for 4 at a small family restaurant... make sure you turn up.
If you book a hair appointment... make sure you go.
If you need supplies for something, check out your local businesses first before heading to the City. You never know who you might meet that you've not seen for a while and you never know what you could save. Shopping local does NOT mean that it will be more expensive.
The difference between you turning up to support a small business and not this week is that you could be the last straw. You could be the thing that makes someone throw the towel in on their dream because they are so deflated and tired.
Be the difference. Be the change. Rather than only ever speaking up to complain, speak up when you're impressed or really enjoyed something.
All small businesses get complaints, but remember they are probably doing EVERYTHING! They are only human and are just trying their best. But if you are happy with a small business... TELL THEM! Praise them, lift them up, motivate them and make them feel appreciated. You don't know what that can ever feel like to them.
Please shout about the good stuff too! They need to know they have your support. xx