4 Ways to Support Small Businesses

According to the Small Business Administration, the United States’ 28 million small businesses create two out of every three private sector jobs in the country. But Carissa Reiniger, author of “Thank You Small Business” and the founder of the movement by the same name, says small businesses don’t get the respect they deserve.

“On a really high level, there’s no economic engine more important than small businesses,” says Reiniger, who says that tech startups get all the glory when talking about job creation today.

“Small businesses are not sexy. They’re not the ones movies are made about,” says Reiniger. As a result, she says many small business owners feel isolated and underappreciated – a sentiment that she aims to change through her movement.

Reiniger shares these four tips for people looking to support small business owners in their neighborhoods:

No. 1: Keep your eyes open.

“The number one thing is to keep your eyes open and see how many small businesses you interact with daily,” says Reiniger, who says many underestimate mom-and-pops.

“You send your dry cleaning to a small business; you eat out at a small business; you get your coffee from a small business; you take a taxi ride with a small business. All day long you are interacting with small businesses,” says Reiniger.

No. 2: Say thank you.

While Reiniger admits it may seem simple and silly, she says simply thanking small business owners and taking the time to recognize the hard work they do each day goes a long way.

No. 3: Make one different buying choice each month.

Reiniger says she’s no foe of Wal-Mart or big business, but urges people to spend more consciously at small business shops.

“If each of us made one different buying choice a month and bought from a small business owner, we would change the economy,” says Reiniger. Personally, she says she tries to buy her clothing from small businesses; for others, she suggests trying to shop for gifts at small stores.

No. 4: Listen to their stories.

“Almost everyone knows a small business owner,” says Reiniger. She says simply asking them to tell their stories and listen to how hard they work can go a long way.

She underscores how big a risk it is to open a small business today. “They take a huge risk and put themselves on the line and all of their money on the line to start something they care about,” says Reiniger.

“These are the people who get talked about the least, but it’s so significant that so many individual people have made this huge choice,” she says.