Something as small as engaging with or sharing their social media posts can make a big difference.

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As you may already know, small businesses are the backbone of the national economy, and they're also the greatest representation of the American Dream. We even have a day dedicated to supporting small local businesses, dubbed Small Business Saturday, which falls on the Saturday immediately following Thanksgiving. And while it's wonderful to support family-owned businesses on this day, they need your support all year long. Whether you're frequenting your favorite mom-and-pop eatery or supporting new artisans and vendors when traveling, shopping small whenever possible is so important.

Buying items from small business wearing masks
Credit: RgStudio / Getty Images

As reported on Oberlo, as of 2020, 31.7 million small businesses were accounted for in the United States. Many of these small businesses are also considered seasonal businesses, which simply means they make a majority of their revenue during a certain time of year. Think of a Christmas tree farm, lawn care service, downtown food truck, or artisans who rely on summer tourists: While we may only think to patronize these types of establishments during certain months, there are ways to support seasonal small businesses throughout the year.

Jon Lincoln, the founder of goimagine.com, a charitable online marketplace for small businesses, gave insight on how anyone can support their favorite seasonal business. "Think ahead," says Lincoln. "Many small businesses, especially those that offer handmade and artisan goods, have longer lead times to make their items. To get a quality handmade product can take time."

Commission a Project

While major retailers have conditioned people to expect items in a day's turnaround, Lincoln says that when you order something handcrafted it can take longer. While these items are certainly worth the wait, it's important to think ahead and buy (or pre-order) something special from a small business in advance of when you anticipate you'll need it.

One of the joys of supporting small entrepreneurs is that they're providing a unique service or item. Consider gifting your favorite seasonal businesses' goods or services as gifts throughout the year. "There's no doubt when you are buying cereal or toilet paper that it's hard to shop small," says Lincoln. "The manufacturers of those products are big and the best prices are on the big websites. That's not the case when buying gifts. When looking to buy a special gift for someone for a birthday or holiday, you will find more unique and sentimental items from small businesses."

Spread the Word

Aside from gifting small and planning ahead, another simple way to support seasonal services is by telling others about it. "When you come across a small business you like, don't keep it a secret. Tell others and share on social media," says Lincoln. "Small businesses don't have the same marketing budget large companies have." Another great option? Engage with (and share!) their social media profiles and posts. A "like" might not seem like a lot, but it could help them get noticed by your online community. Positive online reviews are also extremely important, and they cost nothing more than a few minutes of your time to leave one.

Shop Their Online Sites

When it comes to shopping small, many have the misconception that this can only be done so in person. However, this is 2021, small businesses are social and online. Shopping their distinctive services online can sustain their business all year long. "Shopping online is just like shopping in your own town," says Lincoln. "You can drive to Walmart or you can shop at the small shops in your town center. When you shop online, take the moment to search and see what else is out there before you go to the big retailer. They are there... you just need to look."

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