respecting small businesses and nonprofits

Small businesses should be cherished and respected in any community. They give us our small towns or “small town feel” if we live in a larger metropolitan area.

Small businesses are the ones who actually remember their customers. You come in and they often greet you by name.  Small businesses are run by your friends and neighbors a lot of the time.

It is so hard for a small business to stay in business. If they are lucky enough to own the building, it helps but it doesn’t guarantee success. There is overhead no matter what – regardless if they are dealing with a mortgage payment or a landlord.

Small businesses are not like big box stores that have giant advertising budgets.
Small businesses depend on their customers and word-of-mouth as well as now in the modern era we live in, online reviews.  

What bothers me about online reviews with websites like Yelp or even Google, is sometimes a “customer” will just create an entire falsehood to punish a small business owner. I had it happen to a friend of mine and the reason that happened is someone came in to their establishment who basically had an out-of-control child. It’s a store full of breakables and after a while my friend who is a mother several times over nicely asked the person to basically mind her child. And as a result this person went home and wrote an online review that was completely false, for spite. How dare that store owner not love junior picking up and dropping everything in the store!

Then there are the people that like to take advantage of small businesses in other ways. And often they do similar things to nonprofits. You are just supposed to love the fact that they come into your establishment or attend your event. They actually expect carte blanche. Not only do they expect to attend eat and drink at your event for free, but if you own a small business they expect goods and services for free or the small business worries about them saying something not so nice publicly, and is it just me or is it wrong?

 How can you be a human being and do that to someone else? Yet it happens all the time. I heard another tale of it today which prompted this post.  Now often you will find cases of where a small business might do a partial barter on goods and services but it’s the exception rather than the rule. 

Then there are the folks who present themselves as publicists and social media experts. They want to charge you for their expertise and placement. Only are they truly experts? If someone places your business or your nonprofit only on their website is that media placement? I don’t think so.

If you then are paying someone for your social media and that someone just puts you on their Instagram feed or their Facebook feed are they doing your social media or their social media?  As a small business or nonprofit how exactly is that building your brand in particular?

I do not have a monetized website and blog.   So if I am writing about a small business, or a product, or a restaurant, or a nonprofit event it’s because I have patronized the business, bought meals in the restaurant, purchased the goods, and bought a ticket to the event.  

Sometimes as a blogger I am invited to cover an event as a member of the media even though I do not consider myself “media”. But if I am to wander around and take pictures and write up an event, I also buy tickets to cover at a minimum my better half who is escorting me and maybe other guests.  

But that doesn’t happen very often.  Usually I am covering something I would normally wish to attend. And when I occasionally cover a nonprofit event, the nonprofit has access to any photo I take at any time, and I don’t charge them for the photos. It is like an added donation with no time limits.

The flipside of that equation is as a blogger there are a lot of people that want things from you for free. They want you to cover something or they want you to write about something only they don’t like it if you say no. But a lot of times I do say no. It’s not what they have isn’t worth discussing it’s just not of interest to me.

When I cover a nonprofit event it’s because I support the nonprofit, have a membership to said nonprofit, and normally attend events of these nonprofits and when I cover them I am paying it forward so other people can discover the nonprofits I think are wonderful.  And I get permission from the event planners ahead of time to take photos. I don’t just show up with my camera and presume they are going to want me to take pictures. 

Small business owners are your neighbors, your friends. Treat them with respect and support them. Don’t take advantage of them. Treat nonprofits with the same level of respect.  You have no idea how little nonprofits actually receive compared to what they put out in effort.

Thanks for stopping by.

1 thought on “respecting small businesses and nonprofits

  1. We have the similar experiences in Narberth at Nanygoat but this was the best. First Fridays during the summer there is music, free hamburgers and hot dogs…BUT you are asked to bring a bag of chips, cookies, lemonade or something simple. Some great customers bring potato salad, tossed salas or even a cake. Then there are those who we do not recognize …never been in the store. To one couple on their 3rd HB, I had to ask, “Have you ever been in the shop?” The answer was no. So as the (over weight) husband was going for his 2nd hot dog, I replied “There is a donation pot at he end of the table if you’ve gone over the ONE hamburger per person”. Then, they had the nerve as they were leaving to ask, “When will you be cutting the cake?” I think the look on my face gave them the answer.

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