Small businesses in the U.S. make up almost 42% of the private workforce and are a crucial component to both our local and national economy, according to the Small Business Administration. It is no surprise that many small businesses were heavily impacted by COVID-19. Here at HAYVN, small businesses are the heart of our community.
If you’re an entrepreneur or business owner, then you know just how difficult these uncertain times are for the small business community—not to mention, how vital it is to help each other out.
The benefit of working at a coworking space like HAYVN is that we have had a chance to see many businesses flourish during hard times with the support of our local community.
“I feel very supported and lifted up by the team and community at Hayvn!” shares HAYVN private office member Carrie Skowronski of Leadology.
Whether it is for business advice, supporting each other through social media or purchasing a product or simply asking “Hey, how are you?” while getting coffee in the kitchen, the strength of community and camaraderie has helped all of us forge ahead together.
Here are our tips on how you can help support a small business and real life examples of this support in motion here at HAYVN.
Spreading The Word
Giving a shout out on social media is one of the most powerful things you can do to help a small business, and it is free!
Each and every one of us has the power of influence in our personal and professional network. By leveraging social media and business pages to post and spread the word about a small business you want to support, you can instantly help that business get in front of new eyes (and potential customers/clients!) . Your word-of-mouth referral of following, liking and commenting on a local business’s social media posts or business page is another great way to show your support.
“The power of a social media shoutout is priceless,” shares Britton Chaves, HAYVN’s Social Media Manager. “It doesn’t matter how many followers you have, if you share your experience with a brand or company on your social channels, it is word-of-mouth marketing which can be the most impactful for small businesses!”
Google and Yelp are Powerful Allies
Want to take it a step further? Leave a review on Google or Yelp or the company’s website for the business, product or service. According to this Rocket Digital blog post, “88% of consumers consult reviews before making a purchase, and yet another study indicated that 63% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase from a site that has customer reviews.”
Take action: We challenge you to share a post from a small business’ Instagram account to your Instagram Stories. Make sure to include why you love them! Next, leave a Google review for them after your next interaction with the company (or next purchase!).
One thing we have learned as a small business ourselves, is that growth happens by making connections. Since opening HAYVN in 2019, it is these hundreds of connections that have helped HAYVN thrive. We heard so many stories of connection from our HAYVN members that we started to call these moments, the HAYVN Magic.
Here are two HAYVN Magic stories shared from our community:
“I was in a store in Darien buying a baby gift at Wiggles and Giggles and the owner knows Felicia and HAYVN. When COVID first hit and everywhere shut down, the store owner was a little distraught. She said that there were two particular HAYVN HALFTIMEs she tuned into that were total lifesavers and helped her navigate through the early days of COVID lockdown. One with Christine Sullivan helped her learn how to get PPP and also there was a Meditation halftime shortly after that that really helped her,” shares HAYVN’s community outreach manager Teresa Jandziol.
“So many members have helped us out with networking and meeting people in CT. Felicia, obviously, is one of the biggest connectors and she has been truly amazing. But others too, like Galia Gichon who have linked us to the Connecticut Innovations and Tidal River crew have become important allies for GoodSam.” shares Heather Terry of GoodSam Foods.
Not only can connections help build community, they can also be beneficial for your business.
“Instead of viewing other small businesses in your area as competition, try reaching out to form relationships with them that can be mutually beneficial to your businesses.” shares SCORE, a mentorship program for small businesses. You never know what someone else can offer you in the way of insight, their services or a unique outlook on a problem you are struggling with.
Take action: Partner up. Here are some ideas for collaborating with another local business in your network: Co-host a social media giveaway where the requirements to enter are following both companies on your social channels, or signing up for an e-newsletter so you can grow your list. Host a webinar or in-person event together. Co-sponsor an event.
Change Your Mindset
Showing support can be as simple as changing the way you think and act in your everyday life, starting with your purchases. From where you buy your produce to where you shop for holiday gifts, thinking of a small business for your every day and holiday purchases is a great place to start. If you are a business owner yourself, you can look for ways to incorporate other small businesses into your list of vendors and suppliers.
As a member of a coworking space like HAYVN, it is easy to make connections with people who can help you grow your business. It can even be as easy as making a connection with the person you sit next to!
“Beth Dempsey very generously referred me and my company to the business leaders in her WPO group (Women Presidents Organization). Beth sits right outside my door and she could probably facilitate all my workshops for me at this point. These female entrepreneurs run multi-million dollar companies and have employees who are perfect candidates for Leadology’s Activate program. One of the women in her network reached out to me and we just graduated nine Directors from her organization from Activate and now they are better equipped to motivate their teams, drive results, and be influential communicators in their organization.” shares Carrie.
And if connections aren’t happening as easily as you would like, as a HAYVN member you have access to events that can lead to making these connections! We offer a monthly members breakfast where we always start with an icebreaker and introductions to make the conversation flow. You can book time with a HAYVN Maven to get help with a specific need or problem. Or check out one of our upcoming networking happy hours, book clubs, open house or morning meditation and walk events where the opportunities to make connections are endless.
The connections you make at a coworking space can even lead to a business referral. “Nancy Sheed (HAYVN Member) invited me to lead a book club discussion about Dare to Lead, which is the Brené Brown program that I am certified to teach. One of the book club attendees joined our open enrollment session last spring.” shares Carrie.
One last simple way to show your support? Simply ask questions! Next time you meet a small business owner, ask them what they need and where you can help. These past few years have been tough for small businesses and consumers both, so a little kindness and compassion can make a real difference.
Do you need support in making these connections? HAYVN’s weekly member-exclusive events are the perfect way to get to know your fellow coworking coworkers, get to know them personally and professionally and build those relationships that could potentially help you in the future.
“I think the nature of HAYVN and its collaborative environment has been a tremendous support to me and my business. I’ve utilized the Tuesday morning meditation walks to bounce ideas off of various members. The open environment allows for networking and impromptu conversations. In my corner, Carrie Skowronski and Heather Terry have been wonderful to listen to, share and even be cheerleaders.” shares HAYVN Member Beth Dempsey of Images & Details.
Whether it’s a purchase, a shout-out on social media, signing up for a newsletter, forging a partnership or asking “how can I help” don’t underestimate the value of your support. And to make it even easier, we’re sharing exactly how you can support our HAYVN members who are small business owners.
Carrie Skowronski of Leadology:
- “Introduce me to their network if they are in need of manager development programs by emailing email@example.com.” shares Carrie.
- Go to getleadology.com and and sign up for our weekly newsletter (where we add the most free value every week) and forward it to every leader/manager in their network.
- Follow, like, share on Instagram.
Heather Terry of GoodSam Foods:
- “Leave reviews and order products on Thrive Market, goodsamfoods.com and Amazon! The holidays are coming and we’ve got you covered with everything from chocolate stocking stuffers to your morning coffee. The best way to support a products business is to buy products!” shares Heather.
- Head to GoodSamFoods.com to check out Heather’s company.
- Follow GoodSamFoods on Instagram, LinkedIn
Founded in 2018, HAYVN is a flexible workspace for enterprising women (and men) to connect, create and grow. Along with a vibrant & engaged coworking community of entrepreneurs and business professionals, HAYVN is a business HUB, offering short- and long-term office space leases, meeting rooms rentals, and events to support local businesses. HAYVN is proud to be a Certified B Corporation™ and a CTNext partner. We believe in using the power of business to build a more inclusive and sustainable economy and have met the highest verified standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability. HAYVN’s workshops and signature programs encourage women of all colors and ages and acts as an incubator for developing skills and pursuing funding. Visit our beautiful safe ‘HAYVN’ in Fairfield County, CT at 320 Boston Post Road, Darien, CT, 06820.