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5 Ways to Help Small Businesses That Don’t Cost Money

Updated: May 13

Back when I was doing my paper route, word of mouth meant my neighbors talked to each other about how the paper was folded, how close it landed to the door, or whether I was timely, courteous, and reliable. Today, word of mouth has morphed into a mixture of engagement, reviews, and a splash of old school referrals. It continues to be a critical way to help out a small to mid-size business (SMB).

Astronaut walking, waving, and holding like, share, review, and comment balloons


Here are five ways you can offer support to a deserving SMB without reaching for your credit card or tapping your phone.


1.      Connect on social media. Social media opened up a whole new way for our businesses to find customers and visa versa. It provides another avenue for customers and businesses to connect on a more day-to-day level. And it's a way to reach a lot of people without a huge hit to the budget. However, it only works if people connect and participate.

2.     Exercise the power of engagement. Engaged followers are better than a large number of followers. In one study, over 60% of social media content in a 30 day period showed no likes, shares, or comments. Corporations have large marketing budgets to pay-to-play. Small businesses, like CEG, are up against algorithms, so every like, share, and comment helps to spread the word. Next time you see a SMB that you support go through your feed, drop a quick comment, even if it’s an emoji. Comments are the most important form of engagement. And engagement is what matters.

3.     Understand how reviews work. Online reviews are critical for small businesses. Writing a positive review –– a five star review –– can attract the new customers needed to keep a small business going. One to four stars is a varied version of “I wouldn’t recommend.” If the experience was good –– not necessarily perfect –– give five stars. This applies to all industries including ride shares, retail, hospitality, and more.

CEG astronaut vehicle with message on the side to support small businesses

4.    Now that you know, do. Online reviews take word of mouth to another level! Their reach can be vast and impact decisions of people you don’t know. Keep reviews specific, useful, and friendly, but don’t give out personal information. Talk about the range of services, your own experience, and/or highlight what makes the business exceptional. It’s very easy to copy and paste a review across platforms to support a business you value. Google reviews play a big part in how a business ranks in local search engine results. Sharing what you appreciate, really helps SMBs get a chance. I have found that writing positive reviews is a great way to combat negativity in the world. 🙂

5.     Look for opportunities to share. Check in on social media sites when you visit a SMB. Take a selfie and post with a shout out for that business. When customers generate content for a small business, it makes a huge difference. It really matters. When talking face to face, I use my phone to organize and instantly text/drop contact information (v-cards) when I’m referring people in my network.



It’s easy to help small businesses without costing a penny. Your intentional support on social media, through engagement, reviews, and referrals, can make a big difference for CEG and other SMBs. When you approach it with a little creativity and sense of fun, it’s contagious –– in the good kind of way.  


At CEG, we’re here to help! Email our team at or call 612-788-1552 if you have any questions. You can find me at 612-428-3333 or

Jeff smiles on blog day!

Jeff Salzbrun is the owner/broker of Commercial Equities Group (CEG). As a veteran-owned real estate brokerage, CEG has been involved in thousands of sale and lease transactions, ranging from single offices to 250,000+ square foot buildings. At CEG, we get your deal done. We know space, and we know the CRE business.


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