How to support your friend’s business when you don’t have money

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Repeat after me: Her success is my success.

By now you know that I’m all about bargain hunting. I always say a closed mouth doesn’t get fed. Thats why whenever I go to the grocery store I’m never shy about asking if there are coupons, loyalty programs or sales. It’s one of my go to ways to keep more money in my pocket and pay off student loan debt at warp speed. While I encourage you to never be shy about asking for a discount with class and within reason, there is one time when asking for discounts and freebies is NEVER acceptable.

How to support a friend's business when you don't have money
Friends don’t ask friends for discounts. Learn how to support your friend’s business even when you don’t have money to spare.

Never, ever, ever go asking for discounts, freebies and sales when it’s a small business owned by a friend. If you’ve ever raised money for a charity, rallied support for votes or even started a business you know getting people to invest and support your endeavor is hard. It seems as though people are always putting money towards the celebrities they love but never willing to show support to the friends they love. (I’m talking to all you people who rushed out to buy Fenty beauty but took your time supporting your bridesmaid’s new endeavor)

To be fair, I know it’s not always possible to support your friend’s business financially. I’ve been there before. You’ve got bills piling up, a copay to cover and to top it off your car just got a flat. You’d like to show your friend support but you just can’t seem to swing it financially this month, or next month or the next month. Fortunately, shelling out some cash is not the only way to show your friend you want her to succeed. Whenever a friend of mine vows to make a new business dream come true when I don’t have room in the budget I do all or some of the gestures below. They’re usually very receptive to it. Of course, I do always make a silent vow to support them by purchasing what they are selling when I can.

  1. Offer feedback

If you can think of a minor tweak enhancement or even a promotion, let your friend know. Sometimes when you are up to your shoulders in the same things everyday, it’s hard to see what needs fixing. Sometimes that outside perspective (aka yours) is all that’s needed.

2. Tell them whats working

The same concept for offering feedback also applies to telling them what’s working in the business. Running a business is sometimes like losing weight. You can change your diet and workout everyday and still not see the progress because you get used to looking at yourself daily. That friend from the outside looking in is the perfect person to point out the progress that’s been made.

3. Write a review

Depending on what the product is, you might not actually need to have money to purchase what ever your friend is selling to review, but do know it goes a long away. If you don’t have money to pay for the item you could always ask if you could try it out for free with promise of a review. But please don’t be that friend who’s only trying to score free stuff. That’s just an insult to that person’s talent. Ask only if you genuinely care about helping.

4. Listen

Being a business owner can sometimes be a very lonely endeavor. There are times you spend hours locked in the office crunching numbers, researching marketing plans etc. with no one to bounce ideas off of. It’s possible he/she feels alone and that no one will understand the struggles. Offer to be that person to listen when they feel hopeless, when they are confused, or just need someone to brainstorm with.

5. Recommend to friends

You may live in an apartment and have no need for a roofer, but that doesn’t mean you don’t know someone who does. Recommend your friend’s businesses to others who may need it. It costs nothing but goes a long way. Referrals are a business person’s best friend.

6. Follow the trends

Keeping up with what’s hot in a particular industry is a whole job in itself. It’s often a job a new business owner has no time to keep track of. If you happen to know something that’s on the cutting edge pass the info along to your friend. If you want to really be a stellar friend, set your google account to send you alerts for new trends in the industry your friend is involved in.

7. Nominate them for contests

It’s never easy asking people to vote for your business or nominate you for things. Cut that awkwardness out and just do it for your friend automatically. If nothing else, she’ll be flattered you thought to do it on your own.

8. Suggest  something to read

Whether it’s a blog, newspaper or book, business owners are always reading something to improve their skills. (I know I am) If you happen to read or hear of literature you find intriguing pass it on to your business owning friend.

9. Accompany them to events

Have you ever been a wingman for a friend when trying to find a date? You can do the same thing when attending galas, networking events, award shows. It’s not always easy talking about yourself or getting up the courage to speak with potential collaborators. Be that person by your friend’s side to give them the push they need and remind them of how awesome they are. (Obviously, you can’t do this during a pandemic.)

10. Write about them

Whether you have a blog, Facebook page, Linkedin or connections with the editor at your local paper take whatever medium you have and write about them. Your friend’s business could probably use the attention.

11. Click on their links

If you’re a blogger you know how important it is to have as many people as possible clicking on the ad links and liking companies you suggest on Facebook. Whether or not your friend has a blog, those things may be important to them too. It always looks better to potential publishers, advertisers and collaborators to have a lot of conversions from your website.

12. Shop from their site

Speaking of clicking on their links, do what you can to shop and sign up for business directed from their website. I know this post is how to support a friend’s business when you don’t have money but hear me out. Maybe you don’t have money to spend on your friend’s t-shirt at the moment, but you do need to buy shoes for your daughter or holiday cards. If you recall your friend having a link to Zazzle mentioning business cards, it’s possible it was an affiliate link and she’d earn a profit should you follow that link to the purchasing site. Or maybe you’ve finally been convinced to sign up for a cash back app. Rather than visiting the site for it manually, make sure you follow the link from your friend’s website so she gets the credit for your enrollment.

11. Encourage them

I don’t care how much money you throw at a business or how much you tweet about it. Nothing helps a business owner more than encouragement. While entrepreneurs may seem like the most courageous people on the planet, they are most likely scared silly. If they’re anything like me they probably question themselves daily. Their minds go a mile a minute thinking, “Am I  crazy for quitting my job to do this?” “What if I can’t make it work?”  “Can I really support my family with this?” That list goes on and on. No matter how scared they are, there’s always hope. That’s where you come in. It’s your job to remind them why they started this business, why they have what it takes, and why they are inspirations to others. Though it costs nothing, it might just be the most valuable thing you can give a friend because your words may be all they need to keep on going.

12. Follow them on social media

If they have a Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Linkedin account or more follow them! It may be fun to others, but social media for a business is a lot of work! Make sure you like their profiles, comment on posts and share. The more visibility and likes, the better!


How do you  support your friend’s business endeavors?

TERRIfic Words: Let your tribe inspire you.

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  1. These are great tips. I would never think of asking of for handouts when I have seen the struggle of starting the business up close and personal..but all of these examples are great ways of showing non-financial support.

  2. Yes Honey!! Definitely nominate your friends for awards, it’s great appreciated and others can learn more about their biz and products/services. Did this for a friend she won the award!

  3. This is right on time for the holiday season. So many times we think the only thing we can do to support a friend is to buy something. You’ve listed some great options. I need to share with is with my own friends.

  4. This is great advice. I always tell people you always support your friends by recommendation at least. Even on social prop them up. Tell your Facebook friends how awesome their brand is it all about word of mouth and positive energy.

  5. These are great! Its so sad that people wont support the blog. Reading and sharing goes along way. I shared a blog post fro a different reader and it was shared and like, I write a article incorporating my thoughts and some advice and nobody even liked or commenting. I’m thinking I should use a fake alias and maybe they will read. lol #smh

  6. I’m all about supporting my family and friends endeavors even if it’s not something I’m in the market for. If I’m not purchasing I’ll definitely spread the word and let others know about their products or service.

  7. EXCELLENT! So important. I think so many believe the only thing we small business owners want is for them to buy, but there are so many ways they can help us without spending a cent. Great ideas!!!

  8. Being An Entrepreneur Myself, I always tend to motivate people towards entrepreneurship. I was the owner of a company which worked in IT field and had a large team of almost 20 people. Unfortunately the venture badly failed due to lack of technical co-founder, but anyways that is a whole in all a different story.

    Coming back to the point, I always tried my best to motivate people towards entrepreneurship, be it my current, past or prospective employees.

    During my talks with different people with different mindset, most people only had one problem. Funds & Finances!

    They always use to tell me that they have several ideas which can do wonders but they don’t have funds to invest or take it ahead and I always use to tell them, you don’t need funds to start a business, you only need an idea.

    You only need passion to pursue your dreams. You only need out of the box thinking and logics to start your business.

  9. Yes even when I don’t have money to buy I support my friends in business by sharing their products or services on social media and by recommending them to people I know who might need their services.

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