The Holiday season approaching and this is one of the best time to make Buying Black into a habit. However, we must remember that this time is one of great stress to everyone, especially small business owners. Many of them also have families to deal with, personal obligations, and even other jobs to deal with while trying to build their own companies. Before we get into the big holiday rush, let’s take time to go over some of the ways we can be more supportive of Black Businesses during this Holiday Season.
We may want to wait for a sale or deal but you have to consider that many small business owners are crunched for time and space. That item you want might not be there if you try and wait until later to pull the trigger. Also, given the issues that we have seen recently from the postal service, you can’t count on your items being delivered in the same manner as we are used to. Couple that with the increased holiday volume then you would want to make sure your critical orders get to you with plenty of time to spare. This also gives business owners the opportunity to correct mistakes that can happen. Be proactive.
We get how hectic life can be but now is the time to plan. Think about what kind of gifts you may be exchanging and who is on your list. Write down some ideas and start searching. This allows you to avoid a last minute rush and you have the time to check and adjust your budget. it also leads to the next suggestion.
Bundle Your Items
Now that you have planned ahead, you can see which businesses offer more than one item or idea for a person on your list. You also have the chance to go and talk to other friends and family members about some of your ideas. Share the businesses you plan to order from and discuss combining orders to save on shipping. This is good for you and the business owners. Business owners hate paying shipping fees and for materials. This allows them to lower those costs and you get to split the shipping with your friends. It also leads to larger orders which can lead to free or reduced shipping from small vendors. This is a win-win all around, and by sharing you help Black Businesses grow.
Patience is a virtue and if you follow some of the previous steps, it should be rewarded with a fulfilling experience. However, even if you don’t plan ahead as much or bundle, patience is still key. A small business can be overwhelmed by an increase in volume very easily and the owners might not respond as fast as you would like to requests. Be patient with questions or issues. Understand that an immediate response isn’t always going to occur. You should also make sure that you know the owner’s preferred means of communication. Every business does not respond to DM’s on Instagram or Twitter. Check the contact information to make sure you are using the most efficient means of communication. For some people that will be e-mail, for others it will be Facebook Messenger or another service. Communicate your needs clearly and give some time for a response. It is ok to send a reminder as well if you don’t hear back within a couple of days, sometimes more messages come in and priorities shift but don’t hold it against the business owner the same way you would a large corporation that has staff to handle such issues.
Be Professional and Courteous
This tip goes both ways in the customer – business relationship. Don’t use foul language with the business owner and not expect to receive something nasty in return. We already understand the expectations on business owners to be fair and respectful in communication. Treat people the way you want to be treated. If a business owner responds in an unprofessional manner, don’t continue to argue, just cancel your order and take your business elsewhere. Doing that is the best way to resolve the issue. Don’t get your emotions caught up in a battle of words when you have the power with your dollar.
These are just some tips to have a productive holiday shopping season supporting black businesses. Do you have any tips you would like to share?