America is built on small businesses. Sure, huge conglomerates like Wal Mart and Amazon employ a lot of people have a lot of economic power, but the majority of the economic output is still from the many many small businesses that exist from coast-to-coast.

According to the SBA Small Business Profile Report, the majority of small businesses are considered “non-employer firms” – meaning they are Solopreneurs. It’s just one person or family. They do everything themselves – sales, marketing, operations and R&D.

Small businesses generally don’t have big marketing departments, so it’s up to us, their friends and family, to help support their business.

When you buy from a small business, you are not helping a CEO buy a third vacation home.

You are helping a little girl get dance lessons, a little boy get his team jersey, a Mom or Dad put food on the table, a family pay a mortgage, or a student pay for college.

Our customers are our shareholders and they are the ones we strive to make happy.

Thank you for supporting small business.

And it’s easy to support them. Here are five things you can do to help your small business owner friends, family, and community members. It won’t cost you any money or take much time.

1. Shout them out on social media

Tell your friends about their business on social media! Especially if you have used their product or service, sing their praises.

I meet weekly with a group of entrepreneurs for breakfast and one of our members this week mentioned that he wants to talk to people who want to quit working for the man and start their own thing. I don’t know anyone off the top of my head who wants to do that, but I’m sure there’s at least one person on my Facebook that it will speak to.

So I wrote up a post. It took me about 5 seconds and cost me nothing.

Dave Kehnast promoting Missy Babineau‘s photography services on Facebook.

Michael Brant promoting Dave Kehnast‘s coaching services.

2. Give them credit on social media

Did they take your photos, design your website, detail your car, design your kid’s graduation cake? Awesome! When you post a picture of it on social media, give them credit.

Again, it costs nothing, only takes 2-3 seconds of extra time and may help their business. The most credible advertisement for any product or service is from a trusted friend or family member.

Sal Cerda thanking local government and the city for helping him promote his business.

Missy Babineau giving a shoutout to Michael Brant for a canvas that she ordered.

Michael Brant giving credit to Missy Babineau for his new headshot that she took.

3. Re-post them on social media

Are they running a special? Offering a promotion? Introducing an awesome new product or service? Awesome!

Click that share button on Facebook, the retweet button on Twitter or the share to story feature on Instagram. It takes a second. And it could make the difference of a small business owner making their car payment or not.

Missy Babineau promoting a make-up line, by reposting the businesses own post about new products.

Missy Babineau promoting an event put on by SD Small Business Forum and supporting her friend Mike’s Extraordinary Soap.

4. Find opportunities to connect them with people you know

Being in a networking group, it’s easy for me to keep the people I see every week top of mind. Meaning, in every conversation I’m having, every customer I’m talking to, I’m probing for potential introductions.

Not only does this help my client, by connecting them with someone they need, but it helps the small business I’m referring and it helps me and my business by helping me seem like a well-connected problem solver.

Here is an interaction that I had with a customer just this morning. She asked me what I think of her new logo. The logo happened to be on a t-shirt. This made me think of my friend Jonathan Reed with Prestige Tees who makes t-shirts. So I connected them.

I didn’t just give my client Jonathan’s contact information, but I actually did a text with the two of them, to connect them. This will make it more likely that they both remember each other and do business at some point.

My initial text with my client, where I mentioned that I have someone who can help her.

A group text where I connect my client directly with my referral. making it more likely that they will do business at some point.

5. Leave a review on their Facebook, Yelp or Google page

Last, but certainly not least, leave them a testimonial on social media. Not only is this a nice thing to do, but Google factors reviews into how they rank websites now. Of course they prefer that you use their own review service – but they also take other platforms into account.

When you leave a review on Facebook, for example, you see it (obviously), your friends see it, the business owner sees it and anyone looking at their page sees is.

A Facebook review that I left for Missy Babineau after she did my headshots.

A review that Missy Babineau left for me, after I re-designed and printed her business cards.

A review that I left for my barber on Yelp – because I have an active Yelp account – I tend not to get filtered by them.

Easy, Fast, Free

Make it a goal to pay it forward and help promote your friends’ small businesses. Commit to helping at least one small business per week.

Re-post something, leave a review or tag your creative friend in something. It’ll make their day!