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Being a small business owner can cause you to be so focused on your own business you overlook one of the most gratifying reasons for being in business in the first place, the opportunity to help other businesses grow.

One method of doing that is to become your customers’ advocate. This practice isn’t just limited to buying the product or service your customers’ offer, but taking the time to understand what business they’re in and looking for opportunities to provide a reference or referral.

The synergy between businesses whose owners practice this is contagious. My hairdresser, Lauri, is the poster child for this.   In her salon she has a display that holds the business card of every client she has who is a small business owner. When one of us is in the chair and another customer is waiting, she introduces us by explaining what business we are each in.

She’s not doing this to grow her business, she’s doing this to because she has taken the time to learn about each of her customers’ businesses and is personally invested in supporting their success. As a result, we are all invested in Lauri’s business being successful.

What opportunities are there for you to become an advocate for your customers?