HOW TO HELP CHEZ NOUS
Words by Mikayla Irle
Want to shop with minority and women-owned businesses but can’t find any stores listed in your area? Help us grow the database by reaching out to the businesses in your neighborhood and inviting them to join!
Speaking to business owners in your neighborhood might feel out of your comfort zone, so this guide focuses on easy scripts to use when first contacting them. Keep in mind, you’re on these businesses’ side and offering free information, so don’t strain to feel persuasive! Further down, there is a brief lesson on how to list businesses on Google Maps and in Chez Nous’ database.
Why Google Maps? Chez Nous is integrated with Google Maps, so starting with businesses already listed there is an easy way to improve our database. Many small neighborhood businesses, however, are not listed on Google Maps and may need help getting added. You can directly help these small businesses increase their visibility by adding them to Google Maps, and if they fit the Chez Nous profile, invite them to join the database. Even if they don’t want to be on Chez Nous, they might have an idea of somebody who does!
COMMUNICATING WITH BUSINESS OWNERS
For Businesses on Google Maps:
- Contact the store and ask to speak with the owner.
- If you need to leave a message or an email, here’s a script you can use to quickly let them understand why you’re contacting them:
- Hi, my name is [Your Name], and I live in the neighborhood a few blocks from [Their Business.] I am a volunteer trying to help businesses in the neighborhood get more customers by adding them to a website called Chez Nous Guide. The website creates a way for minorities, women and LGBTQ+ people with businesses to be more visible and find customers who want to support them. If that’s something that could help you or someone you know in our neighborhood, check out the website cheznousguide.com. [If leaving a voice message…] That’s C-H-E-Z N-O-U-S guide.com. If you [call/email] me back [at your phone number], I can help list you or show you how to do it! It’s completely free and you would never be charged for anything. Thanks and have a great day!
- If might seem way too personal to ask someone directly if they identify as a minority or queer, so feel free to use Chez Nous’ mission as an open-ended question to whomever you’re talking to. You can also frame your questions around their network: maybe they know a business owner who fits the description?
For Businesses not on Google Maps yet:
- If you can’t find a store’s contact info listed online anywhere, try going in and talking to the counter clerk to get the owner’s contact information. They might even be onsite!
- If you do get in touch with the owner (either face-to-face or with their email/phone number), you can use this script to suggest listing on Google Maps.
- Hi, my name is [Your Name], and I live in the neighborhood a few blocks from [Their Business]. I am a volunteer trying to help local businesses get more traffic by listing them on Google Maps, and I can help add you if you’re interested. I’m not charging anything, just trying to support local businesses! You can reach me at [your contact info.] Thanks and have a great day!
- If you are doing this in-person, you can go through the process of adding them to Google Maps right then and there on your smartphone.
- Tip: If the owner has a smartphone and seems capable of doing it themselves, show them how to do it. It typically takes a bit more time but this way the owner can feel empowered and learn something new.
- By the time you’ve helped them list their business on Google Maps, you’ll easily be able to recommend Chez Nous. Here’s a script:
- Hey, I know about this website called Chez Nous Guide, which promotes minority, LGBTQ+, and women-owned businesses. Would you want your business included in their database? It will take customers who search for your product and want to support you right to the Google Maps listing you just created. Also, it’s free.
- Chances are they will want to check out the website for themselves, so you can pull out your smart phone and show them the site or tell them the site name so they can check it out on their phone.
- Stand-by to see if they want to add their business and help them out. Doing it right then and there will definitely increase the chance it gets added!
ADDING BUSINESSES TO GOOGLE MAPS AND CHEZ NOUS GUIDE
How to: Add a business to Google Maps
- Download the app “My Business” by Google and launch.
- Click on “Add a New Business” (sometimes you only get that option by clicking on the name of a business you already added)
- Double check the spelling of the business name
- Does the business also deliver services outside the physical address? Yes or No
- Enter full address.
- Enter the correct business category.
- Note: Afterwards you can add more categories, right now just enter the main category.
- Enter the phone number, make sure the flag of the country is correct.
- Hit “Finish.”
- Now go back to the listing and add cover photo, other product/ business photos, secondary categories when tapping on categories, business hours, and description.
- Verifying the business: Google will tell you to wait for a postcard with a code to be mailed to the address to verify the business, but there is a way around that.
- Go to the app and click on “Verify.”
- It might say something about the postcard again.
- Then click on “Change Method” and choose Phone.The code will be sent to your phone via automated message.
- Enter the code into “Verify by Phone” in the app and you’re done.
- Help out the business by giving them a five-star review!
How to: Add a business to Chez Nous Guide
- Go to “Add a Listing” and follow the instructions
I’m introverted and this sounds way too awkward.
If you hate talking on the phone or chit-chatting with strangers, only contact businesses you can find email or social media contact information for. All additions are valuable! There may already be businesses that identify themselves as fitting the Chez Nous profile but aren’t listed with us. If you find them during some research from the safety of your laptop, help them out by adding them
I’m nervous that by revealing my intentions to help women, LGBTQ+, or minority business owners, I might face backlash.
Never do anything that makes you feel unsafe. There may already be businesses that identify themselves as fitting the Chez Nous profile but aren’t listed with us. If you find them during some research from the safety of your laptop, help them out by adding them!
Do I get any credit for adding businesses?
Yup. Not financial credit, but if you let us know you’ve added to the database, we’ll list you as a contributor on our website. Everyone who helps out deserves credit, and who knows, maybe there will be perks in the future!
Thank you to Rosanna Lopes for her super helpful guide and ideas on adding businesses to Google Maps! Check out her Medium piece to see this process in action in Lisbon: https://medium.com/@LopesRosanna/lisbon-digital-nomads-puts-small-local-businesses-on-the-map-d0c3ea97743d