For many small businesses, a crisis like Covid-19 of this volume can be life changing. We’ve been proud to stand with fellow small businesses and see them survive, adapt and even thrive during challenging times. However, it’s still as important as ever to encourage other business owners to support each other.
Now is a great time to think about how you’re supporting your local small businesses and others in the same boat as you. Here's a simple list of suggestions to show your support now, as well as throughout the festive season and beyond.
10 ways to support fellow small businesses right now:
1) Shop local — online or in-person
Many local small businesses now offer online shopping as well as the in person experience. Consider getting a headstart on any upcoming birthdays, Christmas, or “just because” purchases. You’ll cross that task off your to-do list while also helping another small business - win-win.
Do you have a favorite shop that hasn’t, in the past, offered the option to make purchases online? Perhaps check again as many businesses are making the switch to online stores as a result of the pandemic and you may find they are now listing the products you love online. Consider doing your shopping from a small, local store and group . You’ll still be providing for your own needs and family, but will help the owners of other businesses and their families as well.
2) Buy gift cards
Gift cards are a great way to support a small business now by getting yourself something in the future. Plus, many small businesses are now offering the option to purchase gift cards online, saving you the trip and hassle.
Gift cards also make great gifts, especially with Christmas coming. You can give them to friends and family as a way to introduce them to your favorite small businesses, furthering your impact.
3) Leave a positive review online
It's completely free, takes only a couple of minutes and can be done from anywhere.
Small businesses rely heavily on reviews. People are more likely to buy from a business with glowing reviews - not fake ones though!
Now is the perfect time to leave a review on Yelp, Google, or Facebook about your experience with a local business. Include photos to add even more value to your review.
If you’re the business owner yourself, now is also a great time to make sure you’re on review sites and that you take time to respond to reviews with a kind note.
4) Order takeout or delivery
Restaurants were some of the hardest-hit businesses in the last couple of years, as they were restricted in how they could do business safely. Luckily, many were able to pivot and adapt to offer online ordering and takeout options.
Support a local restaurant near you by ordering delivery. Many eateries have implemented contactless dropoff or curbside pickup in order to reduce contact and safely provide you with your food.
However you choose to order, your money will be supporting those who need it right now.
5) Leave a tip and if you can a bit more than you usually would.
It has been a very tough couple of years for service and hourly workers financially. Without the steady flow of tips they usually see, team members found themselves short on cash. As businesses opened back up, many struggled with staffing, putting added pressure on these workers.
If you are in a place to do so, tipping a little more right now. If businesses near you are offering discounts or free delivery, take the money that you are saving and instead add it on to your normal tip. The delivery workers or kitchen staff will appreciate the help and you’ll be doing your part to make sure that you can continue enjoying your favorite restaurants and small businesses.
6) Share, share, and share some more
Everyone loves a recommendation and sometimes, advocating for your favorite small business is as easy as clicking ‘share’ on social media.
Now is the perfect time to shout about your favorite small business names from the rooftop. If you share one of their posts to your Facebook feed or Twitter account and a couple of your followers make a purchase, you’ve directly helped this business by merely sharing your love for them.
7) Donate to a local nonprofit
These certainly aren’t immune to the impact a crisis has on the community.
With everyone practicing social distancing and staying mostly at home, nonprofit organizations dealt with a sudden decrease in volunteers, cancellation of fundraising events and for some, a decrease in donations. Chipping in, when you can, will mean a lot to a nonprofit near you.
Want to do double the good? Buy a gift card from a local business and donate it to a nonprofit that can use it. If you do buy from Amazon - sign up for Amazon Smile and be sure use the Smile URL when purchasing. You can choose a local charity close to your heart every time you buy.
8) Engage with small businesses in different or new ways
Many businesses added new options like virtual classes during lockdowns. In many cases, these options actually helped them to evolve their business and reach people in new ways, so see if you can take advantage of these new options to support them.
Many of your local small businesses may be offering alternatives to their usual offerings. Take a minute to check in on some of your community’s go-to spots to see if there are new, alternative ways you can support them during this time.
Explore ways to work together with other business owners, be that sharing a workspace, referring customers, supplying products or services etc..
10. Simply say thank you
There is a lot to be thankful for when it comes to small businesses. They create tons of new jobs every year, provide personal experiences and support your local community. Just say “thank you” to let local businesses know you appreciate the time and effort they put into making your life better.
All of us are learning how to adjust and after you’ve made sure that you’re taking care of yourself and your loved ones, perhaps consider implementing a few of these ideas to help support your community’s small businesses. They will really appreciate it!