The COVID-19 pandemic did not only trigger an almost instantaneous economic recession. It also wreaked havoc on businesses, especially small businesses.
A lot of businesses have been forced to shut down temporarily. Plus, people have been required to stay at home, causing small businesses to suffer.
In addition, there's no precise information on when doors would reopen, which poses the danger of these small businesses to close permanently. This is a loss for both the workers and the entire community.
Though small businesses get aid from both Federal and State government bodies, they also need support from you. That said, let's go through ways can you support small businesses during this pandemic.
Shop Online But Keep It Local
For a couple of months now, you've probably missed exchanging pleasantries with the lady that sells fruits around the corner, wave to the owner of the coffee shop on the next block, or even make funny faces to the mannequin at the clothing store on your way to work.
Community goes both ways. So they feel the same — except the mannequin.
Luckily, if you miss these interactions, you can go online and show your support. Many local businesses offer ways you can support them online, and others even have an e-commerce presence. So, you can easily shop online from your local stores.
Get A Gift Card
Think of gift cards as chain letters. You can get as little as $5 gift cards to your favorite local store for yourself or your friend. And you can also ask your friends to do the same for other local businesses around them.
You can even buy credits or gift cards from your favorite hardware store, childcare provider, spa, hair salon, stores, and restaurants. Even if you don't need anything right now, you can consider getting gift cards for later.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many small businesses missed out on huge revenue around graduations, Mother's Day, and even Easter. Local bakeries, delis, and restaurants were not spared.
So, even though they aren't open right now, you can still check their social media or websites to find out if they offer gift cards. You would be surprised that even those that didn't offer gift cards in the past are joining the train just so their employees are not at risk, and their business can stay afloat.
Give Social Medial Shoutouts
It might be quite a hassle finding independent retailers on social media. However, following your favorite local shops on different social media platforms is one way to show support and stay connected while at home.
Every day, more businesses are going digital and need to build some traction. You can like, comment, repost, and even tag other people in their unboxing videos and purchases on social media. This way, you help them get engagement, which leads to sales and better visibility.
Showing support through social media shoutouts is entirely free, and these businesses can see the payoff almost immediately.
As you help these businesses promote their messages of empowerment and love to your networks during this pandemic, they would notice a significant increase in shares and engagement. Also, asides the boost in traffic to their website from social media platforms, these businesses would get more traffic from organic searches.
A lot of these small businesses share initiatives, specials, and other ways you can help on their platforms. You can even see creative activities like bar trivia and Zoom performances from troupes. This keeps you connected and entertained at the same time.
You can also share delivery menus of local restaurants on your social media pages. Even more, you can share stories of your favorite spots or unique idea and promotions from local businesses. With a more-than-decent internet connection you can go to your social media pages and show these local businesses that you care right from your home.
Use Your Expertise For Free Consultations
Small business owners need insurance, accounting, and even legal assistance when negotiating granular disputes, outstanding debts, and other issues.
So, if you're an in-house lawyer, CFO, or CEO stuck indoors like the rest of us, you can try placing a call to your favorite local business and consult with them. You can even help provide answers to pressing questions and ease their concerns or fears.
Leave Positive Reviews And Testimonials
Now that people are stuck indoors, there's more time to leave personal testimonies and positive reviews on Google, Yelp, and other platforms online. This can help small businesses gain new clients and customers.
Yes, these businesses can decide to advertise on TV. But, a positive testimonial and review from you would have a lot more impact.
With a glowing review, you put smiles on the faces of business owners. The COVID-19 might have made them forget how to smile. So, remind them of how to.
Consider Delivery your Curbside Pickup
One thing that this pandemic has affected is supply chains. Normally, small businesses won't see the need to have an e-commerce platform since they serve a majority of their customer base in their physical stores. However, local stores are now flocking to e-commerce platforms like Shopify.
Shopify lets them access cloud-based services that allow them to optimize deliveries and manage their expenses. That's why many restaurants and stores that didn't offer takeouts and deliveries in the past are starting to do so. This keeps their business afloat and helps employees keep their jobs.
Besides, scientists say its low-risk ordering from restaurants. So, there's no better time to search those menus, make an order, and have it delivered to your doorstep. This makes your life feel a little bit more normal.
Also, if possible, make direct orders from the store or restaurant. This saves them the cost of having to pay third-party delivery services.
To Wrap It Up
The COVID-19 crisis has disrupted almost everything business-related, from employee productivity to vendor reliability and supply chains.
A lot of small businesses are scrambling to adjust to the new normal and keep everything together. So, it boosts their morale and uplifts them when they see their customers showing empathy and supporting them in their own little way.