Last Updated on
April 2, 2020
For the past weeks, COVID-19 has impacted our daily lives. This drastic change has heavily impacted businesses in every part of the country. For small, independent, local and family owned businesses; this has had a severe economic impact and owners are finding themselves suddenly deprived of customers. In a time when support from patrons can mean the difference between surviving this pandemic and coming out even stronger or closing their doors, here are some ways to help make sure your favorite business is here to stay:
Take a break from eating what you have stocked up on at home, relax on leftovers, and freezer burned food. Support your favorite local restaurant or bar, while they may be closed to the public, it is likely they have now adapted their menu to offer takeout services. Try to stay away from chain restaurants, they are not experiencing the same struggles as some other local restaurants. Services like Door-dash, Uber Eats, and Postmates are still running. See if your local restaurant has teamed up with them to offer delivery, you may not even need to leave your house. By ordering takeout, you are supporting your local restaurants, while practicing social distancing – so take a break from the leftovers and support a local eatery who needs it!
Shop online (& locally for your needs)
Many of our favorite stores have closed to the public, but are still open to online business. These stores will ship the products you order directly to your door. Take a break from the retail giant Amazon, try to see if local businesses may have the products to support your needs. Keep an open mind, and shop around, many businesses who have never offered online shopping may have recently adopted this popular practice. You may be pleasantly surprised if you receive these items faster and for a better price! Keeping revenue flowing to these businesses through online sales can help them tremendously.
If you are financially able, why not spend this ample free time tackling shopping you might normally put off for a few more months? Support local businesses early for summer months, back to school season, birthdays, or even the Holidays!
Purchase gift cards & tickets for future events
Buying gift cards is a great way to support your favorite small business. A gift card is essentially a way to show your support to a business, with a small no interest loan (from you to them)! Think of this as a cash infusion to help your favorite business make it through some hard times. Business owners will appreciate this as a sign of loyalty and also be grateful for the immediate cash support it provides. Buy a couple gift cards for yourself or others, to either use now or in the future, these small businesses will thank you!
Avoid cash, use card
Try to avoid cash when you shop, use a credit or debit card instead. Paper money and coins pass through many different hands, carrying so many types of germs. Limit your use of cash to help limit the spread of germs, which is especially important.
Stay home if you’re sick
If you are sick, stay home and don’t put others at risk. This seems like common sense, but if you find yourself really needing something from the outside world, opt to use a delivery service instead of going out. Businesses throughout our local communities are working hard to get through this. The last thing they need are sick employees, as a result of a sick customers (who should have stayed home).
Reschedule – don’t cancel
During times like these, we could all use something to look forward to, to boost morale. While we may not know what the immediate future holds, try to remember this situation is only temporary. This mindset will help you and your local businesses to remain positive. One of the ways you can do this is to reschedule appointments, instead of cancelling them. Push back your nail appointment, or haircut, or time scheduled to get the dogs groomed, but try to avoid flat out cancelling. While we have no idea how long this may be our new reality, postponing your appointment lets businesses know they still have a loyal customer base who is ready to jump back into their normal routine.
Attend virtual classes (cooking, fitness)
While gyms and different services around the nation are temporarily closing to prevent the spread of COVID-19, many facilities are streaming live workouts or classes online that let people join virtually. There are numerous types of local gyms and trainers offering virtual training classes to help the community maintain their physical fitness. Visit your favorite gym’s social media or website to see what they are offering during this time. Many other service industries are providing their ‘classes’ in virtual formatting, including wine and paint nights or even local cooking classes. If your favorite business is not offering such programs, it doesn’t hurt to suggest such an idea.
Spread the word on social media
We each have a personal community of direct influence, so let’s take the time to shout out our favorite businesses on social media platforms. If you know a business that is still open, or a restaurant offering takeout, be sure to spread the word about what they do to family or friends in that area. While this may seem like a small act, trust us that spreading their business message will tremendously help (and give you that warm fuzzy feeling inside when you do something good for your community). Share a post on your story, tag the business on a post, tag a few friends in their most recent post, anything that could help to spread the word.
We know you have seen it. The branded merch from your favorite retail shop, coffee place, bakery or bar. Now is a great time to buy some shirts, hats, mugs, stickers or any other swag that these local businesses offer. Check out their online store, and find something to help you spread their message. A great tactic is to take a photo of yourself in the merch and post to social media, not only will this raise their spirit’s, but it will notify others of who they are and what they do.
Share creative ideas
Help your favorite business brainstorm how to share their products/services virtually, some of the way’s businesses can evolve and adapt is truly inspiring. Local pizza restaurants are selling make your own pizza kits, paint studios are offering virtual paint nights. Share these stories and other ideas with your favorite local business owner in a tactful way.
Write a review/testimonial
Leaving a positive review on platforms like; Yelp, Google, TripAdvisor, etc. can have incredibly tangible results for a business. We can all think back to a time of browsing online reviews before committing to a product or service, one positive or negative review can make all the difference. Take this time to visit your favorite business on yelp or google and leave them a glowing review! This can be an incredibly helpful gesture for a business, that will not only help them today but also in the months to come.
Send a referral
Can you think back to a time you experienced such great service, that you couldn’t wait to tell all your friends and family about this new business you just ‘discovered’? Maybe it was a really great restaurant or local coffee place, or maybe you finally found the perfect company to service your plumbing or fix your air conditioning. Take this time to share the wealth! Mention how great this company was to your social circle, take the time to explain why the worked for you and why you would use them again. Remember that it is easier to trust someone you have a relationship with, so you might gain your favorite local business a few more clients.
Use your voice
During this time, numerous state and local governments have created economic relief programs, for applicable businesses who are feeling the effects of COVID-19. Still, many states have limited resources available. If you do live in one of these states, it takes 5 minutes to use your voice to make a difference! Write an email to your local state representative or economic development board, share your concerns for small businesses. This is a time to help strengthen our communities, and this all starts with us.
Be patient & kind
As we adjust to our ‘new normal’, you probably realize many businesses are working at dramatically reduced capacity. You may have experienced obscene lines at the grocery store, out of stock items, slow moving lines and impatient people (try not to be one of them). Trust us everyone is feeling this pain, especially businesses, who want nothing more than to meet your needs. When they can’t, extend a little humility and patience. Remember they are working hard to stay open and serve their community. We can all get through this time together, if we remember to Be Good To People.
Last but not least, show your gratitude and tell a business owner thank you! Write a card, order flowers (support your local shop), cater lunch, or if you have the financial means – make a tip to help support owners and staff. Simply showing gratitude goes a long way to brighten someone’s day.