It has been an extremely stressful time for everybody, especially small business owners. Unlike retail giants, these small businesses typically do not have the funds to sustain themselves during these trying times. And with some of them in the earliest stages of their entrepreneurial journeys, the impact of this lockdown could have debilitating effects long-term. Small businesses depend on our patronage so any support they might get financially or psychologically could be significant.
Here are six ways you can support small businesses around you to shine in these dark times, especially if your income hasn’t been affected by the pandemic.
#1 DON’T CANCEL – RESCHEDULE
With the world going into lockdown, weddings and other social gatherings might have had to bear the brunt. Small businesses that provide venues or manage your event rely entirely on your events to stay in business. So, with every cancellation that occurs, their business is facing terrible losses.
If you’re thinking of cancelling, pause to reconsider. Try to reschedule the event for a later date instead of asking for a refund. This way, your event will still take place at the same venue or with the same event manager, just a couple of months later.
#2 BUY GIFT CARDS
These times are hard on everyone. But they are especially hard on small businesses. Check out your favourite local store online to see if they offer gift cards or vouchers. You can always gift these cards to your loved ones or use them yourself in the future. By purchasing gift cards from small businesses, you are doing three things –
- You are giving them a chance to keep their business afloat.
- You are enabling them to pay hourly wages to their employees
- You are showing your support while having something fun to look forward to later
Most shops get your gift card delivered straight to your house with no postal charges. To businesses that heavily rely on foot traffic, your little gesture can go a long way in helping them survive.
#3 SHOP ONLINE – BUT LOCAL
To adapt to these tough times and stay afloat, small businesses are developing their online presence. This means you can still support your favourite store from the comfort of your home. Consider yourself to be an investor in the community that you belong to. This way, you’re not only avoiding queues and large crowds but also providing a helping hand to local independent businesses.
You can also experience fun online experiences from around the world without leaving your home. You can learn magic tricks from a budding magician in Tokyo or meet sheep in the Scottish countryside, all with the Airbnb app!
#4 ORDER OUT
Restaurants all over the world have witnessed their businesses go from long queues to being completely empty. All of this just in a matter of weeks! However, most restaurants are trying to adapt their services by providing food delivery and takeaway services. Try and order food every weekend directly from your local stores or through food delivery apps like Deliveroo or Just Eat. Delivery partners are fully trained and will offer you a no-contact delivery to your doorstep!
#5 SUPPORT THEM ON SOCIAL MEDIA
With almost every person staying at home, it is natural for us to spend most of our time on our phones and social media. Go the extra step to support small businesses by giving your favourite local business a shout-out on your social media channels. With more eyes on social media at this point in the year, this step can have a positive catalytic effect.
You’re not only paying forward their goodwill, but you’re also letting your followers know of this small business you like, so they will be more likely to check it out in the future. Instagram’s new Support Small Business Sticker can be a great way for you to discover and support small businesses.
Small businesses often do not have the resources or manpower to entirely change the way they operate. If you have any skills you might be able to offer a store for free, try to do so. Whether you’re a web designer, finance guru, or a social media aficionado – you can always put those skills to good use. Reach out to local brick-and-mortar businesses around you and offer your expertise. This will help them adapt and get them back on their feet when operations return to normal.
Looking for local businesses to support in our community? Guaranteed Irish has a list of Irish businesses here that support jobs, communities and provenance.