Small, independent businesses are the backbone of our US economy. They are also the ones being hurt most severely by the COVID-19 pandemic. But there are things you can do right now to help them survive, to everyone’s benefit.
Some of these suggestions cost you nothing but a few minutes of your time. Some may cost you something but it’s money you’d spend on their products or services anyway. And for those of you in a position of privilege that can help even more, there are ideas here for you, too.
Here are several ways you can help local, independent businesses right now that cost you nothing but a few minutes of your time:
- Recommend them to friends and family.
- Give them a shoutout and follow them on social media; engage with their posts.
- Write a positive review; “LipLove” is free and helps almost immediately.
- Sign up for their newsletter (visit their website).
- Send direct emotional support; an email, text, or phone call reminds them that you’re thinking about them and care about their survival and will be back once things safely reopen.
- Have patience on existing orders. Many things take a little longer right now. Some things may have to wait until the economy fully reopens.
- Copy and share the link to this page on your Facebook page, Instagram or Twitter accounts: https://bergey.net/how-to-support-local-businesses
You can help…
Here are some ways you can help local businesses by infusing cash right now and reaping the benefits later:
- Buy gift cards now to use in the future. Consider upcoming birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, and any reason you might have for giving a gift card. And buy one for yourself to use later, too. It means instant cash for local businesses and, in the end, it doesn’t really cost you anything if you were going to buy a gift anyway!
- Prepay now for future purchases. If you’re planning to purchase something in the near future, consider paying for it now. Obviously, you want to be comfortable that the business will be there to deliver down the road, but most will survive especially if we find ways to infuse cash directly to them right now.
- If you have an event scheduled that needs to be postponed, reschedule in the future instead of canceling. This is a very difficult time for small businesses to return deposits. Stick with them.
- Consider a local, independent business before hitting “Buy” on Amazon or Walmart. Most small businesses have websites; do a little searching online for products and services near you. You might even get a better deal!
- Order take-out from your favorite restaurants; pay in advance by credit card, and please don’t forget a gratuity — be generous, tip a little more than normal; service workers and waitstaff who rely on tips are struggling right now with fewer customers and no dine-in service.
- If you’ve hoarded hand sanitizer or toilet paper or anything else that you now have way more than you need, consider donating some of your loot to a local business.
- Don’t forget the farmers. Check the websites for your favorite local farmers’ markets. Buy local produce.
And if you are especially blessed, consider these suggestions to help local businesses:
- Volunteer your time. Call one of them and find out what they need that you might be able to give — help cleaning windows, landscaping, packing shipments, or anything they’re doing right now that they can’t afford to pay for help to accomplish. (But you don’t want to take away anyone’s job, of course.)
- Donate your expertise with a free consultation — accounting, legal, insurance, debt collection, website design, cleaning, photography, etc. You may get ideas from their website or a call to the owner. Be sure to make it clear that it’s a donation, not a sales call.
- Consider making an outright donation of money or services, no expectation of anything in return. Most of us are watching every penny right now, but not everyone has to do that. Sometimes a significant cash donation can make the difference between a local business surviving or being gone when the economy opens up.
Do you have any additional suggestions? I’d love to hear from you, individuals and especially local businesses, if you have other ideas or needs we can help with. Leave your comments below.
Don’t forget to copy and share the link to this page on your blog, Facebook page, Instagram or Twitter accounts: https://bergey.net/how-to-support-local-businesses