How Everyone Can Support Small Business Today
The COVID-19 pandemic is a scary time for all of us. We’re concerned about our health and the health of our loved ones. The economy is taking a hit. And the uncertainty of how long this will last or how much worse it will get is making everyone anxious. While the mass shuttering of businesses for the foreseeable future may be the best thing for the health of Canadians it is no doubt an especially harsh reality for small business owners and employees. Small businesses are a huge part of Canada’s economy so we want them not merely to survive but to thrive. Here are some ways we can continue to support small business and independent workers through these tough times.
Shop Local Online
With physical locations closed, many of us are turning to online shopping both for necessities and luxuries to help get us through this time. Many small businesses have already done a great job of transitioning or expanding to serve their communities online. You can find almost everything you need online, groceries, self-care items, virtual business services, art, your favourite band tee, the list goes on. Before you click the purchase button consider how much money stays in your local community. When possible try to shop local and arrange contactless delivery or pick up.
Order for Delivery or Pickup
As places where people gather, restaurants and bars have been especially hard hit. If you’ve overestimated your cooking skills the past few weeks or simply want to try something new, consider ordering from one of the local spots that have remained open for take-out or delivery. Some restaurants are even offering meal kits if you want to try recreating a favourite recipe at home. For your virtual cocktail hour, consider ordering from a local brewery, winery or distillery. Many are offering free or discounted delivery rates.
Purchase a Gift Card
It will support small business owners now with immediate cash flow as they’re dealing with closures or reduced sales and feel great to use later. Many businesses even offer virtual gift cards you can purchase and use online. Buy from a favourite restaurant, café, independent shop or practitioner whose services you love or from somewhere you’ve been meaning to try. It will be something to look forward to or make a great gift.
Like, Comment, Share or Subscribe
We’ve probably all been spending more time than we care to admit on social media in recent weeks. Why not engage in a positive way? Liking, commenting and sharing helps businesses connect with their customers virtually, build credibility, and reach new audiences.
Write a Review
Small businesses often rely on word of mouth and positive reviews to get people in the store, making purchases, or signing up for services. If you’ve had a good experience, let people know. It will help business owners feel appreciated and help new customers to choose local when searching for a similar experience.
Share Your Digital Skills or Start a Virtual Project
If you have digital or social media skills, consider offering to help a local business owner improve their online presence. Or, reach out to a freelancer or small business to hire and move forward with a digital project yourself. There are a lot of incredibly talented professionals well-versed in working virtually who can help with everything from traditional digital work such as web design or online content, to health coaching or interior design.
Above all else, follow the advice of Public Health authorities and stay home. Respect physical distancing guidelines and do everything you can to limit the spread of COVID-19. The better job we do right now, the sooner small businesses can resume operations, get back to business, and continue to strengthen our communities.