We've all seen the growing lists of businesses closed due to COVID-19, both temporary or permanent. This year it may be more important that ever to shop local and find unique ways to support small businesses.
Here are a few ways you can remain safe, and continue to help those businesses most in need this year.
Patronize local and small businesses, in whatever way they are able to serve you right now.
This one may seem obvious, but restrictions seem to change almost daily for many businesses for capacity, hours, and other safety measures, but theses businesses have learned to adapt quickly throughout this pandemic. They are doing everything they can to keep you the consumer and their employees safe, while remaining open in any capacity. At a boutique store this may be setting an appointment to shop, or a new online ordering system. For a restaurant it could be utilizing carry-out or curbside pick-up. Many businesses have also begin offering local delivery for goods.
2. Purchase a Gift Card
Purchasing a gift card from a small business is a great way to give them cash flow now (when they need it) even if you're not ready to use their product or services just yet. Many businesses offer gift cards online so you don't even need to take a trip to their location.
3. Follow and Engage with them on Social Media
For many businesses social media is number one avenue they have to reach their consumer. It's how they're letting people know they are still open, what products or services they are providing, and what measures they're taking to keep you safe. When you like or follow a business page, comment on a post, perhaps share a post or story, you're not only showing them you care, but you are exposing many of your network to this businesses' products and services. This is an easy (and free) way to support a local business.
4. Write Positive Reviews Online
Another free way to help is to write positive online reviews. There are many online platforms for businesses but the most widely seen are probably: Facebook, Google, and Yelp. Many people only think to post a review when they've had a negative experience with a business. So do your part, thank them for the pleasant experience you had in their store, or the delicious food you picked up curbside, or the outstanding service you received from a company. Write a review online and you might influence a potential customer to support that local business in the future.
5. Word of Mouth
It's not high-tech, but nothing beats good old word of mouth marketing. Tell your friends, your family, your neighbors how much you enjoy the products, food or services from a local business and why they should support them too.
6. Be Kind
Businesses are trying to adapt quickly to changing restrictions while keeping everyone safe and managing typical day-to-day duties. For many, it's an uphill battle, and there are bound to be bumps along the way. Know that most businesses are doing the best they can and deserve our patience and kindness as they navigate this uncharted territory.