The COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic is unlike any crisis small business has ever faced and crisis is affecting all types of small business. This includes places you use every day, such as your local coffee shop or favorite lunch place, but also businesses that might not immediately come to mind.
The closures and cancellations hurt services like home-improvement contractors, daycare providers, dry cleaners, and car mechanics, as well as healthcare businesses, such as your dentist or chiropractor. Even business-to-business fields, such as the graphic designer who designs your office’s brochures or the accounting firm who does the books, are feeling the impact.
By closing their doors temporarily, small businesses are helping to keep their customers and employees healthy. But the loss of income makes it tough to cover ongoing expenses like rent and salaries.
Check out these practical tips on how everyone can support small businesses — with or without spending money.
Write an Online Review
This is a good time to finally get around to reviewing your favorite local business. These five-star reviews help companies rank well in search engines and on other listing services. Find their Google business profile and leave some stars and a thoughtful note. This is an easy, free way to show your favorite small businesses that you support them.
Like and Share on Social Media
Help your favorite business reach a broader audience by liking and sharing their information on social media. This will help them reach future customers and gain more exposure. Be sure to leave a positive Facebook review or recommendation – these will help them rank for search engines too.
Show Your Appreciation
These are tough times. You may have built relationships with some of the small business owners where you usually shop. Keep morale up by reaching out to the businesses in your community and letting them know that you appreciate their hard work and ask what they need right now.
Buy a Gift Card for Later
Many small businesses that have had to close are offering gift certificates at discounted rates for when they open back up. Look on their websites and social accounts. Don’t hesitate to reach out to them directly. Use the emails listed on their website or send a note through Facebook Messaging – they will appreciate hearing from you!
Take a Raincheck Instead of a Refund
If you paid in advance for an event, such as theater or concert tickets, a class, or a service, consider taking a credit for the future instead of asking for a refund. A raincheck allows the business to keep much-needed cash in their accounts. These businesses will appreciate not needing to issue so many refunds right now.
Shop (Locally) Online
Local shops and vendors may have closed their physical doors, but many still run online shops. Look for them on social media or check the their website for links to their online marketplace.
Look for Virtual Classes
People who work in training or professional development, even gyms and yoga studio instructors — are finding creative ways to move their instruction online. Even though your local studio is closed, your favorite yoga teacher may be hosting a live class online. Check in with the local gym—do they offer any online support? Will your personal trainer give consultant appointments over a video call? Is your pilates studio streaming its classes? The same goes for people who offer professional trainings. Now may be a good time to brush up on your skills through an online course.
Get Takeout or Delivery
Many restaurants and breweries are now offering takeout even as they close their dining rooms. Support these local institutions by getting your food or drinks to go and enjoying them at home.