Thirteen Ways to Support Local While at Home (Without Risking your Health)
As we’ve been advised to social distance ourselves and self-isolate, many small businesses have been deemed non-essential while others are enduring heavy restrictions on services and/or products to ensure the safety of the public.
Many small business owners state they are struggling right now in this Pandemic – many are unable to generate revenue, pay rent, or even retain employees. Unlike major retailers, local businesses don’t generally have the cash reserves or assets to sustain themselves during these times and are in danger of closing. According to the U.S. Business Administration Office of Advocacy, small businesses generate 44 percent of U.S. economic activity. The closing of small and local businesses would not only be a loss for their local economies, but for the country’s economy as well.
The good news is we can all support local businesses even if we can’t be out in public. Help a small business stay afloat by trying one of the following:
1. Invest in a small business via equity crowdfunding. Equity crowdfunding portals (like us) allow small businesses to receive funding directly from those who know and love what they do. Earlier this week, the SEC made it easier for existing small businesses to raise through equity crowdfunding by lessening financial review requirements and expediting the time it takes for them to receive their money. Hester Pierce, an SEC Commissioner stated, “Crowdfunding could be part of the solution for communities looking to help their small businesses make it through this difficult time. We provided some temporary relief, accompanied by appropriate investor protections.” Check out the businesses currently raising on our site.
2. Order delivery. Try and order out two or three meals a week. This provides immediate support to small businesses and no-contact delivery options keeps you safe. Additionally, many businesses are offering custom to-go options. When you have a need, give them a call and see if they can help…they might have already thought of a solution for you!
3. Shop local online. Many small businesses have inventory available to order online and are offering free shipping, curbside pickup and local delivery. In need of coffee? Perhaps your local shop is selling its blend. Soap? Check out a local boutique’s site and see if they sell hand-crafted bars.
4. Tip. Tip your barista, juice maker, food delivery driver, etc. These employees are most likely working fewer hours and making fewer tips during this time. If you are able to, tip as if you’re dining in.
5. Reschedule events. Try not to cancel events you planned to host at a small business venue. Make an effort to go back to the space when you can. Give venues peace of mind that revenue is coming.
6. Continue to pay those who work for you. If you can, keep paying, tip or prepay your house cleaner, piano instructor, dog walker, etc. even if their efforts aren’t needed or currently unavailable. A little goes a long way and ensures their services will still be available to you when the Pandemic is over.
7. Schedule for later. Schedule jobs that need to be done in the near future – whether it’s with a painter, plumber, stylist, etc. – knowing that work is coming their way can alleviate some stress and anxiety.
8. Offer your consult services. Business owners need legal, accounting and insurance help right now – if you’re qualified, call your favorite businesses and offer to consult with them free of charge.
9. Buy gift cards. Many small businesses allow you to order gift cards right through their website. If you don’t see that option – reach out and ask how you can purchase a gift card. Treat yourself, or someone else!
10. Write an online review. Have some extra time on your hands right now? Write that Yelp, Google, FB or TripAdvisor review that you’ve been putting off. Rate and recommend your favorite local businesses.
11. Donate. Order meals from a local restaurant and donate them to healthcare workers. Write a check to your favorite local charity or museum – even nonprofits need us during this time. Not only will you be doing good, but you can write these donations off on your taxes!
12. Post on Social Media. Give a shout out to your favorite local bakery, salon or boutique and tag them. A recent study found that 67 percent of U.S. consumers are “at least a little more likely” to buy something if a friend or family member shares it via social media or email.
13. Write a handwritten note or have your children draw a picture to let a local business or entrepreneur know that you are thinking of them. Compassion goes a long way right now.
Regardless of the method or amount you choose to offer; you’re making an impact during this stressful time. When we all work together, we experience a greater return.