It’s no secret the damage that has been done by the Coronavirus pandemic, and one of the hardest hit sectors has been small businesses.
Often running on small margins with little room for error, the slightest disruption in the normal flow of business can wreak havoc, and often become the demise of the business entirely.
Since March of 2020, there are have been calls to rally around the local mom and pop shops, the entrepreneurs who have risked their careers to chase their passions, the people who are the true heartbeat of this great nation.
As consumers, there are a variety of ways to lend support to these businesses and help ensure they not only survive, but come out of this thriving as things begin to open up in full force. Now obviously, as a business owner, you must put out a great product that is valuable to your target market, and you must provide outstanding customer service. As a consumer, for the businesses you support, we will assume these things are in place.
Spend Your Money
I will discuss a few other things in this article, but when we talk about supporting small business, there is absolutely nothing more important than actually spending your money with these businesses.
It’s always been interesting to me how people will question how much someone charges for items in a local boutique. Or how much your graphic design friend requires for a logo. Or how much your former co-worker who quit his shitty job to work for himself charges to craft a fully functional website. Where the prevailing mindset arose to question rates and prices for those who are closest to us came from, I’ll never know.
Yet, people will go to Nordstrom and drop $500 on a pair of shoes made my child labor and overpriced because of the name on the inside and not bat an eye.
Be willing to spend your dollars and a sign and show of support. If I have to pay an extra $1 or $2 for a burger made at a local dive over a restaurant chain that could honestly not give two shits about me, then I’ll do it. The local spots are the ones owned by people in your community, people who are parents of the kids your kids go to school with. People who volunteer and donate their time and money back into the place you call home.
Remember those things and make a point to spend your money with at least one local small business each week.
Share on the Socials
Another large problem many small businesses face is a limited marketing budget. Uncertainty with ads, paying an agency to manage everything, costly SEO strategies that take time to pay off…all these things can severely cut into the profitability of a business.
If you patron a small business, share your experience on social media. Facebook and Instagram have some of the biggest audiences and reach that we’ve ever seen. One simple positive post about a product or service could result in a multitude of sales!
There is always someone looking for the thing you just bought or the handyman you just used or a service you’ve been meaning to get for a while. We all know the people in our lives who we trust to give honest feedback, and what better way to help others have confidence in their purchase than a referral from you.
Furthermore, by sharing your experience, you’re often helping a business to learn what they’re doing right and what they can improve upon, so they can remain focused on providing a quality product and make sure what they’re delivering is exactly what the consumer wants.
If there’s one thing people LOVE doing, it’s complaining. I can’t tell you how many Facebook posts and comments I’ve heard from people who would probably bitch and moan if the cure for cancer came out, but they had to wait a day or two to get it. It boggles the mind!
These have been once-in-a-lifetime times we’ve experienced. Unless you’re about 120 years old and were alive during the Spanish Flu pandemic back in the mid 1910’s, then neither you or I have ever been thru something like this. Many businesses have not only lost workers, they’ve literally lost loved ones to this pandemic.
When money gets tight, small businesses will often do whatever they can to stay afloat.
Sometimes that means the staff is just the owners. Sometimes that means people are willing to work extra long hours without pay. Sometimes that means the supply chain has been affected and they’re doing the absolute best with what they have.
So if you know that, if you see a business operating that may not seem like themselves, but they’re still committed to providing their BEST product, then give them some grace.
They messed up an order? Bring it to their attention and let them make it right.
They were a little slow? Give them the benefit of the doubt that they are working as efficiently as possible.
Do they look stressed? Maybe just lend a kind word and smile and watch how it changes their entire demeanor.
The world can never have too much kindness, so choose to be a factor.
There we have it. Three simple, yet highly effective strategies to do your part to help small business in these crazy times!
Spend your money, share the love, and show some grace.