Owners and workers alike are facing challenging conditions at the moment. Businesses that aren’t absolutely necessary are frequently closing their doors for a while. Additionally, due to an increase in people remaining at home and temporary job cutbacks, less money is being reinvested into local economies.
To lessen the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress is debating a stimulus package that would provide funds for both direct payments to individuals and families, and small business loans.
A stimulus plan may be an attempt to jumpstart the economy, but ultimately it is up to each individual to do what they can. Efforts by the federal government can only go so far; the rest of the burden of supporting struggling small companies must fall on towns and individuals. There are still plenty of options open to you if you want to support local business owners but are unsure of how to do so in a way that is consistent with social distance.
There is probably a method you can help local businesses, regardless of your time and money constraints.
1. Persist in Shopping Locally (Online)
All around the country, non-essential businesses are closing their doors temporarily. Even if you can’t make it to a local shop in person, you can still show your support by making online purchases there.
While many of these establishments are closing their physical stores, many customers still have the option of placing orders online or using a curbside pickup. Before making the trip to Amazon or a major retailer, you should call up a local business or look online to see what alternatives you have.
2. Purchase Gift Cards for Later Use
Gift cards are a good alternative to internet shopping for supporting local companies, especially if you’re unable to use your credit card online. Electronic gift cards are available for purchase on the websites of several stores. However, if this isn’t possible, there are other methods to support your community’s economy.
Kabbage has simplified the process of aiding small companies by establishing a market for gift certificates geared at neighborhood establishments. Gift certificate amounts between $15 and $500 can be offered by any business that signs up for free. The money you spend is given to the business owner in as little as one working day.
The main barrier to the expansion of this platform is education. Tell the proprietor of a local business you want to back about our initiative. It takes less than a minute to sign up at no cost.
Gannett, an American media corporation, has introduced a gift card platform so that its readers may show their support for local companies. If a certain local business has an online gift card store, you can add it to this list yourself.
It could be seen as unassuming to present someone with a $15 gift card. Still, any amount helps, and gift cards can be used at any time.
3. Support Local Restaurants
There are certain states where it is now impossible to eat at restaurants or fast food outlets at home. It’s great news that so many eateries still cater to takeout orders, as this is a viable way to support neighborhood eateries.
When you want to place an order, don’t automatically go to a fast food joint. Locate nearby eateries and see whether they provide delivery services. When times are bad, many family eateries provide delivery or curbside pickup. On major food delivery systems like DoorDash, you may also find many options from smaller restaurants.
In addition, many jurisdictions are relaxing their rules on the distribution of alcoholic beverages. One easy way to support local establishments and save time is to use Drizly to place alcohol orders online.
It’s worth it to make a minor sacrifice, such as paying a little more for your meal or waiting a little longer for delivery, to ensure the survival of locally owned and operated establishments.
Eat at sit-down establishments inside your own state to give back to the people who run them. Even if you can only afford to go out once a month, it will still help your struggling company and give you a good excuse to get out of the home.
4. Avoid Reduced Service
If you can afford it, keep using the services of a gig worker you’re already using. As more and more people struggle to find regular employment, they must rely on the freelance economy to make ends meet.
Those who use online food ordering services to support local eateries are helping themselves and their communities. It also means greater business for meal delivery services. Ordering groceries online with services like Instacart (here’s our Instacart review) helps boost the gig economy.
And last, if you’re going to pay someone to use Rover to take your dog for a walk, you should expect them to adhere to these rules.
Also, do what you can to keep an online freelancer or helper you’re already working with. A small business owner or an independent contractor can nonetheless make ends meet with the help of this activity, regardless of its location.
Reduce hours before terminating a contract if you must. The more time a gig worker has to find additional sources of income, the better.
5. Use Amazon Storefront and Amazon Handmade if you Use them for Shopping.
Supporting local and independent creators is easy when you shop on Amazon Storefront or Amazon Handmade. Over 50% of Amazon’s product sales are sourced from these companies. This type of business can only sell its wares through Amazon’s Storefront catalog. None of the superstores or department stores are included.
Amazon’s Storefront also makes it simple to back companies run by women, veterans, and other families. You can shop for anything from electronics to books to food to cosmetics to homewares to pet supplies, among many other categories.
Similarly, Amazon Handmade simplifies the process of buying unique creations manufactured by local and international craftspeople. Items such as apparel, toiletries, toys, and home goods are just a few of the categories available.
Even if your order doesn’t qualify for Amazon Prime shipping, switching to the standard shipping option is an easy method to help small and medium-sized businesses out.
6. Be Generous When Tipping
Unfortunately, not everyone can go this route. Nonetheless, if there were ever a time to show appreciation and support for retail workers or gig economy hustlers, it would be now.
When you next order takeout or pay for a service, try leaving a larger tip than usual if at all possible. Someone else might need the money more desperately than you think.
Furthermore, most delivery applications incorporate tipping into the overall online payment process. In this way, you can help those who deliver food without having to interact with them directly.
7. Follow Local Businesses on Social Networking Websites
Many establishments of this size now make use of social media. If you want to keep in touch and find out how they’re handling the COVID-19 social distancing requirements, following them on social media is a great method to do both.
As businesses evolve, they can use social media to spread the word about their brand-spanking new offerings. Perhaps the music school in your area now provides online courses or the gym in your town streams classes live.
Keep abreast with the developments in your area. If you want to help small businesses out when they’re in a bind, you need to be aware of your choices and take appropriate action.
8. Get Family and Friends to Help Out
While it’s important to do what you can to help local businesses survive the pandemic, it’s not enough on its own. Smaller businesses can only survive financially during tough times thanks to the strength of collaborative efforts.
It’s important to rally your loved ones behind your efforts to bolster local entrepreneurs. If you want to help your community, don’t be shy about sharing your enthusiasm for local businesses online or sending out an email to your contacts with information on how they may get involved.
9. Launch a Local Project
Assembling a group of like-minded individuals in your area and organizing a COVID-19 relief effort is a great approach to helping the local economy.
Your contribution can be made in a number of ways, including:
- Organizing a fund-raising effort to save struggling neighborhood businesses
- Helping out with community organizations that may be short on volunteers
- Raffle off local goods and services by stocking up on gift certificates and holding a drawing.
- Making weekly reservations at your favorite restaurants and having a “virtual dinner party” with your pals is a fun new way to spend time together.
A calendar of local business events may also be obtained from the local Chamber of Commerce. Several groups are organizing online meetups, fundraising efforts, and other ways to rally around one another during the pandemic.
10. Share Your Knowledge10. Share Your Knowledge
Support struggling business owners by providing your services for free or at a discount if you run a small company or are a freelancer who serves other companies. If you’re a web designer and some of the shops in your area don’t have internet stores yet, you might offer your services to get them started.
If you’re an accountant, you might do the same thing for other business owners by assisting them with duties like tax preparation and the application process for government aid. There’s no need to volunteer dozens of hours. Each and every one of these details is important.
The whole is larger than the sum of its parts; so goes the old adage. Everybody needs to work together to lessen the impact of COVID-19. To the extent that you can, spend money where you live. One easy way to show appreciation is to leave more generous tips or provide a gift card.
Now more than ever is a good time to make this practice a habit. If you know of someone who is having trouble making ends meet because of the coronavirus, please encourage them to apply for aid or spread the news about employers that are still recruiting.
The most important thing is to stay inside and do your part. The easiest method of reducing the effects of COVID-19 is to practice social distancing, and there are many enjoyable activities that may be done in the comfort of one’s own home.