7 Ways You Can Support Local Businesses During Crisis

During a crisis, we all face our own problems and it becomes increasingly hard to think of the problems of others, especially when we are isolated within our own homes. However, we have to remember that despite us not being able to see each other, we are not alone and we are still part of a community. That being said, as part of a community and space that we will eventually share and enjoy again, we have to help those in our communities who are at risk of not making it out of this crisis, like small local businesses. These businesses are struggling and need the support of those in the community to keep them afloat. These businesses serve as landmarks to unique communities and have grown with those in it. They hold irreplaceable memories, are owned by those who we consider neighbors, and have become stops on our maps home. Here are a few ways we can all work to support our own local businesses and make sure we all make it home safe and out of this crisis:

  1. 1. Search For Their Online Stores And Services

    online shopping with credit card

    One of the best ways to support a local small business is to take advantage of their online stores and services. You will be surprised by how many local businesses have created an online platform in responses to this pandemic, so do not assume that they do not have one just because they did not in the past. Do your research, but be patient. Many of these businesses’ websites are new and still being worked on so there may be some kinks to work out. That being said, offer feedback to them and let them know what you had difficulty with on their site. They want to hear your feedback and do better to make their site as easy as going into the business and doing it yourself. If you happen to have some experience creating an online store, or know some way you can help (maybe with graphics, the photography of the products or by providing reviews), offer your services. Many of these businesses have a small staff and they may be new to the idea of an online store. Speak up and lend a hand.

  2. 2. Direct Message And Make The First Move

    Even if not all local businesses have online stores, they may still have some sort of media presence. If your favorite small businesses have their own social media accounts, like on Facebook or Instagram, do not be afraid to “stalk” a bit. Go through pictures they have posted, both past and present, as well as pictures that they have been tagged in. See the products they have displayed and the items people have showcased in the past after buying. After finding something that you love, direct message the business and request this item. Most businesses will find some way to get that item to you, by either dropping it off, allowing you to pick it up or holding it for you to pick up at a later time after you purchase it. You can also look back at the items you or your friends have purchased and loved in the past, send a picture or write a description to them, and request one for yourself or a friend. This can work for items, stores and restaurants.

  3. 3. Spread Social Media Love

    hand holding cell phone with social media apps open

    Share your experiences with these businesses on your social media accounts and become an advocate for small businesses. Post pictures of items you have loved, link their websites on your posts and mention the many ways your followers can support the small businesses you have grown up loving. Just because it is a local small business does not mean everyone in the local town may be familiar with it, and now is the perfect time to introduce it to them. People are all over social media right now, looking for things to keep them entertained at home, so it is the best platform to spread news. Do not be afraid to use it to your advantage and spam all your friends!

  4. 4. Take-Out For A Night In

    Order take-out from restaurants and stores. Many businesses are still open but are serving their customers outside or through windows, and have created new methods of serving their customers quickly and efficiently. In these cases, be sure to know what you want in advance so as to not create lines or crowds outside the business. These businesses are only allowed to do this so long as it abides by social distancing, so be sure to keep that in mind before picking up your items. Also, take an extra step and offer to pick up for a friend. This will minimize the amount of people in one space at a time and draw more business in from those who may have not been familiar with the business before and from those who may be too vulnerable to go outside at all.

  5. 5. Work With What You Can Do For Them

    friends road trip california fall break windows down music

    Not all stores and restaurants may be aware of how willing their customers are to keep supporting their favorite local businesses. Don’t be afraid to reach out and offer to pick up items yourself at whatever location is most convenient for the business. For some, it may be safer to work at home, especially if they use public transportation to get to work. Take the steps and drive the drive so they don’t have to. During this time, we all need to be willing to make the extra effort. Some restaurants who run into this problem may not have the workers or space to make all their products in their stores so also suggest buying “DIY” packs. I love the cookies my local bakery makes, but they had to send most of their workers home in an effort to socially distance. In response, they made DIY cookie kits where you are given a sugar cookie and frosting in a box to do it yourself at home. This cures boredom and hunger! It also makes for a great gift that you can ship to friends and that can be shipped by the business as well.

  6. 6. Give In Advance: Rescheduling and Gift-Cards

    Be sure to buy gift cards and vouchers and reschedule and book future appointments/events where you can. Now is the time that businesses need your financial support so, even if you cannot do anything now, give what you can through a gift card or by rescheduling instead of cancelling. For example, local amusement parks host many events like birthday parties and office parties which have all been cancelled during this time and have resulted in a huge loss of revenue. Rather than cancelling, allow businesses like these to keep your money and reschedule your event for later. See if local businesses also offer gift cards or vouchers that you can buy now and use later.

  7. 7. Take A Break From Corporations

    New York

    Please do not support large companies that already make so much of their business online and have likely benefited from this crisis. Do what you can, where you can by researching what your local businesses can provide and how. Amazon does not count as a local business and I promise you it will still be there when this crisis passes. That “two-day delivery” is not worth it if it means losing a small business that you have grown up loving. Before going to the typical corporations for your essentials, explore how you can find them in the place you grew up, provided to you by the people you grew up with. Do not be afraid to FIND small businesses and services you never knew your local town had, but whose storefront you may have always passed. Just because you didn’t grow up as a customer there, does not mean you cannot amake a change and become a regular during a time when that is just what these businesses need.

This is the time where communities have to be willing to take the extra step, rather than the convenient one, in order to keep their local businesses afloat. Every little thing counts. Reach out to your local businesses, find new ones and reconnect with your community during a crisis that already makes connections so hard to keep.