Are you eager to support your favourite small businesses over the next few weeks and months? This week, we want to highlight some of the best ways to do so. The COVID-19 pandemic is wreaking havoc on the economic fabric of Canadian society. These impacts are especially dramatic for small business owners. While some businesses are eligible for financial support from the federal government, some won’t be as fortunate. Moreover, for those who are eligible to receive financial support, there is still uncertainty as to how far-reaching the effects of COVID-19 will be on businesses over the long-term.
Why Support the ‘Little Guy’?
“When you buy from a small business, an actual person does a little happy dance!" You’ve probably seen this quote on a sidewalk sandwich board outside a small business. Small business owners have a very special place in our communities. Not only are they vital to the economy, they are the heart of society. Small business owners and employees go the extra mile to develop relationships with their customers, because even in the best of times, that support makes all the difference. During this economic downturn, we are especially concerned about the well-being and resiliency of our small business colleagues. In solidarity to support them, we’ve summarized some of our favourite tips on how to support small businesses during COVID-19 below.
1. Need Something? Find a Local Option
Rather than defaulting to shopping on Amazon, take a minute to find a small or local business near you that supplies what it is you’re looking for. If you find a local option but delivery or pick-up isn’t available, take a moment to consider whether or not that item is absolutely essential to you right now. If it isn’t, wait until you can access that item (while respecting public health protocols), while still supporting a small or local business. As much as you can, try and resist going for the quickest option like Amazon.
2. Buy Gift Cards
You’ve probably heard this a million times, and for good reason. Buying gift cards from your favourite small businesses will help them maintain some revenue in the meantime. If you have a friend or family member’s birthday coming up, consider giving them a gift card to one of their favourite small businesses.
3. Tip Generously
If you’re like us, you’ve probably been leaning into ordering more takeout food (we all need something to look forward to!). This is obviously a great way to support local restaurants and cafés. Even with takeout options, though, revenue is still severely limited without dine-in options and likely most of the wait and kitchen staff has been laid off. Consider tipping the restaurant and delivery person a bit extra than you normally would. A little bit of kindness can go a long way.
4. Leave Good Reviews
If you’re financially strapped, one way you can support your favourite businesses is by leaving them 5-star reviews online. Good reviews make a huge difference on Google rankings. You can also follow them on their social media platforms, and share their profiles with your following to increase their reach.
5. Ask Them!
If you’re still not sure how best to support your favourite café or vintage clothing store, it never hurts to ask them how you can best support them. Reaching out to check in with them could make all the difference in the world.
Are You a Small Business?
Now is the time to expand your online reach and offerings through gift cards, delivery, loyalty points and reaching out directly to your local customers. If you have a Shopify website, they are now including gift cards in all plans right now—you can learn more here. Are you offering delivery or curb-side pickups? That’s a great way to expand your reach while maintaining social distancing. If you have a loyalty points program, consider running a promotion to entice your customers to engage and buy. Finally, encourage people to shop for YOU! There is no shame in tooting your horn every now and then—chances are, your followers will be happy to have an excuse to do some more online shopping!