How to Help Local Businesses During COVID-19
Though times are tough and nearly everyone is feeling the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people want to help where they can. One of the more common suggestions for helping is to support small businesses. The problem, though, is figuring out the best way to support a small business that works for the business and for you.
We’ve got some suggestions for supporting small businesses. While some of these suggestions include financial support, we’ve come up with a few non-monetary suggestions, as well.
11 Ways You Can Help Local Businesses During the Pandemic
1. Buy Gift Cards
Buying gift cards is a great way to support a local small business. It’s money that the owner can use right now for expenses. What’s more, when people shop with gift cards, they are likely to spend more than just the gift card, providing even more cash to the business. And, if that small business is operating online right now, that influx of cash could come sooner rather than later.
2. Buy Local
Shopping is a bit of a chore these days. But, when you are shopping, try to buy local when you can. Lots of grocery stores and national chains carry local goods. They may be harder to find, but when you see local products, you may want to consider supporting those brands.
If you’re shopping virtually, you may not find local products online at larger stores. Instead, check directly with the business. Many small businesses have pivoted to online shopping, so you can buy directly from them. And, even if they don’t offer online shopping, the business may accept phone orders, so give them a call.
3. Pay for Future Appointments
No one knows when exactly businesses will completely reopen. As a result, many employees in certain fields aren’t earning an income right now (i.e., the beauty field).
As independent contractors, they may be eligible for some unemployment assistance, but that may not make up for the income they are losing out on right now. To show your support, consider booking and paying for a future appointment right now. However, before you do, double-check with that person to make sure your payment won’t affect any unemployment they might be receiving.
4. Have a Virtual Appointment
Along those same lines, while you may not be able to see your favorite stylist in person, that doesn’t mean you can’t have an appointment. Many people in the beauty industry are offering virtual appointments to help you keep up with some of your grooming.
And, a lot of salons are also offering DIY kits with virtual appointments, so you can dye your hair at home or give yourself a manicure. It’s not the same as having a pro do it, but it is another way to help out small businesses and independent contractors.
5. Help Your Helpers
Dog walkers, housekeepers, and other household workers are struggling right now, too. With more people at home right now doing the things they used to outsource, many household workers have seen their income and businesses evaporate.
Whenever possible, offer to help your helpers any way you can. An extra tip, paying for groceries, or even a small gift card so they can purchase essentials will be appreciated during these uncertain times.
6. Farmers Market Season – Online
It’s heading toward peak farmers market season. However, no one is sure what farmer’s markets will look like in the near future. But that doesn’t mean you have to go without your favorite fresh foods.
Some farmer’s markets have gone virtual. Instead of hitting your favorite vendors in person, browse online, place your order, and pick up on the designated day and time or opt for delivery.
Some small farms have pivoted, too. Instead of heading for the market, they’re selling directly to you. Consider buying a box or two to lend your support. Or, buy a share in a farmer’s co-op and get a box of produce delivered to you every month during harvest season.
7. Take Virtual Classes
Many teachers and coaches are offering their classes for free, and that’s great. But, consider paying them for the class. Like others, they may be hurting, so offer a tip when you can or even subscribe to an online version of their class.
8. Support Others Online
There are plenty of Go Fund Me campaigns right now to help small businesses and their employees. Contribute if you can. Or, if a cash donation is out of the question, organize a fundraising campaign instead. It’s free and easy to do.
Don’t have the time to organize and run a campaign? That’s OK. Shout out all the small business campaigns you know about. Spread the word on social media as often as you can.
Volunteering is, as always, a free way for you to give back and support your community. You could volunteer at the local food pantry or even the animal shelter. However, that may not be a great idea for you right now. So, volunteer your skills instead.
Consider fixing up a small business’s website. Maybe your favorite local restaurant is open, but the menu isn’t online or it doesn’t work on mobile devices. If you’ve got the skills, offer to help update–or even create–a website that can help that restaurant get more orders.
Maybe you’re a social media marketing ninja. Offer your services to organizations that are hurting. Create a social marketing campaign that helps raise awareness of a cause or small business that needs help and support.
10. Put Your Crafting Skills to Work
If you’ve got the time and the skills, consider making and donating fabric masks. Many small businesses need fabric masks for staff. A fresh supply can help stretch the time between laundry cycles and make the masks last longer.
11. Leave Positive Reviews
If you’ve got the time right now, show your support and leave positive reviews about your favorite small business anywhere and everywhere you can.
How You Can Help Local Businesses During COVID-19
Anything we can do right now will go a long way toward supporting local businesses in the future.
Among other organizations, FlexJobs is proud to support the Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation and their COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund during these times.
Photo Credit: bigstockphoto.com
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Rachel Pelta is a Content Coordinator for FlexJobs. With professional experience in job placement and as a manager, she creates content to help people succeed in their job search, and to help managers get the best out of their staff.…Read More >
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