Social Distancing right now is the right thing to do, but the small businesses need our help now more than ever. Here are a few creative ways to lend your support without risking your health.
1. Get delivery.
Most restaurants and shops have stepped up with options like delivery or curbside pickup so you can minimize contact with humans. If you can afford it, commit to ordering in a few meals this week.
2. Buy a gift card.
Businesses need cash flow right now, and the easiest way to help them out is to buy some gift cards to use down the road.
Stock up on cards from local shops to hand out as gifts in the future. It may be hard to believe, but Mother’s Day, birthdays and Teacher Appreciation Week are still going to happen this year.
3. Buy Small Business Merchandise
Some small businesses carry their own brand merchandise, such as drinkware, apparel, and souvenirs. This is also a great option to support a small business. You may be able to see their collection of items online through a website or Facebook page, and even though they may not sell anything online, (if they do, choose that option and have it shipped to your house), that will buy time to choose a style and then just go into the store to pay and pick up the item of your preference. Get your gift-shopping done now when it can make a huge impact on a struggling local business.
4. Tip like a boss.
It’s a hard time to be a delivery driver because not only are they likely working fewer hours, they’re getting fewer tips from their nonexistent customers. If you can afford it, make someone’s day with a massive tip.
5. Online Review
Give a shout-out to your favorite local businesses by leaving them an online review on Yelp, Google, or Facebook — Be honest! You always meant to do that but never had time for it. While you’re at it, follow all your favorite businesses and artists online and share their social content. This is also a nice way to say thank you and to let them know that you see them and you're thinking of them. A little compassion and connection right now go a long way.
6. Keep paying the people who work for you.
If you’re taking self-quarantine seriously, you’ve canceled the piano lessons and sent the housekeeper and the tutors away. But that doesn’t mean you should stop paying them. If you can afford it, keep the economy afloat.
7. Reach out to government leaders to ask for help.
You know your town/city better than anyone that never lived there. Get serious about boosting local businesses through this crisis; email your legislators and ask them to help small businesses. The economics of small businesses and workers who are out of jobs will definitely impact your community.
We only want to shut down COVID-19, so let’s make sure we don’t shut down small businesses as well. With potentially weeks’ worth of lost income, the local businesses that are so integral to the fabric and character of our communities may not have the margin to survive.