5 Ways to Support Small Businesses Through Tough Times

Even if a small business has internalized the value of expecting the unexpected, there are a number of uncontrollable external factors that can hit their business – hard. Millions of local businesses are currently grappling with the economic impacts of COVID-19 pandemic.

While you may not be able to visit your favorite coffee shop or nearby bookstore at the moment due to social distancing, here are 5 ways that you can ‘show up’ and show your support for small businesses – right from your couch.

⁠1. Share the love on social media

It’s hard to find a small business nowadays that isn’t investing time and effort in building their social media presence – 75% of U.S. businesses are projected to use Instagram in 2020. Engaging with your favorite local brand’s social content can go a long way. While this is always true – it’s especially pertinent now, as millions of quarantined individuals are spending most of their time online, with iPhone screen times at all-time high.

So get tapping: a like, share – or even better, a comment or save – will be greatly appreciated by the small biz. You can also take this social engagement to the next level by sharing your own content. Create a post or story about your personal experience visiting the business or share how their product/service has positively impacted your life. By doing this, you’ll be increasing their brand awareness – and subsequently, their sales. Encourage your followers to give a shoutout to their favorite small businesses on their own pages as well.

2. Leave a positive review

Positive reviews online build credibility and trust for small businesses – 78% of consumers in the U.S. read reviews before making a purchase decision! Plus, leaving one will take you no more than 5 minutes, max. Pro tip: Reach out to the small business owner you’d like to support to confirm what their desired review platform is (Facebook, Yelp etc.)⁠

3. Shop online

Shop the website of your favorite small business instead of ordering products from bigger brands or mass suppliers. Purchasing gift cards is a great gesture as well. Even if it’s unclear at this time as to when you’ll be able to redeem it, by buying one, you’ll be supplying the business with immediate revenue.

Additionally, many small businesses have begun to offer virtual sessions – from painting lessons conducted by instructors via Zoom to Instagram Live storytime sessions organized by local bookstores. Consider signing up for one – both to support the small business and to give yourself something fun and enriching to do from home. Canada-based @bohemianblissyoga has recently moved to a virtual business model:

4. Stock up on local food

Instead of stocking up on staples at a big-brand supermarket, visit your local market or order a delivery from them. Additionally, ordering takeout from nearby eateries is a great way to support them now that patrons are no longer able to dine in restaurants (plus, you won’t need to cook dinner so everybody wins!). ⁠

5. Reach out!

Check in with a small business owner or employee you’re connected with and ask them how they’re doing. While this might seem simple, sharing kind, genuine words is a surefire way to boost their morale.

If you’re a small business owner, check out our guide: 3 Ways Small Businesses Can Use Social Media to Survive Difficult Times.

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