COVID-19 has taken over every part of our lives at this point. We’re not going out to eat, we’re not having parties, kids aren’t going to school, we’re not shopping in retail stores, we’re not planning for events. We’re staying home, as we should be. (I’m not here to lecture you, but I will say to WASH YOUR HANDS, and take social distancing seriously!)
Because of these major lifestyle changes, business are shutting down left and right. So many industries have stopped work altogether or have drastically slowed down on incoming work. Some companies are able to be creative and adapt, offering online services or delivery, or allowing employees to work from home. For others, this unfortunately isn’t an option.
I wanted to put together a list of ways to help out small businesses and support them through this time. This isn’t industry-specific, and not everything will apply to every industry. I had asked small business owners to chime in on an Instagram post a few days ago, and am sharing some of the ideas I got from there as well.
- Purchase a gift card to your favorite shops, salons, or restaurants. When they’re open to the public again, you can treat yourself to a pre-paid visit!
- From Projects in Person (in MN)- workshop calendars are live through the summer, so you can book a slot ahead of time for a few months from now!
- From Dwellings Real Estate, LLC: if you’re thinking about selling or buying, you can still pre-book appointments or reach out for a home market valuation. “Plan ahead because our typically super busy spring market is going to be a little delayed… but then it will be craziness!” Bonus idea: you can also take the time while you’re quarantined to get your house ready to sell!
- Does being cooped up inside make you think a little harder about the home updates you’d like to make? Many interior designers are offering virtual design services (including myself!). You can also book a virtual consultation, or pre-book an in-home consultation for later this spring or summer.
- Local shops may still be open and able to take orders & payment via phone. Call ahead, place an order, and pop over to pick it up (no-contact, of course!).
- From @birdieandgrace via Instagram: “My husband works for Lunds & Byerlys. He’s killing himself to keep his store stocked and running. Please say a little prayer for him and all the people who must continue to work, for the benefit of everyone else!” Prayers help, but also only buy what you need for a couple of weeks! Panic buying strains the stores and potentially increases the risk of exposure. Think about it: your elderly grandparents go to buy toilet paper but can’t find any. They go to 3 other stores and still can’t find any. They decide to go back in two days and it takes 3 stores before they find some. They’re increasing their exposure risk with every store they go to, all because other people “panic bought” all of the toilet paper. Even better than shopping in store is shopping online: utilize an app or delivery service to have your groceries delivered or at least ready for you to pick up!
- Write positive reviews online on Google or Yelp! This is free and only takes a minute or two per place you review. So many businesses rely on reviews to increase their visibility and client traffic. I’m leaving reviews for local shops, restaurants, breweries, and trades I’ve used!
- Scroll Instagram and ENGAGE! This is another simple, free action and can mean so much. There are tons of businesses and shops that use Instagram as their main method of advertising. The more follows, comments, and shares they receive, the more clients or sales they have.
- Buy something online! Whether it’s from Instagram, Etsy, or the shop’s website, now more than ever, shops are thrilled to make sales- especially if they also have a brick & mortar shop that is shuttered.
- Subscribing to email lists or reading blog posts, or pinning from a blog post also goes a long way for small businesses or bloggers. Subscribing to an email list lets the business or person know that you want to continue to see their content, and you’ll be the first to know about any new products, projects, or plans. Reading blog posts and pinning helps drive traffic to their website, so that they can make money in whatever form they do (advertisements, affiliate links, products, services, etc.).
- Check in on your small-business friends! A simple text or email asking how they’re holding up and letting them know you’re here for them can mean the world!
- Pre-book a service. Are you getting married in the next year? Book your photographer now! Are you looking to have landscaping done this summer? Book your landscaper now! We’re hiring out drywall in our basement and plan on booking our drywall company this week!
- Order delivery or takeout from a local restaurant. Many restaurants are still staying open for delivery or takeout orders. Order via a delivery app or right through the restaurant’s website. Be sure to tip well!
Those are just a few ideas to get you started. Comment below with any other ideas! We’re all in this together- community overcomes COVID!