The COVID-19 pandemic has been slowly hitting our communities. Then one day in March, we were all hit at once. Businesses went dark, some lost their jobs and others shut down entirely with our streets haven’t feeling the same nostalgia since they’ve gone. But how can we support local businesses, and our fellowmen that remain?

Our community’s resilience does rely on the health and the well-being of its members. And while the COVID-19 pandemic has placed us all feeling isolated and at a standstill, there are businesses that are pivoting to remain afloat and provide safe and hygienic services during these hard times.

And the best thing we can do is to support their innovation, and our local economy by thinking, shopping, and buying local first.

WHY SUPPORT LOCAL BUSINESSES

Local businesses are the backbone of the economy. Beyond their size, they are at the helm of ambition and resilient innovations that can push the world forward.

In addition, local businesses create local jobs. As using the statistics gathered by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), MSMEs generate 5.71 million jobs which is more than half (63.19 percent) of the country’s total employment.

Concerning sustainability, local brands often sourced their ingredients and materials locally and ethically. They also have a shorter manufacturer-to-consumer journey which means there is more transparency in their products.

While you may pay more for those goods versus chain retailers, you’re also paying for the peace of mind that comes with ethical production and supporting the economy.

Lastly, large brands cannot compete with the intimacy and the personalized care of small businesses which is very hard to scale. As many of these local business owners launch and fill every role in the business including customer service. 

Small business owners can bend their rules, and even better ones will do more for each shopper just because they know that every single client matters when you’re small.

15 WAYS TO SUPPORT SMALL BUSINESSES WHILE SOCIAL DISTANCING

Remember that local businesses are more than just retail shops. They also include restaurants, hair salons, gas stations and so much more. We encourage you to support local businesses in your area and here are 15 ways to do it. Best of all, not all of them are about making a purchase.

1. Writing A Positive Review

Telling others about the experience you’ve had at a local business is a huge way to support them. The comment that you’ve left could become a deciding factor to someone else who is interested to do business with them for the first time. 

We believe that you also look for reviews before making a buying decision, right? But when was the last time you wrote a review for them? If you have a favorite small business, show your love by posting a comment and tell the world!

In addition, the positive reviews that you leave can also help businesses show up better in search engines. And since customers trust online reviews at around 88% of the time, your ratings can definitely go a long way.

2. Tell Your Friends and Family

The word-of-mouth still holds as one of the most effective factors to contribute to a business success. And one of the most ideal and organic ways for a business to grow is through a referral. 

People do influence people. And nothing influences others more than a recommendation from a trusted friend or family. Your word is worth its weight in gold as is the holy grail of advertising. It creates trust and builds the reputation of your local business.

If you can, do take the time to refer a local business to your friends and family. As this act encourages and increases the number of people that visit them. And it also gives your favorite local business the sign that it is performing rather well. 

Trust us! They are listening to you and would want to know if they are doing the right things and learn more on how to improve their services.

 3. Follow Them On Social Media

Have you followed your favorite local business on social media? If you love and are happy with their services and products that they’ve provided, show them that you are interested in hearing more from them by liking their social media accounts.

Liking their social media accounts is a great way to stay updated with their latest offers and promotions. And as people are spending more and more time on their mobile devices or the internet. It means there are more eyes on social media pages that you can use to highlight their offers and share them to your friends and family.

4. Engage With Their Posts

After you’ve followed your local businesses social media accounts. Don’t forget to like, comment, and share the contents they’ve posted.

As millennials are gaining more and more purchasing power. Social media for your local business is no longer just about promoting their products. They are also an important customer service platform that your local business will refer to. 

And with an actively following and engaging social media account, it can help them build their audience, create content, and offers for their existing and potential customers.

5. Give Them A ShoutOut

Of course, you can do more than just sharing their content. You can take your support to the next level by giving local businesses a shout out. Take a photo of a finished product that you’ve received and tagged the local business on your timeline. 

This help can help new audiences to see and judge the services for themselves and may push others to give their services a try.

People do listen to and trust the connections they have in any given circle of social media. You don’t have to be an influencer to give support to your local business. As any shout outs equals exposure. And exposure equals the chance for a follow or purchasing opportunity to get your business. 

So for marketers and content creators, they give value and importance to your content as exposure is difficult to understate.

6. Sign Up For Their Newsletter

Have you tried signing up for a newsletter? Now, we know what you might be thinking and that is “I don’t want to receive a sales pitch in my email.”

None of us do.

However, this isn’t what a newsletter is supposed to be. While yes, newsletters are marketing messages but they aren’t always about “selling”. 

While newsletters in definition are short articles that can give you helpful information like news, promotions, and offers within the business. They can also be a way for businesses owners to notify you if they’re still running their services especially during this crisis.

They can also use this method to inform you how they are pivoting and how they are applying special measures to ensure your safety or when they are planning to open again.

7. Consider Curbside Pickup or Delivery

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to avoid public spaces. And while some of the restaurants and bars you’ve frequented to didn’t offer takeout before. They might have started doing so in order to keep their employees safe and their business afloat.

Ordering takeouts now is one of the best ways to support restaurants or other niches that offer deliveries. Provided that you also wash your hands thoroughly before and after receiving the items, there is no cause to be concerned over COVID-19 contamination.

Also, if you are not in the mood to cook, you can definitely treat yourself while supporting these local restaurants. But also make sure to order directly from the restaurant themselves so that they don’t have to pay costly cuts for the third-party delivery services.

In the end, ordering takeout doesn’t just help our lives feel a little more normal, it helps put our economy back to work.

8. Shop Local Online

Before you make a purchase on Shoppee or Lazada, take the time to consider a local nearby business before hitting ‘buy’.

There are plenty of local businesses that would be more than happy to take your order and deliver them to you. As a matter of fact, there are already plenty of them that are operating online and by phone now.

And if they are anywhere near your area, you will also be able to receive your products faster and save time than when you order them from an online megastore.

But of course, we aren’t asking too much.

Just take a few seconds to search online whether there are products that you need that are offered near you. Rather than going directly to these e-commerce platforms. 

Remember, to truly help the local businesses in our community. We need to try to be as thoughtful as possible as to where we invest our money.

9. Buy Gift Cards

If the quarantine has kept you from visiting a local business but you are itching to avail their services when you can. Consider buying a gift card as these can literally keep local businesses afloat.

Think about it.

There had been a lot of local businesses that missed out on life-sustaining revenues from the holidays, mother’s day, and even graduations for this year. And while it may seem like a small amount, buying a gift card can inject some cash directly into the local business.

Even if you aren’t able to visit them at the moment. You are giving them a vote of confidence on a gift card to use when everything returns to normal. And give you something to look forward to after all of this is over.

10. Don’t Cancel, Reschedule!

During stressful times like these, each of us could definitely go for a morale boost. While we may not know what tomorrow would look like, know that everything is temporary and this too shall pass.

But for your local business in the area, they may understand your missed reservations and skipped services. However, these instances can be stressful to a local business owner and it’s employees. They may even end up closing for good thinking that no one is interested in their services anymore.

But you can help them maintain positivity by rescheduling your appointments instead of dropping them altogether. Or you can also ask what other options do they have that they can offer.

Although we don’t know how long this situation will last, postponing appointments will let local businesses continue to fight knowing that they do have customers who are ready to jump back once this situation passes.

11. Subscribe To Online Classes 

If you’ve been attending fitness classes, yoga, creative writing, singing or any offline classes before the pandemic, and you these businesses have pivoted to providing online content. Take it!

The business might be earning less however, it is still generating income for them and your participation in it can show your support and solidarity. 

In addition, this will also divert the built-up stress and anxiety into a healthy lifestyle where you keep on moving and are productive even during a crisis.

12. Don’t Forget Our Farmers

It’s not only our local restaurants that need our help. Our local farmers are also undeniably feeling the impact of this crisis, and the panic that it has ensued.

If you are heading to the market to fill your freezer with produce, consider balancing your visit to the supermarket and farmer’s market.

There are a lot of farmers that are left with unsold products and besides, local market food means that there are less trips to the store, supports our community and an ensured source of fresh products.

13. Pay In Advance

If you have the means to pay ahead for the goods or activities that you regularly use such as cleaning services, dance classes, or even landscape and gardening. Help them by paying in advance.

Even if the area you work in states that it isn’t safe to bring in-home cleaners or childcare back to work. But by paying them early might when it won’t break your budget, might just make a huge difference in theirs.

14. Don’t Ask For Discount

If you have the means to pay ahead for the goods or activities that you regularly use such as cleaning services, dance classes, or even landscape and gardening. Help them by paying in advance.

Even if the area you work in states that it isn’t safe to bring in-home cleaners or childcare back to work. But by paying them early might when it won’t break your budget, might just make a huge difference in theirs.

15. Blog For Those Small Businesses

Do you love to blog? If you do, you might want to consider featuring your favorite small businesses in your next post. 

A blog is a compilation of your thoughts, facts, and expert opinions that are related to the business, the industry and its audience.

Although this initiative is about showing your support to your local business, you are also getting some benefits such as increasing your own brand’s visibility and reach especially if the local businesses you’ve written about would promote your blog in their social media account (which they usually do). 

Just don’t forget to include great photos and their social media links to their websites so that your readers can easily visit these local businesses websites.

16. Give Thanks

Our Local business owners and it’s employees are facing a lot of challenges during this difficult time. This can include staffing, covering their open hours, overseeing the marketing, inventory, and future operations.

They are doing a lot for their customers in order to continue serving them/us better. Let’s show them our appreciation by following their guidelines and thanking the staff for being there.

If you can, tip generously especially to our delivery workers who are risking their lives to bring us the products that we need. They are facing a lot of reduced hours and slow sales. So when you can, don’t forget that tip.

You Can Make a Huge Impact on the Small Businesses in Your Area 

The suggestions we’ve mentioned above are useful even after the COVID-19 pandemic has passed. And at the end of each day, it’s totally free to give our favorite local businesses a shout-out on social media, leave them a kind review, or motivate them up through word-of-mouth. 

Let’s work together and continue to show your support for our local businesses as they need our help now, more than ever. These actions may also look small but it’s the first step and our way of showing our support for them. 

Do you have any more tips that you want to add to the list? Share them on our Facebook accounts so that we can update this list. Your help will be greatly appreciated!

If these tips were helpful to you, don’t forget to share them with others!

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