These are difficult times.
Especially for small businesses.
The economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic is impossible to ignore, with some experts predicting up to 15,000 store closures in the US and three million employees getting laid off because of it.
Many small businesses are already feeling the impact of the situation and the worst is yet to come.
For those of us who are in a position to do so, it’s absolutely essential that we come together to help out businesses in need. Now is the time to be generous and supportive of those in our community who are struggling to stay afloat.
Maybe you’re wanting to help, but you’re not totally sure how. So we’ve gone ahead and compiled a list of 10 things you can do to support local and small businesses in your life during the coronavirus pandemic.
Because everyone needs a little extra love and support right now.
1. Shop at Local Markets Instead of Mass Retailers
It’s tempting to walk into your local mass retailer and buy what you need. But the truth is, many of these larger retailers are able to make it through times like these, while the smaller stores are not.
If the option is available to you, choose to shop at your small, local markets instead of mass retailers. This can apply to everything from food, to toiletries, to whatever other household items that you need. You may even find that they’re better stocked and less crowded than larger stores due to the decreased foot traffic. That equates to a safer shopping experience for everyone.
Wander into that unfamiliar market in your community and show some support to the small business owners that are doing their best during this very unusual time.
2. Order Take-Out and Delivery
Perhaps you’d rather not venture out to your local market. Choose to have your food delivered to you instead. This could be groceries or meals from restaurants that are still offering takeaway and delivery.
Restaurants have been hit particularly hard bythe coronavirus pandemic, with some having to shut their doors entirely. Those who haven’t are still experiencing a significant drop in revenue and are relying primarily on take-out and delivery orders to keep them going.
Take a break from cooking for a night and order a meal from one of your favorite restaurants instead. It’s a small way to ensure that that place you love will still be around to serve you delicious food post-pandemic.
You can even use Moola to buy a gift card for your favorite restaurants before you order. You’ll get bonuses and deals on the gift cards you buy, which translates to more savings.
That way, you can save money while supporting the restaurants you love.
3. Tip Generously
Not everyone can work from home. Many people such as taxi drivers, restaurant staff, and delivery services are working hard to ensure you have what you need.
To show support and appreciation for their efforts, consider offering, consider offering a generous tip with your meal. Think of it as a donation to the staff that are working tirelessly to provide you with food.
The overhead of the restaurant business is so high to begin with, that any bit of extra money that comes their way is helpful. Tipping restaurants directly when you make an order is a great way to show your support.
And of course, we can’t forget about the delivery drivers who are putting their health at risk to bring you what you need.
In fact, food delivery drivers are some of the most vulnerable people in this pandemic. Support them by choosing no contact food options (food left at the door) and tipping as much as you’re comfortably able to. Many of these individuals rely on this money to make ends meet, and a little extra tip can go a long way for them.
They deserve it.
4. Order Online
Another option for supporting non-food providing services is to order their goods online.
Many non-essential stores have been forced to close due to health concerns around COVID-19. Here in Vancouver, most of the city has shut down, with only essential stores such as grocery stores, veterinary clinics, and pharmacies remaining open.
This makes it difficult for say, a boutique clothing company to bring in the revenue they need to keep moving forward.
Do some research online and see if any of your favorite small businesses are taking online orders. You may not be able to walk into the store and pick out a pair of socks, but you could get them delivered to your doorstep in a few days.
Not only will you be keeping yourself safe, but you’ll also be putting money into the hands of people who could really use it.
5. Buy Gift Cards Now to Use Later
With more people self-isolating and social distancing, many small businesses are suffering considerably.
Rents need to be paid, employees need to be supported, and with a lot of small businesses operating month to month, it’s incredibly difficult to make ends meet right now.
A great way to show your support is by buying gift cards now that can be used at a later date. This gives companies the money they need immediately, regardless of whether or not they’re currently able to meet the needs of their customers.
We offer gift cards from tons of local businesses in Canada , all available electronically right on your phone. Buy an eGift card with Moola to support your local favorites. They’ll get the money they need to make it through another day, and you’ll get a bonus on every gift card you buy.
Help us help small businesses. Download Moola and buy a gift card today.
6. Don’t Ask For a Refund
Artists, freelancers, and performers are small businesses too. They rely on the work they put out to make a living, and with theatre tours and book tours being cancelled, many are left in a difficult financial situation.
Forgo the refund on that theatre performance if you can. It’ll put money in the pockets of the performers that you want to support.
You could also see if the individual or company is able to work with you and provide compensation in other ways. For example, some music festivals are offering cool perks in lieu of a refund, including admission into next year’s festival as a VIP.
Broadway Across Canada sent an email to their ticket holders, providing them with different options following the early cancellation of their season, like a credit worth 110% of the ticket you purchased.
It may not be the ideal situation for you, but it does help ensure that these people and organizations are able to make it through another month.
7. Practice Social Distancing
This is something that everyone can do, no matter your financial situation. Small business owners that are still operating are currently at risk of contracting the coronavirus during the pandemic. They are still commuting to work and still coming face-to-face with individuals all day, every day.
The best thing to do for their health is to limit the amount of contact with them that you can. Stay home, even if you are feeling well since infected people may not have any symptoms for many days. Staying home helps mitigate the spread of the virus, which lessons the impact on our healthcare system so that people who need treatment can receive it.
If hospitals reach over capacity, and healthcare workers become sick themselves, then the situation will become more worse.
If you do go into a store, use hand sanitizer before and after touching things and give people plenty of space.
It may seem like things like social distancing don’t matter, but they make a huge difference in keeping yourself and store employees healthy.
Sometimes, going into stores are unavoidable. Be cautious, be smart, and do everything you can to ensure that those working, including small business owners themselves, are kept safe.
8. Reschedule Your Appointments
Non-essential services like waxing, hair, and nail salons have all been forced to close in BC. Support these places by rescheduling your appointments and pre-paying or allowing them to keep your deposit, as opposed to cancelling.
This will ensure they have business once they re-open and will also give them some much needed cash flow in the meantime.
You can also see if there are alternatives available, For example, if you’re receiving tutoring services or lessons from an individual or small business, see if they’re willing or able to offer their services virtually.
Many small businesses want to work with you to meet your needs during this time. So if it’s possible to do it online, see if it’s an option. That way, you’ll both win.
9. Continue Your Gym, Yoga, and Fitness Memberships
Most gyms, yoga studios, and boutique fitness studios have been forced to close amid this pandemic, and the reasoning is sound.
This has prompted many individuals to cancel or suspend their memberships temporarily. Unfortunately, with such high operating costs, it can be hard for studios to remain open without money coming in from these memberships.
Consider keeping your gym membership while studios are closed. It’s a nice way of showing your support to the studios that have supported you through your own health journey.
To compensate, many gyms are even making home workouts available for free. Some are offering free home workout apps, while others are live-streaming daily workouts on social media platforms.
Find out if your gym and their trainers have any home workout offerings and consider keeping your membership as a way to say thank you.
Finally, you can always donate to small businesses that are struggling. It’s a selfless way of saying we care, and we support you.
Reach out to some of your favorite local and small businesses and see what you can do to help them. Donations can be in the form of money, time, or products, depending on what they need.
Bonus: Help Yourself
You personally may be working for a company that is, or will soon to be, experiencing a loss of revenue. As the future of this pandemic is riddled with uncertainty, it’s important to do what you can to help yourself.
One of the ways you can ensure your job security is to go beyond your normal job function and help out in another department. This may require you to learn a new skill, step outside of your comfort zone, work extra hours, and show empathy. By proving your value and dedication, it will make it harder for your employer to look at you as dispensable.
As many companies have implemented a work from home policy, now is not the time to think you’re on vacation and stop working hard. Wake up early, work late, eliminate distractions, and don’t take two-hour lunches.
Support Each Other During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Everyone is struggling during the pandemic.
Now is the time to come together to support those who need help the most.
Consider supporting the local small businesses in your life. The only way we’ll be able to get through these times is if we join forces and do what we can to help each other out.
Download Moola and buy a digital gift card for your favorite local and small businesses to use at a later date. You’ll get a bonus on every gift card you buy, and they’ll get the money the rely on to keep their businesses operating.
Everyone needs a little extra love right now. Be a part of the solution with Moola.