Many small businesses are being forced to close because of the panic pandemic that is sweeping up the world and which the United States has recently been pulled into. Focus on Solutions is one of the values we hold dear here at The Gents Place, and we want to share some of those solutions to help our neighbors and friends who are part of the small business community and are being impacted by actions far beyond the control of any of us.
Gift Cards and Gift Certificates
Not every business is built for curbside pickup. Haircuts, for example, don’t fit that model at all! For those businesses that cannot stay open in any format, consider buying gift cards or gift certificates to use later. This crisis will pass, and you will need these products and services anyway. By buying now, you provide these small businesses with urgently needed cash flow and will give them more options for how to best weather this storm.
The same goes for tutors or music teachers and the like. Consider continuing to pay them and bank the lessons for later, or explore the possibility of working together virtually via a medium like Zoom or Skype.
Focus on Local
A lot of people tend to panic buy at the large big box retailers, but those companies, in all likelihood, have the cash and credit lines to weather an extended crisis. Many small businesses do not. Look to them first, whether they be for daily necessities or household goods. By focusing on your local small businesses you are doing your own part to making sure your community, where you spend the majority of your time, gets the attention it needs (and deserves).
Local doesn’t just mean the retailers. If you do head into a big box shop (but not to panic buy) look to local providers of meat, cheese, eggs, dry goods, alcohol and the like and give them a chance to earn your business while you’re forced to stay in.
Be a Promoter
We all enjoy sharing goofy cat videos and pictures of our loved ones on social media. Why not also feature small businesses that you care about? It’s a chance for these businesses to get some visibility at no charge and for you to share your own personal reason for why you choose to consistently do business with them.
After you’ve done that, take a quick moment to write a review for that business, on Yelp, Google, Trustpilot, etc. This will help those businesses get more visibility at a time that really matters to them.
Small businesses also need non-financial resources right now. Write down your five favorite small businesses and call or email them and ask what you can do to help. They may not have an answer for you but leave your name and number (and some ideas). Even if that small business doesn’t have something for you to help right away you will give them a boost of morale to know that their customers are cheering them on, and morale means a lot in a small business.
While many politicians and local leaders are giving in to fear, consider contacting them and advocating for the small businesses that you care about. While this may not lead to these businesses being allowed to re-open immediately, this will remind politicians that it is the local small businesses, not the giant big box stores, that need attention first if there is any community aid to be given.
This situation will continue to evolve daily and hourly, but what doesn’t change are the people we are and the values we hold. It is at times like these that we need to stretch out of our comfort zones to help those businesses that matter the most to us.
Is there a small business you would like to promote? Link to them in the comments below so others can learn about them!