Small businesses need your support to make it through these uncertain times. Here are the Better Business Bureau’s tips on how everyone can support small businesses – with or without spending money.
This crisis is affecting all types of small business. This includes places you use every day, such as your local coffee shop or favorite lunch place, but also businesses that might not immediately come to mind. The closures and cancellations have hurt services like home improvement contractors, daycare providers, dry cleaners, and car mechanics, as well as healthcare business, such as your dentist or chiropractor. Even business-to-business fields, such as the graphic designer who designs your office’s brochures or the accounting firm who does the books, are feeling the impact.
By closing their doors temporarily, small businesses helped to keep their customers and employees healthy. But the loss of income has made it tough to cover on-going expenses like rent and salaries. These tips help ensure your favorite businesses have the cash they need to make it through these lean times.
Practical ways to support small business:
- Buy and use gift cards: Many small businesses that had to close offered gift certificates at discounted rates for when they opened back up. Look on business’s websites and social accounts.
- Skip the refund and take a rain check: If you paid in advance for an event, such as theater or concert tickets, a class, or a service, consider taking a credit for the future instead of asking for a refund. These businesses will appreciate not needing to issue so many refunds right now.
- Commit to future work: While right now may not be the best time to start that home renovation project, your contractor will appreciate you committing to future projects. The same goes for any future event or project. See BBB’s tips for hiring a contractor.
- Shop (local) online: Even when local shops and vendors close their (physical) doors, many still run online shops. Look for them on social media or check the business’s website for links to their online marketplace,
- Look for virtual classes: People who work in training or professional development – anyone from your personal trainer to the person teaching your office’s public speaking workshop – are finding creative ways to move their instruction online. Even when your local gym is closed, your favorite yoga teacher may be hosting a live class online. Same goes for people who offer professional trainings. Now may be a good time to brush up on your skills through an online course.
- Get takeout or delivery: Many restaurants and breweries are now offering takeout with reduced or absent dine-in experiences. Support these local institutions by getting your food or drinks to-go and enjoying it at home. Local food trucks are another way to show support.
If your own wallet is feeling the pinch, here are some free ways to support small businesses:
Write an online review: This is a good time to finally get around to reviewing your favorite local business. These five-star reviews do help companies rank well in search engines and on other listing services, This is an easy, free way to show your favorite small businesses that you support them. Write a review on BBB.org now at https://www.bbb.org/leave-a-review
- Like and share on social: Help your favorite business reach a broader audience by liking and sharing their information on social media. This will help them reach future customers and gain more exposure.
- Tell your businesses that you appreciate their work: These are tough times! Keep morale up by reaching out to the businesses in your community and letting them know that you appreciate their hard work.
Yuma-based John Hessinger is community marketing executive of the Better Business Bureau serving the Pacific Southwest. He can be contacted at [email protected] or 928-9197940.