Updated: Jan 14
The past 15 days have been a whirlwind for me. And I know I am not alone. I went from having two jobs (Family Photographer and Television Producer) to being jobless, overnight. My kids are home from school till at least May, and my entire state has been locked down. It's a scary time for everyone. But since this is a subject near and dear to my heart, I wanted to share ways you can help your favorite small businesses at this very difficult time. Because let's face it, small businesses are the American Dream. They are the heart and soul of our cities and towns, and they are really struggling to stay afloat during this pandemic.
Thanks to Sara Jean for putting this collage together for us!
Top: Simply Sara Jean Photography, Macaroni Kid Brentwood, Starry Night Studios
Middle: Ten10 Social, Courtney Zito Photography, Shine Bright
Bottom: Melissa van Ruiten Photography, Simply Said Studio, The Rockabilly Balloon Bender
Most of us are already supporting local restaurants and food related small businesses by ordering take out and utilizing drive up services. Keep up the good work! But with the Shelter in Place and Safer at Home orders in California, non-essential businesses had to close immediately, cutting off all income. Here a few ways you can help ALL small businesses. These are not novel ideas, but many people just may not be thinking about those non-essential businesses right now, so this post is just to put it on your radar. Much of this can be done for free, all it costs you, is time. And most of us have way too much of that right now! Am I right?
For those business that truly feel like an extension of your family, check in with them. See how they are doing and what their current situation is. I think once you know what's happening with their business, you 'll have a better understanding of how you may be able to help them. And being on the receiving end of that check in, will probably make someone's day.
If you have heard that a treasured small business is being forced to close permanently due to covid-19 related shutdowns, you could try to start a virtual fundraiser. Use social media to get the whole community involved. Usually people just don't know about this type of situation until it's too late. There are a lot of really good people in the world who would want to help.
Did you know that in addition to restaurants, a lot of other small businesses offer gift certificates, or gift cards too? Perhaps you can even pre-pay for a service you know you will need in the future. Not sure if your favorite small business offers these options? Just reach out to them. If they can accept payment online, there is a high probability they can accommodate you and would likely be very appreciative of the gesture.
Engage with their posts! Like, share and comment to help small businesses survive and thrive on social media during this difficult time. More engagement means more eyes on the business, which could help them now and in the future as the try to rebuild.
Create your own post talking about a favorite small business! Word of mouth is such a powerful marketing tool. Introduce “your people” to your favorite small businesses. You might help them gain future clients/customers.
Leave them a review on Facebook, Yelp, and Google. All three. If you’re like me, you rely heavily on reviews when looking at small businesses, and people typically use one of these three ways to search for goods and services.
Do you offer services that could help your favorite small business? Consider donating or even trading services with them.
If you know of any virtual small business groups that they would benefit from during this time, tell them! Small business groups can give business owners a supportive environment where they can learn, express themselves in a safe space and help other business owners.
If you are financially able to, pledge to spend a certain amount of money per week on small businesses in your town.
Shop small for most, if not all of your needs. Big corporations will make it through. Small businesses are going to need a little extra love to get through this.
Lastly, make sure as soon as your State's Shelter in Place order is lifted, you remember to call your favorite small business and get back to working together ASAP.
Stay strong everyone. We will get through this together. <3