It feels like every hour, on the hour, the world changes right now. News continues to evolve and filter in, statistics rise, and life starts to feel a little heavy and dark.
This is particularly true for small business owners whose very livelihood depends on people visiting their stores, restaurants, and bars. Small business owners whose livelihood depends on people buying their products, attending their events, and engaging with their content. When all of that stops, so does the ability to make a living.
As small business owners ourselves, we are acutely aware of the impact COVID-19 is having on what we can offer to the world. It is simultaneously humbling and scary. But as human beings who believe in the power of purpose, who bring passion into everything we do, and who always seek to spread happiness, we’re keeping our focus on what matters most: helping others.
If ever there was a time to practice kindness and empathy, this is it.
Below is a list of ways to help small businesses across the US and those who run them. Not all are financially focused and many simply involve being kind.
Take a peek, find some inspiration, and if you can, make it a goal to cross one of these good deeds off your list.
Project Some Positive Energy
5-star reviews, acknowledgments of great service, shout outs and social media shares…these are all great ways to show your support for the small businesses you love within your community.
This global experience can feel isolating for those who are hit the hardest, so be sure to share how much you love the food a restaurant makes or the products a store provides or the events a person puts on.
Likes, comments, and messages of praise can make a world of difference. If you've got the time (you do, right?) go leave a 5-star review for every restaurant, shop, and small business you can think of. You can write your review on Google and then save time by copy/pasting your review to Yelp, Amazon, TripAdvisor or any other applicable service that might help.
Trust us, it means the world.
Share, Share, Share
Solidarity is a powerful thing. Though we would never wish this experience on anyone, what’s clear from the chaos is how much closer it brings people together.
If a small business you love is pivoting how they operate in the world (for example, a restaurant offering takeout), let the world know about it.
Share it on your social media. Send a note to the local newspaper. Word of mouth can really help amplify that small businesses' effort and positive press never hurt anyone.
Yesterday I shared a favorite restaurant's take-out offer on Facebook and heard from 8 friends who said they went and got it after seeing my post. Get the word out and watch how powerful it is.
Pay it Forward…Literally
Looking towards the future is an exercise in accepting the unknown. Who knows where things will be in a few months and how the small business industry will shake out.
But what we do know now is that every bit helps.
If you can, consider buying gift cards to cash in at a later date. Think about sending a gift to a loved one who could use a pick me up.
Be creative in how you spend (i.e. could your local plant store start selling their plants on social media? Send them a message and see if a purchase or three would help!).
Over the past few weeks, resources for those in the small business industry have cropped up everywhere. From grant programs to generous folks and companies, there’s a lot to take in and tons of offerings.
Just Say Thank You
We can’t say this enough: your words have power. Being kind, giving someone credit, sharing your feelings — all of these things can brighten someone’s day when the going gets tough.
To that end, saying a simple “thank you” to those who are carrying on despite it all could be a wonderful way to bolster your favorite small business.
Send them an email with your own story about why they matter to you. Send food or offer to help (remotely!). Saying thanks can in a myriad of ways - it’s the thought that counts.
Stay well, stay safe, and be excellent to each other.