During these uncertain times one thing is clear to many of us – supporting small businesses now can help to ensure that they’ll still be around when America (and the world) pulls out of this global pandemic. Many of my clients have asked me how they can start to lean in and support the small businesses they care about. My wife and I have been working on this at home, as well, and I wanted to share a few ideas and resources here today.
Continue to Pay Membership Fees
Personally, the gym my family belongs to has closed for the foreseeable future. They offered all members to cancel or pause their fees until they reopen. I know that this was an honest move on their part, and they’ve always genuinely cared about putting members first. However, we know that when this all passes, we’ll still go to the same gym.
We’ll still get a ton of value out of our membership. In fact, I’d argue that focusing on supporting them during this time actually helps us get more value out of our membership in the long run because we’ll be contributing toward helping them keep classes, equipment, and services once they reopen.
As a result, we’ll be continuing to pay our gym membership fees even when they’re closed for the time being. Along those same lines, we’re continuing to pay our house keeper and a handful of other memberships we keep as a family. If you have the means during the coronavirus outbreak, this is one of the best ways you can support small businesses! Recurring revenue, even when things are shut down, means they’ll be able to dive back into business as soon as they have the all-clear to reopen – and means you can expect less of a delay (or a drop in quality) of services.
Out of coffee? Need a few things for your home office to make life easier during our stay at home order? Consider buying local before you shop at a big box retailer online. Many local businesses have an online presence, and even more of them are starting to open up their online stores during the coronavirus outbreak. Think about local shops that carry what you need, and try to order there. Every order helps them pay their employees and keep the lights on.
Buy Gift Cards
Have a favorite local restaurant or coffee shop you love? Even if you’re avoiding takeout right now, buying gift cards online can help you boost their revenue when business may seem uncertain. Plus, you’re supplementing your future dining-out budget and can use the gift cards to spend time with friends and family when social distancing isn’t our reality.
Unfortunately, due to this pandemic, many nonprofit organizations will be forced to close their doors. If you have a favorite nonprofit you love, now is the time to lean in and donate (especially if donating was already part of your financial plan). The recently-passed CARES Act is also making it more financially beneficial to donate by offering an above-the-line tax deduction of up to $300 on next year’s tax return.
Not sure how to support organizations you love? Sometimes asking them directly is the best way to figure out how to help. For example, cash donations may be valuable, but they might be able to use donations of time or your services, as well.
Take Video Classes or Online Courses
Some of your favorite creators or instructors may be offering virtual classes right now. Whether you’re interested in at-home fitness, or you’re looking for options for keeping your kids busy with art classes, start looking online! Ask local instructors if they have virtual options available.
Leave Positive Reviews
This costs nothing and can have a hugely positive impact on a small business. Leaving positive reviews for your favorite businesses and restaurants online and on social media can help to influence their future sales and following. Take an hour out of your day to write reviews for your Top 10 local businesses.
Visit Local Businesses and Creators Online
Even if you don’t make purchases, just visiting websites, blogs, or downloading podcasts can have a positive impact on businesses and creators. Increased traffic can positively impact their visibility online, and if you’re consuming content from a creator, you may be positively impacting their affiliate income just by heading to their site.
If you have questions about supporting a small business, I’d love to chat with you! This is a topic that’s near and dear to my heart, and I love incorporating small business and local values into my clients’ spending plans. Click here to schedule a call.