How to Support Local Businesses During Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Over the past weeks, coronavirus (COVID-19) has caused mass disruption in our communities, the stock market, and our daily work and play. As our daily lives are facing big changes, the small businesses in our community are also entering a phase of great uncertainty. The economic strain on small businesses is intense as they navigate through supply chain issues, employee health, payroll, lower customer traffic, and potential closures.
It’s important that we take matters into our own hands on the hyperlocal level and preserve the beautiful parts of our community together—while staying 6 feet apart.
Here are several ways to support local businesses and entrepreneurs, while keeping yourself safe and healthy.
1. Scope out the online stores of local businesses
Chances are your favorite businesses that you typically frequent also have online shops. We encourage you to buy some goods and get them delivered to your home. Some businesses are also offering special discounts during this period to encourage online sales.
2. Buy a gift card or gift certificate to use later.
Purchasing a gift card is a win-win way to support local businesses. While you may not be able to physically drop by your favorite business today, you can put your money towards a gift card now and enjoy the products and services that the business offers at a later time. In the meantime, the gift card will help ease the cash flow of the business and give them something to work with. Many businesses offer gift cards publicly on their website, and even if they don’t, it may be worth giving them a call or shooting them an email to see if they do. It’s a great way to pay it forward—and have your cake and eat it too!
3. Order takeout or curbside delivery from local restaurants.
With many states ordering restaurants to close dine-in services, many restaurants are shifting towards takeout and delivery only. If you’re a frequent user of food delivery services, you already know that many local restaurants are active on UberEats, Grubhub, Postmates, and similar services. Other restaurants are evolving with the times by offering neighborhood delivery or curbside pickup services through their regular employees. All of these options are excellent ways to support local restaurants through the coronavirus pandemic.
4. Add some local goods to your grocery shopping list.
As you’re stocking up your pantry, consider adding some locally grown and produced goods to your shopping list. Along with selling at independent retail stores and boutiques, many local food purveyors sell wholesale to large grocery chains like Whole Foods or Giant Eagle to expand the reach of their artisanal goods to customers like you. Next time you’re doing your grocery run, put down that extra roll of toilet paper that you don’t need and treat yourself to some small-batch jams, honey, or pickles. Honey lasts forever, after all!
5. Grab a new growler from local craft breweries and wineries.
As state governments are implementing mandatory shutdowns of breweries, wineries, and restaurants for at least 2 weeks, the local craft breweries and wineries that reach most of their customers through the taproom, on-premise sales are facing an unprecedented crunch. One way to support breweries and still enjoy your pint during this time is by buying growlers to-go. As a heads up, some breweries have suspended growler refills at this time, so we suggest only looking into new growlers.
6. Tip service-industry workers a little extra.
While many are able to work directly from home, service-industry workers are not afforded this luxury. If you are ordering takeout or food delivery from restaurants, it’s worth tipping as if you were dining in—or a bit more. So how much should you tip? The Moneyist at MarketWatch recommends tipping 5% more than you normally would as a quick-and-easy strategy to rely on. So if you typically tip 15%, try to tip 20% if you’re able to. Every little bit helps, and tipping is one way that we can show our appreciation for the folks who are showing up at their workplace every day to make it easier for others to stay at home during COVID-19.
7. Book your appointments early and sign up for virtual sessions.
If you have plans to host events that are months or a year down the line, such as a wedding or baby shower, now is the best time to start figuring out the support that you’ll need. If you know that you’re going to need a photographer, secured venue, or catering services at the event, it can’t hurt to book your appointments now. Many businesses, such as financial planning, consulting, or marketing services, and even fitness are also shifting towards providing clients with more virtual sessions.
8. Invest in the future of local businesses.
If you’re looking for a way to better support the long-term future of a business beyond a $25 or $50 gift card purchase, investing in local businesses is the way to go. With more and more local businesses facing potential closures, getting working capital has never meant more to businesses. Whether it be to make payroll, cover rent, or make up for lost earnings from canceled events and contracts, working capital can help grease the wheels of a business through the novel coronavirus.
By investing $100 or more in a local business on a crowdfunding platform like Honeycomb, you can help support local businesses in staying strong, earn up to 6-14% interest, and join fellow community members in preserving what makes your neighborhood such a great place to work, live, and play.
9. Share small business resources in your community.
Besides monetary support, there are plenty of ways to support local businesses within your means. Writing positive online reviews for your favorite businesses will mean a lot to their long-term success once life returns to normal. We also suggest sharing and reposting updates from local businesses on social media to spread the word amongst your friends and family; someone in your network is bound to be interested in using the services of the business.
Is today the day that you start investing in local businesses?
Check out the locally-owned small businesses that are seeking investments for their future on Honeycomb now.
If you're a small business looking for community-sourced funding to keep your business strong, check out our Small Business Relief Loan program now.