As a small business owner myself and a digital marketing professional who helps promote other small businesses and nonprofits, I know first-hand how hard it is for a local business to build a following and loyal clientele under normal circumstances - and these circumstances are anything but normal! Today many businesses have been forced to close, reduce hours or cut back on services. Business owners are worried they can't pay their employees or their rent. It's great if you plan to patronize them in the future - but having income today means they can keep their employees, stay open and pay their bills.
I live and work in Delray Beach Florida, and have clients in Delray, across South Florida and as far away as Colorado! My phone and email are in overdrive with clients who are looking for new ways to stay in business - and new prospects who are desperate for help to keep their business open. Here are 9 ways to #ShopLocal to help and support local small businesses during this health and economic crisis.
1. Order Delivery
Many restaurants are open for take-out and/or delivery, and so are some shops. Even if you don't normally order food for delivery, considering order delivery meals to keep local restaurants open - and help the owners keep their staff and pay their bills.
2. Purchase Gift Cards
If a business is temporarily closed or you can't use their services now, buy a gift card to use in the future. This will give them income today so they can reopen in the future.
Tip: Someone we know had to cancel her husband's 50th birthday party in March. Instead, she asked friends and family to gift him $50 gift cards to his favorite local restaurants. A real win-win!
3. Tip Delivery People
Many restaurants and shops that offer delivery use either their own employees as delivery people or use a service, like Uber or Door Dash or Shipt. Tip your delivery people well so they can take care of their own families.
Tip: Uber Eats has waived the delivery fee on over 100,000 small restaurants - so tip generously!
4. Shop Online
Many stores that didn't have an online shop have opened online stores! Bookstores, art galleries, boutiques
5. Spread the Word On Social Media
Sharing is caring! If you have a delicious take-out dinner from one of your favorite restaurants in town, post a photo of the restaurant, your food or you enjoying your meal at home on your own social media channels and tag the restaurant so your friends and contacts can go there too!
6. Renew Your Membership
If your membership to a local fitness club, movie theatre or other service is scheduled to expire soon, renew your membership now so they have income and hope for the future.
Tip: We are members of our local Y, and couldn't do without it! We renewed our membership early - we want to be sure they reopen soon!
7. Donate Your Refund
If a non-profit's event you were planning to attend was canceled, instead of asking for a refund donate the money to the organization.
8. Book A Service in the Future
Do you need your house painted? Need a cut and color? Does your car need to be detailed? Buy the service now, but schedule your appointment for the future.
Tip: Our appliance dealer has a great sale on now, but we can't deliver and install it ourselves. We bought the appliances now - and scheduled delivery and installation in 6 weeks.
9. Leave An Online Review
We often are too busy - or just plain forget - to leave a good review for local businesses we love. Take time today and give them a review on Facebook, Google, Yelp or your local review site.
Small business owners need both money today and hope for the future. How do you support local small businesses while social distancing? Share your ideas below!