How to support local businesses
As some countries tentatively open their doors, economies are slowly starting to reawaken.
We’re sure you’re acutely aware of the changeable, dynamic nature of coronavirus and the pandemic, and that businesses can close as easily as they can open.
There are ways to support local businesses even if you’re not yet comfortable with resuming all old hobbies and purchasing habits.
Here’s how you can give a hand to local businesses, regardless of what the covid lockdown status is at time and place of reading.
Why shop local?
We appreciate the convenience of buying from large online retailers; and we know that franchises and chains have a reassuring predictability.
But the economic arguments for supporting local businesses are hard to dispute: Simply put, if you buy a service or product from a local business, that money goes straight into that local business’s pocket and into your community. Conversely, if you buy from an international company or internet vendor, that money will probably leave your community (and sometimes even your country).
In the UK, SMEs account for 99% of businesses. While in Ireland, almost a million people are employed by SMEs.
Even beyond paying your neighbours’ wages and mortgages, small businesses are part of the fabric of a community, providing services, employment and more. Some even sponsor community events, schools charities and sport teams.
Look beyond restaurants for delivery and collection options
While it’s true that restaurants and cafes have mostly pivoted to delivery and collection, they’re not the only businesses to do so. Your local toyshop, bookshop, florist or clothes boutique might be doing the same.
Just because the doors are closed doesn’t mean the business is.
Buy vouchers and gift cards
This is a great way to give patronage to businesses even if you’re not in a situation to enjoy their product or service.
Furloughed and temporarily closed businesses still have overheads, so it’s helpful to be able to give them a little income during lean times.
Research services and classes that have moved online
Many classes and personal services have moved online, not just due to covid restrictions, but also to reduce costs (of rent or travel, for example) and to broaden their reach.
These might include language or music classes, personal training, tutoring and even financial or law advice.
Again, don’t assume a business is closed because their premises are empty or shut. Also, some of these services moving online could prove more convenient than before, for you and the vendor.
Consider click and collect
Click and collect is not just a handy way for businesses to trade while reducing human contact, it also helps them to scale and grow.
For instance, if your local restaurant offers delivery or collection, you’re better off choosing collection because a- it’s faster for you and b- it frees up their delivery cyclists and drivers.
Spread the word
Even after the economic shock of coronavirus, businesses will need help spreading the word that they’re still in operation.
If you had a good experience with a local business, share your views on social media or an appropriate forum (such as neighbourhood groups on Facebook, or a consumer site like Tripadvisor or Yelp, for instance).
Additionally, positive reviews on Google are an enormous help. They boost a company’s visibility online and help build trust with potential customers.
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