The ongoing Covid-19 Pandemic has taken a perilous toll on one’s physical and mental health worldwide. Compelling social-distancing, shutdowns and self-quarantines the economy of industries, businesses and restaurants is in shambles. But amidst all, the most to bear the brunt and verging to face existential crisis are the small local businesses.
As per the report released by the NFIB Research Center, the Covid-19 pandemic has negatively impacted 76% of small businesses worldwide. The Indian economy is induced to shrink 5% in FY21 as per the weak demand and subsequent lockdown.
Why Support Small Businesses?
In today’s volatile environment, small local outfits rely heavily on your patronage in order to thrive; every penny is precious to them. When a stirring appeal of go local is being made in recent times, you should consider the advantages of turning to locally owned independent businesses.
Community support and Economic Impact
By supporting local businesses you show that you care for the local community. Local outfits utilize local businesses such as local service providers, banks and farms making a holistic approach in pumping the local economy. Small business owners will return your favour through fundraisers and special events. Every cup of coffee bought by you from the local café, every bike chain you repair and lube from the local service station or getting your dog groomed from the nearby pet parlour helps the owners provide wages for their workers.
Little drops make a mighty ocean. As you know big giants like Apple and Amazon literally begun from a garage. Apart from helping to create local jobs; who knows by supporting small business, you are probably funding a potential future retail biggie!
Personalized Customer Service
Small Business Owners will greet you with a smiling face and a good service. They are keen to know the personal likes and needs of every customer they come across.
Innovation and Competition
It’s a mammoth task for small businesses to stay afloat, hence they constantly have to add new products to their inventory. Large retailers tend to focus on the most popular items whereas smaller businesses have the freedom to fill smaller niches with less common and more innovative products.
This innovation ignites creativity and new ways to sell goods and services. If you are looking for something unique, small shops are your perfect destination. When there are a lot of small businesses, that fuels a deeper competition — which help in keeping the prices low and innovation high.
Less Infrastructure and Low Maintenance
Local shops tend to require fewer public services and less infrastructure as compared to shopping malls and chain stores. Small businesses clustered near residential zones may reduce automobile use and traffic congestion.
Ways to support small businesses :
There are so many small ventures out there and it’s so important to shop small as well as support local businesses when you can. This may reduce the convenience factor for some shoppers, but it also gives an opportunity to support a part of the economy that has particularly taken a nasty hit by the impact of coronavirus — small businesses.
Our local businesses need our help to survive and stay in the race if we want our communities to look anything like they did a few short, harrowing months ago. Here are a few things that you can do.
Consider a small player before hitting ‘buy’ on a biggie
The most important thing to remember while helping small businesses in your community is that you are the investor in these businesses. Many small businesses would be glad to order supplies and deliver at your doorstep. Consider the small players before you spontaneously buy from Amazon or Myntra.
2. Spread the word on social media
Social media is being used on a full-fledged model, thanks to social-distancing. When you spotlight a local business on your social media network it can have a catalytic effect: You’re making your network aware of the business and their contribution. So next time when you find out that the corner pastry shop sells some luscious pastries don’t forget to share it on your Instagram or Facebook.
3. Buy gift cards
Even if you don’t need a new hoodie or piece of luggage right now. Purchasing gift cards or certificates will show them your support and keep the cash flow coming in during closures.
4. Refill Booze and Sanitizer from a local distillery
In the ongoing pandemic, we are buffing our hands with a sanitizer every now and then. Various local distilleries have made a move to meet up to the demand. So, next time you’re looking to stock up your liquor shelf, call your local distillery to see if they can also throw in some hand sanitizer.
5. Reschedule-don’t cancel!
Coronavirus has generated the ultimate cancel culture, but all those missed reservations and skipped services are stressing out local workers. You ask for a refund or cancelling the event will only worsen their plight. If you can, schedule work with a painter, a plumber or a salon.
Simply knowing that work is heading their way can release some anxiety and make a big difference in helping them withstand this difficult time. “Nobody is taking your deposit and using it to buy a Jaguar, those funds are used to keep companies and contractors afloat as they work towards your and our common goal,” says NYC wedding and event planner-Marcy Blum.
6. Take an Online Course or Workshop
Businesses are getting creative and adaptive when it comes to connecting with customers while social distancing. You can’t go to dine out with your friends or take your special one on a date, nor can you hit the gym.
But restaurants are offering free online cooking classes, gyms are doing live Zumba and aerobics. Be a part in whatever they’re offering and if you can spare some bucks, donate to show your appreciation. Don’t forget to give any feedback to the local business as well so they can improve their offering.
Towards the conclusion
Small businesses foster local economies, flourishing entrepreneurship and providing opportunities for local jobs. They play a crucial role in uplifting their neighbourhood and communities. Retail chains virtually reflect their same version and values irrespective of their locations. On the contrary, independently owned local business reflect the needs and culture of their neighbourhood.
From sharing a bit of their passion, dream and creativity with you to promoting regional speciality and authenticity, small businesses propel innovation. We as consumers can make conscious decisions to aid the local businesses and keep the economy running.