Small businesses are challenged in the best of times. But recovery from the pandemic is going to take years. More than three in four businesses were negatively affected by the pandemic, according to the National Federation of Independent Business.
Whether you’re a community member with a favorite small business, a small business owner, or someone with business expertise, you can make a difference for the small businesses that are the lifeblood of your community’s economy.
One of the simplest ways you can help a local small business is to be an advocate. If there’s a restaurant, florist, or dry cleaner you love, share the word with friends and family. Post about the business on social media—both on your own page and in town groups. This may inspire others to frequent that business, as well. You might even start a thread encouraging others to share their favorite local businesses.
Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google, and social media platforms like Facebook let you write reviews of businesses when they have a profile there. Search out your favorite business profiles and tell the world why you love them. These reviews are often used by people looking for a new shop, provider, or other type of business. Your voice could help them make a decision about where to spend their dollars.
If a local small business is doing something interesting, helpful, or giving back to the community in a meaningful way, let the local media know. Local newspapers and television stations are on the lookout for good stories in the community, and you might help your favorite local small business get some publicity. If that doesn’t work, write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper, and share the importance of supporting local businesses.
Local business and service groups ranging from Rotary Clubs and Chambers of Commerce to industry-specific groups and Small Business Development Centers are often organizing virtual events now, some for free. They may have interesting speakers and showcase area businesses. Check out your local organizations’ activities, and join in when you can.
If you have business experience, put it to work to help small businesses. Consider volunteering with SCORE, the Service Corps of Retired Executives or Small Business Development Center where you can be a volunteer to help small businesses succeed. This could be a great opportunity for those with experience in management, finance, marketing, sales, or other business areas.
By using your time and talent to help small businesses in your own community, you can help them overcome the challenges of the pandemic.