Small, local businesses are so important to the economy, as well as individual communities. When you shop small, your money stays within a community to help it continue to grow and develop. These businesses also create jobs for many community members, introduce new products to the market that introduce competition for larger companies, and because they can be started by virtually anyone, provide opportunities for people to succeed independently. Additionally, customers also tend to have a much more personal, improved shopping experience -- and who doesn't want that? However, small businesses are also tough to manage.
With the current "Stay at Home" orders effective in many locations across the globe, many of these businesses have had to close their doors and are experiencing financial struggles due to the current conditions. These orders can be devastating and may force some businesses to close permanently. Small businesses always rely on their customers and follows for support but especially in times like these, they rely solely on the support of their community members in order to survive and thrive as businesses.
Here are a few ways that you can do your part to support your favorite small businesses during these tough times:
1. Shop online
You may not be able to shop in-store right now, but there certainly aren't any restrictions on online shopping. Many small businesses offer essential personal care items, so instead of ordering from larger companies, see if you can find some small shop favorites that offer them online.
Missing days spent on shopping-sprees at the mall? There are so many small clothing businesses out there that often sell generally higher quality items than what you would normally purchase at the store anyways. And we don't mean to brag but. . .we'd consider ourselves to be one of them. . .
2. Share with your friends
Even if you don't have the money to shop yourself right now -- because we get it, times are tough for everyone currently -- refer your favorite small shops to your friends! A little goes a long way and a simple share to a few friends or family members is a small (and cost-free) but meaningful way to support small businesses right now.
3. Purchase gift cards
Know someone who would like a small shop but not quite sure of what to get them? Gift cards are the perfect way to share the love with friends and support small businesses at the same time! Or, if you're shopping through a business that has had to temporarily close its doors due to the current health crisis, gift cards are great to save for later use once the business reopens again soon.
4. Leave positive reviews
Website reviews are so important for small businesses! They can make or break sales for new customers and good reviews make business owners super happy -- think of the owner doing a little happy dance every time you leave a good review.
For small businesses, reviews are like tipping waiters or waitresses at a restaurant. If you purchase something from a business, it's the courteous thing to do to leave a short little review on that product. It's cost-free and extremely appreciated!
5. Subscribe to mailing lists
Most small businesses, including us here at The Northland, offer mailing list subscriptions to their followers. Again, it's totally cost-free but a great way to stay up to date with what's going on with the business.
Mailing lists are also usually a way to receive exclusive discounts and offers on products. And who doesn't like to save money?
6. Stay active on their social media pages
Be sure to check your favorite social media platforms for your favorite small shops. Oftentimes, they have business accounts on Instagram, Facebook, and other platforms that you can follow and use to stay up to date with the brand.
Staying active on these pages means turning on post notifications, liking, commenting, and sharing the posts that they put on their channels. Small businesses love to hear from you and this is a great way to reach out, support and connect with all of your favorite business owners.
7. Schedule a service for later
Just like gift cards, you can schedule services at businesses like salons or cleaning companies to use for later once they reopen again. This not only supports these businesses financially but it also gives you something to look forward to once social distancing is over!
8. Order takeout or delivery
Many local restaurants and coffee shops are still open for business with curbside or delivery services. Instead of grabbing that coffee or a bite from a local fast food or chain restaurant, consider ordering from a local restaurant instead. These restaurants and coffee shops are still heavily relying on their communities to support them! Plus, the food is usually way better than fast food.
And for a bonus way to support small businesses, make sure you always tip generously when you visit these food service locations! Remember, a little goes a long way.
9. Communicate and reach out
Small businesses are so special because of the connection they build with their customers and followers. Again, they love to hear from you! May business owners right now are trying to figure out how to cater best to your needs as customers. Always feel free to reach out and tell them how they can make your shopping experience the best it can be! Businesses are always trying to be better for you!
10. Say thank you
Finally, make sure you thank your favorite small shops for providing you the high-quality products and services that they do. They are so important for the development of your communities so be sure to say thank you next time you order a product or book a service from any local business.
Remember that any support at all is so appreciated by small businesses.
We wouldn't be here without you!