Our local businesses are the heart of our community. Even when the economy is steady, they still have to work harder than everyone else, just to stay ahead of the game and maintain relevancy in the market. Because of the current Federal and State regulations due to COVID-19, small business owners are now facing great uncertainty unlike anything we’ve seen before. In addition, once we come out of this crisis, the economic fallout will be long-lasting, with no “quick-fix” in sight.
Our small businesses provide great products and services along with commitment, support and dedication to the community. Without them, our little town would lose much of it’s charm and appeal, and ultimately, it would falter. My studio and my family are on a mission to support our local businesses! With this in mind, here is a list of 6 things you can do to support your local businesses without even leaving your house!
- Support through social media– We’re all spending a LOT more time on social media! Most businesses have a website, social media presence, blog or customer newsletter. To stay current with all the great things they are doing or working on, sign up for their newsletters or share their website with someone who may need their services. *If you’re also a local business, peruse their blog and share something that resonates with you, on your own blog or FB page! In this way, you are connecting a local business with your current customer base, helping to market their goods and services.
- Leave a Google Review – Take a second and think about the local businesses you interact with on a daily basis. Your favorite Mexican takeout, the local bar/hangout that you love and that amazing little shop that makes all of your personalized marketing materials for your business. How about your home-town florist, the hotel that you send all of your family members to and your dry cleaner? They all rely on Google to generate a significant portion of their trade. Take just a few minutes and make a list of ten places that you frequent and write them a review on Google. It’s almost impossible to understate how much this helps and it costs you nothing.
- Make a personal recommendation on Facebook – While the “kids” may not be utilizing Facebook any longer, the adults are; and in extremely large numbers. Recommending a great local business on FB will expose them to your entire friends list, and their friends, who will hopefully “like” and share the post. If you do recommend a business, try to include a link to their website or FB page, making it easy for the reader to connect with them instantly.
- Shop Online or order direct – Many local businesses have online shops that you can use to buy the things you normally would. Many retailers are offering curbside pickup and delivery to make things safer and more convenient. A large portion are also available for phone orders. Call and place an order with them directly.
- Order for Takeout/Delivery – Restaurants are hit incredibly hard by restrictions on social gatherings. Take out and delivery services are still operating, and thanks to technology like Door Dash, Uber Eats, and more, your local restaurants are still able to provide their great food right to you! So when you order carry-out, don’t forget about local restaurants who really need your support.
- Purchase a Gift Certificate – This is a great way to help keep businesses afloat and provide them with future, additional business opportunities. We’re all making lists of the things we’re going to do as soon as these restrictions are lifted. For me? Definitely a haircut and highlight-it’s getting scary! What’s on your list? A car wash? Gift shopping? Family portraits? Dry cleaning drop off? Booking your child’s birthday party at the local bowling alley? If you’re planning to spend the money in the future, why not spend it now, especially if it could go a very long way to helping a small business stay afloat.
Our community has weathered many storms over the years. Rest assured, we will come together and find our way through. Times like these tend to make us realize what’s really important; family time, loving, laughing, talking, listening, compassion. They also make us more aware of our place in a community and how important it is for us to work together.
The impact of this crisis will have a long-lasting effect on us all, both personally and professionally. If we can exercise more love, patience and empathy as humans, we will be better off for it, as will our children. Let’s show our kids what it really means to be giving and selfless humans, for the betterment of all…”and world peace” (movie quote!)
A tip for local businesses: Join your local Chamber of Commerce! Being a chamber member opens you up to a multitude of opportunities to network, market and promote your business. Many small businesses don’t see the value in an annual chamber membership however, a quality-run chamber will be centered around it’s members, providing you with access to community events, networking events and social media promotion as well as other invaluable business-related resources. If you can make the time and personal commitment to attend some of those events and seek to cultivate new business relationships you will better position yourself in your community (and make new friends)! For these reasons, it makes a lot of sense to invest in a membership. If you are a local business in or near Belleville and Van Buren Twp, check out our Belleville Chamber!
For the latest information on the measures you should be taking to combat the spread of Covid-19, check out the CDC guidelines HERE.