Small businesses need our collective support more now than ever. The crisis has brought the economy to a standstill and the small businesses are the first to feel this brunt. As a small business ourselves we have felt this pain. We are a social media company focusing on scheduling content. Our customers range from individuals, small businesses and the odd medium-sized business. We will highlight certain things we can all do in order to keep supporting small businesses during the Coronavirus crisis.

Give them a shoutout on social media.

This doesn’t cost a thing. A shout out on social media is very important. Why? Instagram Business states that Eight out of ten users are following businesses on Instagram. Imagine the positive effects it would have on that business if you give them a shout out. Essentially you’re like an influencer.  People are drawn to trustworthy and authentic mentions of businesses and when they see a couple of ordinary day to day citizens giving the thumbs up to a small business they, in turn, feel the need to get involved. A shout out on social media is extremely important because you create conversations around the business. This is key. Why? You are effectively pulling their Instagrams algorithm up.

Julian Gutman, the product lead for Instagram feed, put forward 6 important factors that influence the algorithm.

  • Interest
  • Relationship
  • Timeliness
  • Frequency
  • Following
  • Usage

These points are crucial to understand because they lead to the following:

  • comments
  • likes
  • reshares
  • video posts
  • views

The above 5 engagements will undoubtedly occur when you give them a shout out. Get your friends to give a shoutout as well to increase the algorithms favour towards the business.

Checkout @creators Instagram page about Instagrams algorithm.

Supporting Small Businesses During the Coronavirus Crisis

Order Takeout or Delivery

This is especially important for the small restaurants we love going to, to celebrate milestones. Seating may have closed but delivery is still an option. Getting involved through delivery helps them operate. What you need to understand is that the small restaurant is key to the economy. Why? When you support a small restaurant, you’re supporting the local farmers, where they get their produce from. Farmers are having a hard time finding a market for their produce because restaurants are closed and kitchens arent as busy.

Many independently owned food and drink businesses are now getting on to delivery platforms like Uber Eats and Deliveroo. This is essential for them as they need to keep operating at least. If you cannot see your favourite small restaurant, give them a call to see if they will consider delivering a meal or selling the ingredients to make something yourself. We love this point because you may end up actually helping the business owner think of new ways to get the food to customers.

Remember that some third-party apps can charge local restaurants fees that put an added squeeze on finances. What we recommend is to order directly.

How to help a small restaurant.

  • Buy now to enjoy later. What we mean by this is that get carry-out meals to enjoy in the comfort of your home, whether you eat it while it’s still hot or freeze it for later. You really can help with the cash flow of the restaurant by purchasing at least 3 dinners and some lunches.
  • Consider delivery. This is safer for you and them. Oh and very convenient.
  • Purchasing a gift card. This is to use at another time

We recommend supporting the small restaurants in your radius. It is safer and convenient.

Buy Gift Cards

We love this one. Giving your small business a vote of confidence by spending some money on a gift card to use later, when life returns to normal is really amazing. Most restaurants allow their gift vouchers to be redeemed up to six months after purchasing and some restaurants have even extended this period because of the current climate. Gift vouchers help the restaurant because they get cash now so that they can use it to stay afloat.

Shop Online

There are so many small boutiques on Instagram.  I know you follow one or two. This is the perfect time to support them. Clear out their inventories because deliveries to their stores are slow or non-exsistant at the moment. Sarah Baucom, co-owner of Girl Tribe Co. stated that “We are encouraging customers to shop online, share posts from their favorite companies, and stay in touch and to give grace to small businesses as we navigate this season,” This statement illustrates again that shopping online is the key for many small businesses.

Many small businesses in conjunction with shopping online are offering free shipping to all of my customers for the foreseeable future. This once again illustrates the dire need of small businesses and at the same time, they are appealing to us for their support during this time. A lot of boutiques have dropped their prices and we at Heropost implore you to search on Instagram for the closest boutique in your area to support, we bet they have dropped their prices.

Supporting small businesses during the Coronavirus crisis through online shopping is probably the most effective way to help them as most already are geared in this type of transacting.

Be Patient

We need to remember that we are in this together. The coronavirus has taken so many lives and people are all on edge and some are going through depression.  You need to remember that behind these small businesses are people that are trying hard as their incomes and way of life has changed drastically. Empathy is key.  Businesses are working at a dramatically reduced capacity. Think about the employee that has been laid off and their family and think about the store owner who has just had this unpleasant conversation. There’s a good chance that you’ll experience longer waits or encounter out-of-stock items. Please bear with the business. the climate they once knew has virtually disappeared and changed. Remember to be kind always.

Write A Review or a Testimonial

Reviews are fantastic especially if they are coming from a source you trust or follow on social media. We love this point because we are all about positive energy here at Heropost. By giving a positive review you are effectively sharing your inside information on where to eat or shop in your local area. This act alone gives the restaurant and it’s employees a lovely morale boost. We all can use this right now.

Support the local farmers market

Farmers are the backbone of our society and they need help. Some farmers are delivering right to your doorstep the staples you will need to make that favourite bone broth.  Farmers are feeling it hard at the moment because the small restaurants have stopped buying from them or have decreased buying from them as the economy worsens. However if the farmer market is open in your area we recommend you follow these guidelines.

  • Come to market in good health

  • Wash hands/ refrain from touching your face

  • Touch only what you are buying

  • Regulate your own social spacing

  • Wash all produce before consumption

Remember some produce is seasonal and this may be the farmers only time to make an income, therefore, support them, please.

Tip more than usual 

If you decide to order takeout please tip a little extra. Tips are essential right now. If you can Tip more or pay more for the meal. Trust me, when this is all over they will remember you, small businesses are notorious at knowing who their customers are. Supporting small businesses during the Coronavirus crisis through tipping goes a long way.

Avoid refunds and postpone instead of cancelling

This is an essential point. Cashflow is extremely tight at the moment and small businesses are not liquid enough at the moment to give cash refunds. Skip the refund and take a rain check. Consider taking a credit for the future instead of asking for a refund. It is better to ask for a voucher or any other forms of service. Rather postpone than cause more stress on the business.

Take part in online classes

A lot of gyms have closed coupled with other services such as yoga studios, dance studios and virtually any business where gatherings or contact is required to perform the service. Online classes are available, for example, the orange theory is doing this as well as local gyms.

Lastly, we at Heropost would like to thank:

  • All the Healthcare workers on the frontline
  • All the emergency servicemen and women
  • All the grocery store employees working so that the rest of us can get essentials

Thank you for taking the time to read this article on Supporting Small Businesses During the Coronavirus Pandemic.

 

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown

Emily Brown, lead content producer at Heropost. USC Alumni. Family, friends, dogs and sunshine with a bit of surfing in between.