7 Ways to Support Small Business While Social Distancing

Local businesses need our support now more than ever, and there are ways to help them while maintaining your health and safety.

Nicola McIntosh May 13, 2020

Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy. They create jobs, drive innovation and bring vibrancy to our downtowns. But many Main Street mainstays have been suffering since the coronavirus pandemic slammed the brakes on a once-thriving economy.

Much of the power to bolster small businesses lies in consumers hands. Here are 7 actions you can take right now while maintaining social distancing and adhering to local health guidelines.

Small business support idea #1: Take advantage of curbside pickup

The size and layout of some shops makes it difficult to keep the physical store open while practicing social distancing.

That’s why retailers including The King’s English Bookshop in Salt Lake City and Janjou Patisserie in Boise are pivoting their business models to offer curbside pickup.

Small business support idea #2: Purchase gift cards

If the shops or businesses you love are shut down during the pandemic, or if you’re just not comfortable with an in-person visit right now, consider purchasing a gift card. The business owner will book the revenue now, and you can look forward to making your purchase or booking a service when they reopen.

Small business support idea #3: Order take-out or delivery

Restaurants have been hit hard by the pandemic, but they’ve rapidly reinvented themselves and enhanced take out and drive-thru options. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says there is currently no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with transmission of COVID-19, so why not order take-out or delivery from your favorite restaurant, if you have the means?

Small business support idea #4: Write a Yelp review

Show your favorite small businesses some love by writing a Yelp review, or by giving them a shout-out on social media. Neither one will cost you a dime, but can generate substantial rewards.

According to Qualtrics, 93% of consumers say online reviews impact their purchasing decisions. And when you like, comment on, or share a business’ official social media posts, you help amplify their marketing messages with your network — and beyond.

Small business support idea #5: Consider a small business before a large online retailer or a big box store

Have you considered whether the product you need is available from a locally owned merchant? Many small local businesses have robust e-commerce offerings, contactless pickup or delivery service. And when you shop at a local business instead of a big box store, for every dollar you spend, approximately 67 cents stays in your community.  

Small business support idea #6: Offer your professional services pro bono

If you’re an interior designer, reach out to your favorite local restaurant to help redesign their layout to encourage better social distancing. If you have web development, graphic design, or social media skills, help a business establish an online or social media presence to support their marketing efforts. If you’re a CPA, offer a small business you love professional tax preparation at no charge. Be creative!

Small business support idea #7: Forgo the refund, or ask for a credit instead

Did you purchase tickets to a cultural event that was cancelled due to COVID-19? Consider asking for a credit for a future performance instead of a refund. If you’re paying fees for a gym membership that you can’t use right now, consider continuing to pay for services until they are available again.

While supporting businesses in your community, remember to follow guidelines from your local health district, city and state government leaders, as well as the Centers for Disease Control, including frequent and thorough hand washing, and wearing a cloth face covering in areas where social distancing is not possible.

Nicola McIntosh is Social Media manager for Zions Bank.

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