Within a matter of days and weeks, COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) precautions and social distancing measures led to the cancellations of many local events and gatherings, including Magnolia’s Spring at the Silos, the Waco Downtown Farmer’s Market, local school districts, universities, Cameron Park Zoo, and even our local libraries. I remember, we were preparing for the next day at Lulubelle’s Market by the Silos when we heard the news that Spring at the Silos was canceled. The first thing I thought of was all the vendors – small businesses – whom have traveled from far distances to sell their goods and how quickly things could change for the trajectory of their businesses as a result of COVID-19.
In these times of social distancing and self-quarantine, while we are being told to hunker down and stay inside as a result of COVID-19, many small businesses are now facing the difficult decisions in considering worst-case scenarios of what to do moving forward, needing to taking out loans to continue paying rent/mortgages, laying-off employees, and ultimately closing down business – either temporarily and/or for some, permanently, as a result of the impact of COVID-19.
Small businesses are truly the heartbeat of our local economy and need to be remembered. Behind every local small business, is an individual and family with deep dreams, livelihoods, and many more individuals and families to support under them.
As an entrepreneur and small business owner of 2 local businesses here in Waco, many of you have asked me, “What are ways to support your business during this time?”
Ways that you and I can be showing social solidarity and community care to local small businesses in these times include:
- Order meals/drinks to go, for curbside pickup, and/or for delivery – Many local restaurants and food trucks are adapting and now offering curbside pickup, delivery, and/or online and to-go options (many without extra charge!) for their menus. As long as you are feeling healthy and well, order local to support small businesses! Every meal matters during times like these and always remember to tip!
- Purchase gift-cards and shop online – NOW is the time to be purchasing gift-cards and online purchases from your favorite local businesses. Many local restaurants, food trucks, and boutiques are offering special deals on gift cards at this time so stock up now! This also includes ordering a gift card from your local hairdresser, spa, salon, or massage therapist to be used at a later date! While restaurants or food trucks may be open for to-go orders or delivery, ordering gift-cards is your safest bet when it comes to continued social distancing measures. This also provides continued cash flow – even if businesses are forced to cancel events and/or shut down operations.
- Leave a positive review for your favorite businesses – Providing a positive review for your favorite local small businesses is not only free, but also safe from a distance! A positive review on Facebook, Google Reviews, Yelp, TripAdvisor, & other review outlets go a long way. Reviews help small businesses grow their following, build trust with current customers, and to ultimately, increase their sales. Leaving a positive review for your favorite businesses takes an average of 2-5 minutes! They are highly appreciated and greatly valued.
- Post on social media regarding supporting local businesses – Tagging and posting about your favorite small businesses helps to get the word out about shopping local. Reposting blogposts like this one, online deals, websites, pages, or photos of your favorite small businesses helps to generate further support from the community around us. Make sure to tag your favorite businesses as well, particularly on Instagram posts or Stories! Behind every local small business is a family, individual, and fellow community member whom you can get to know and speak to. Oftentimes those very business owners may be the ones responding to your social media posts!
- Encourage your fellow entrepreneur and business owner friends – Sending your fellow entrepreneur – particularly your mompreneur – friends out there an encouraging message, text, phone call, and/or prayer during this time is huge. Many local small businesses desire and are working vigorously to keep you and your families safe and healthy. At the same time, businesses are having to make the very difficult decisions to close doors and/or limit hours; thus, not only impacting the business themselves, but all the families and employees that work for these businesses – our fellow community members.
To my fellow entrepreneurs & business owners out there – I see you, I hear you, and I feel you. You are not alone in these difficult times. We are in this together and I am rooting for your continued growth – not just in the months to come – but once the COVID-19 pandemic plateaus. I am thinking of each of you and wish the best for you and your businesses endeavors.