I don’t know about you but I’ve been trying to infuse joy into my days right now in any way that I can, big or small. A few deep breaths in between podcast interviews to decompress, FaceTime calls with family to stay connected and hear their voices, checking in with my favorite businesses to see if there are ways I can help.
This time is filled with unknowns and we aren’t exactly sure how long it will last, and I know it can be easy to let the unease of everything take over and make us feel small or afraid. But these mini moments of joy can erase the negativity bit by bit and lift us out of the fog slowly but surely. And although I know so much of the world is struggling financially right now, I also know that one way to enhance these brutal days is by helping others.
How to support small businesses when things get tough
If you’re able to invest some money then that’s wonderful and so, so needed right now, but it isn’t the only way to lift up the brands and businesses you love. And so I want to discuss today some ways to support small businesses, both in your area and around the world, whether that’s with money, time, words, or some sort of build-your-own-adventure combo. Because the one thing I know (and the magical thing that Mr. Rogers taught us all) is that there will always be helpers. Look for them, and be them, if you can.
01. Leave positive reviews.
Writing glowing reviews is one of the quickest, easiest, and cheapest ways to spread the good word about your favorite businesses that you want to make sure survive this madness. Pick a couple restaurants, coffee shops, salons, local shops, bars, or other service- or hospitality-based businesses a day to write a detailed review and what you love about them.
When doors DO open back up and we flock from our houses back into the world, your review will hopefully add to those businesses’ online presence and persuade more people to go visit them, too. It costs you absolutely nothing, and I’m certain it’ll brighten your day just as much as theirs to spread the positivity.
02. Purchase a gift card.
Buying a gift card to your favorite small businesses may be one of the simplest ways to support them right now! You’ll likely return to shopping or dining there soon after this is all over, so invest in your good time ahead of time with a gift card. It doesn’t need to be anything crazy — even $10 or $20 at a few of your favorite spots will bless them and help them get that much closer to making their bottom line.
03. Order takeout/delivery food (or drinks!)
I know that so many restaurants, cafes, and coffee shops all over the country have had to adapt now that they’re no longer able to serve patrons in-house. Many of them offer to-go options with safe handling of the food and easy, sanitary pass-off to you. If you’ve been missing date nights out like we have, plan for a special date night IN every week or two and order takeout from your favorite spots around town to keep them humming!
On that same note, did you know liquor laws have loosened up a LOT during the quarantine? Don’t ask how I know… But really, before all of this, it was extremely hard to get beer and wine from a lot of states and now you can practically get it shipped anywhere, barring a few exceptions. If you have a favorite brewery in another state, now’s your time to order their stuff straight to your door.
04. Feature businesses on your platforms.
I have been a big fan of sharing some of my fav brands on social media, my blog, and my newsletter for years but now it’s especially imperative. I’ve been intentionally shouting out my true loves (aka, the small biz’s that make my life better and more balanced) now more than ever, like the non-toxic skincare line that saved my skin Primally Pure and the company that literally removes the stress of running a small business, HoneyBook. I adore these guys and want to make sure they know that in these times.
Who can you spread the love about? Do an IG Story round-up, link their websites in an email to your list, or publish a blog post about your local favorites and the ways people can show up for them right now. Supporting small businesses isn’t just tossing them money, though that will always be helpful… But sometimes it’s just spreading the word and introducing their goods to new eyes.
05. Pay ahead for services.
When all of this hit, I couldn’t stop worrying about the people in my life who provide exceptional services, but who would no longer be able to work for the foreseeable future due to Coronavirus. We reached out to our hair person, my wax lady, and my brow lady to pay for the rest of the year in services in order to try to boost their income during a time when they couldn’t provide their services.
I would be devastated to see them go out of business because of this, and so while you may not be able to pay for a year, maybe you could Venmo your next treatment or two. Maybe it’s your house cleaner, your kids’ tutor or babysitter, your manicurist — whoever it is, they will certainly appreciate the help and you’ll get to go back to their incredible services once this is over.
I know we won’t all be able to give to every business we love in every way listed here, but I think the beauty of this time is that we’re seeing that even the smallest things can help. A kind word, a shared story, a referral. It’s all keeping us moving forward. And the only way we’ll continue to be able to move forward is by coming together, and lifting one another up in any ways that we can. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for choosing to support small businesses. Your love and generosity does NOT go unnoticed.