Let's address the elephant in the room - we are all living through the strangest of times right now. Suddenly, ordinary life got flipped upside down and we're all collectively changing our lives around this pandemic. It's not just a strange time - it's a scary time, and it's important to acknowledge the fear and anxiety you might be feeling right now. There's a million and a half things that I could say about the virus and the struggle we're all enduring, but I'll try and stick to one idea as best as I can. I want to talk about different ways you can support small businesses during a difficult time!
As we're all experiencing now, businesses, shops, restaurants, and more are facing a difficult choice - remain open, or close down. While some of these businesses face a decision, others had no option except to close. I wanted to talk about how everyone can support small businesses during this time - photographers, florists, bakers, tattoo shops, your favorite record store, antique shops, cafe's, and so many more. Here are a few tips I've picked up as a small business owner myself!
1. Invest Now So You Can Enjoy Later
I'll start with the most obvious - invest in a gift card or gift certificate for your favorite business! This is a fantastic way to support them during a closure, while still eventually being able to work with them again. Many photographers offer this deal (just like me!) even if it's not advertised on their website - you just need to ask! Oftentimes you can still pay off a gift certificate over time as well. Small businesses will be happy to work with you, and will be so thankful for the extra support!
2. Share and Repost on Social Media
For businesses that are open, or even those who are closed and still sharing content online, this is your chance to spread the word about their services or store! This is a fantastic and free way to share some love and put their posts on your Facebook feed, Instagram story, or on Snapchat! Think of it as digital word of mouth - all your friends and family will be able to see a business you support - and who knows, they might be in need of what you're sharing!
3. Write a Kind Review
If you have some free time on your hands (and I'm almost positive you do!) this is a fantastic time to leave a review or testimonial for businesses you've worked with before! These reviews go a very long way for small business owners - this will have a direct impact on gaining future clients, and I'm sure they'll appreciate some positivity as we're living through this difficult time. Most businesses will have a few different places where you can leave a review or send a testimonial - try checking their Google and Facebook pages. If in doubt, just send them an email showing your support!
4. Keep it Local
This might feel obvious, but it's hard NOT to fall into the trap of shopping online or browsing big businesses during this time. Support your local business first - the pizza shop around the corner, your favorite Chinese food restaurant, the town florist, or the bakery down the road! These are some of the places that might need your support the most right now. Supporting your local businesses will help stimulate the local economy and some of these place are really struggling to stay afloat during this difficult time.
5. Just Say Thank You
Going hand in hand with leaving a review or testimonial, you can also just take a moment to thank your local businesses for staying open and working hard through uncertain times. You can send them a kind email just showing your appreciation - this will certainly brighten their day and give them some assurance that they're doing the right thing! This might feel like an obvious act to do - but try and remember the last time you took a moment to leave an extra tip or say thank you to the guy who delivers your pizza, to your mailman, to retail workers who go to work every day and continue to risk their health to keep a job. This is the time to say - THANK YOU!
These are just five different ways to support your local businesses during a time of uncertainty and fear. Ultimately, the best way to support them is to continue to make those purchases, to continue to order from them, and thank them for what they're doing. It doesn't have to be a huge grand act to express your thanks and appreciation - saying thank you might brighten someones day, and making a purchase might guarantee they can buy their groceries this week.
I hope everyone is staying safe out there - hang in there. Things will turn out okay in the end. Have a great rest of your week!
(If you'd like to support my business at this time, I do offer hand-painted, mailed gift cards for future sessions! Feel free to inquire on my website or send an email if you're interested!)