ACCORDING TO THE SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION, THERE ARE OVER 30 MILLION SMALL BUSINESSES IN AMERICA, AND ABOUT HALF OF ALL AMERICAN WORKERS EITHER WORK FOR A SMALL BUSINESS OR OWN ONE.
More important than these numbers, however, are the people behind them. Local small businesses are often at the heart of communities, giving customers individualized attention and unique products.
With the challenging year most small businesses have had, sales from this holiday season are more important than ever. Delivery, curbside pick-up, FaceTime orders and virtual classes are a few creative ways small businesses have connected with customers since social distancing began in March.
Here are some ways you can support the small businesses you love while doing your holiday shopping.
Buy from the Moms and Pops.
If you need something, think twice before you start clicking away at big box store websites. They will weather financial storms better than smaller shops. If you are staying home this holiday season, give business to small stores that you would visit during more normal times.
Show Up Big for Small Business Saturday.
Since 2010, the small business counterpart to Black Friday has been Small Business Saturday. It falls on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and gives customers a way to support small businesses in their neighborhoods while getting great deals on merchandise and services. This year Small Business Saturday falls on Nov. 28, but if you can’t dedicate your time to that day, discuss it with your family and make your own date to holiday shop from local, small businesses. Check in with your favorite businesses and see what deals they are extending past Small Business Saturday.
Take advantage of delivery.
Some local stores are taking orders and payment over the phone, and then delivering to your doorstep. This not only stops face-to-face contact, but gives you a break from physically shopping during a season that is normally hectic.
Purchase gift cards or gift certificates for future use.
Purchasing gift cards is an easy way to support a small business. If there is a business that you frequent throughout the year, why not purchase more than you normally would for this season? It will give the business a boost, and save time for you later. Also, some businesses are able to send a gift card virtually to your email so there is no contact.
Order merchandise online if the local store gets the sale.
If you are limiting face-to-face shopping this year, buy online from your favorite small business. However, if the local store is part of a bigger chain, make sure the local proprietor gets the sale. If not, find another way to purchase items, such as curbside pick-up.
Check out merchandise using social media and electronic formats.
If a store is using social media and Face Time to give you a virtual tour, take advantage of that service. Call in or email your order to the store and then use curbside pick-up or delivery.
Reach out and request.
Want to do even more to support local small businesses? Call to find out ways you can give them your business during this unusual holiday season. Small business owners are getting creative, and they will probably be happy to share ways you can support them during this challenging time.
Take a virtual class.
Does your child’s favorite music instructor or sports coach offer virtual classes? Sign up for one now. Are there any virtual subscription services you can order that will support a small business? Try them out! Some business owners offer a discount if you buy several lessons in advance.
Leave a Positive Review
If you purchase a product from a local small business and it’s amazing, leave a glowing review. If you get friendly, efficient customer service, talk it up on social media. People often make purchases because a trusted friend has recommended a business. Be that friend to small businesses this holiday season.
Contribute to Go Fund Me
Some small businesses have started Go Fund Me pages to help pay employees and stay afloat. Consider donating to one of these to keep your favorite small business operating through this challenging season.
In the spring, many small business owners were blindsided by the challenges social distancing created for their businesses. In the spirit of the season, support them during the holidays so they can remain a vibrant part of your local neighborhood.