How to Support Local SMEs During Coronavirus

How to Support Local SMEs During Coronavirus

With the coronavirus pandemic taking over the country, it's time to support small businesses that rely on local custom to stay afloat. Here's how you can help.

By Jessica Smith

Here are a few ways you can support local businesses feeling the pinch of coronavirus and lessen the risk of these businesses coming to a grinding halt. Whether it's your local corner shop, bakery, or hair salon, they all need our help to stay afloat during this time.  

1. Shop local 

When you’re next on the hunt for toilet roll or pasta, whether online or offline, consider whether your local shop might have the items you need. It’s often the norm, while shopping, to default to the big supermarkets, but try heading to your local food hall, butchers, or bakery. If you are self-isolating, check their websites or social media pages. Many small shops are now offering delivery services to those who are vulnerable or in isolation, pulling together the local community while the drop in footfall continues to grow.  

2. Buy vouchers for the future

Have your plans for the weekend changed because you can’t go to the local theatre or beauty salon due to social distancing or venue closures? Purchasing a voucher for future use helps steady a business’ cash flow, and reassures them that, once the threat of coronavirus has subsided, they will still have customers. It can also be used as a little pick-me-up and something to look forward to once out of self-isolation.  

3. Does your favourite local restaurant offer takeaway?

Not looking forward to spending all day cooped up indoors, working from home, and then making dinner for yourself? Check to see whether your local restaurant is offering a takeaway service rather than dining in. With local authorities becoming more lenient on businesses offering a takeaway service, this is the prime time to still enjoy your favourite dish while in the comfort of your own home.   

4. Plan for the future

Take this time to plan what work you would like to do around the house. Looking to build your extension, paint the living room or even change the bathroom? It might not be the best time to get the builders in, but you can still reach out to architects, builders, painters and decorators and ask for quotes, rough time scales and catalogues to be posted out so you can start making decisions while you have a lot more time on your hands. 

5. Work business-to-business 

Do you run a business that might benefit from some help from other small business owners, or can you offer other business owners help or advice? With lots of local networking events being postponed, look to see if there are any taking place via Facebook Live or group video calls. Check out your local business association or Chamber of Commerce websites to see if there are any online networking events you can attend, or reach out directly to other small business owners to connect with them.  

6. Encourage friends and family to shop local

With a growing number of people taking to social media to stay in touch with others while in self-isolation, it’s a great time to share posts from your local small businesses. You might not need the product or service being offered yourself, but someone on your friends list might. With many small businesses using social media as a platform to promote their offerings and keep customers updated, we are seeing increasing numbers of posts for businesses who are running special offers or delivery services. Help them stay at the forefront of people’s minds by sharing these posts with those who you think will benefit.  

7. Postpone, don’t cancel

Another good way to show local small businesses your support is to postpone your appointments rather than cancelling. With the Government’s advice being to self-isolate if you are showing any symptoms of coronavirus, a lot of smaller businesses are dealing with unprecedented numbers of cancellations. Consider whether you can postpone your appointment to a later date rather than cancelling altogether, as this will make a massive difference to the business in question.

8. Positivity and reassurance

And finally, try to stay positive for everyone and show your reassurance to small businesses and the local community in any way that you can. With a lot of doom and gloom around currently, reassuring our local small businesses will have a positive impact for them in these uncertain times.