Supporting Local Business During Tough Times

Local businesses are the lifeline of the Australian economy. And, while it is the norm for every business to expect the unexpected and equip itself with tools to help it bounce back when tough times hit, many are still grappling with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Those that can’t weather the storm end up closing – for good.

It’s important to state categorically that the survival of the local businesses in your community relies, in large part, on your efforts to keep them going. In the same way, you look out for yourself and your loved ones, supporting the businesses in your locale is just as important.

Think of it as your secondary calling. Doing so plays an integral role in promoting a vibrant, thriving community. So, what can you do to help?

Here are 5 foolproof ways of supporting local business during tough times.

1. Shop Online

Since the pandemic began, people are generally less willing to go out on unnecessary shopping trips to the mall or grocery store. A great way to keep the local store doors open would be to shop online.

Granted, not all local businesses have an online shop. Nonetheless, you may still be able to find them on other shopping channels like Amazon, or even social networking sites like Instagram and Facebook.

If they’re not on any digital platform, look up their contact information, give them a call, and ask them how you can order for their products. They’ll be more than happy to find a way to get you the products you need.

You can even place an order over the phone and arrange for a pick-up and delivery service to get the product(s) to your doorstep. Alternatively, you could pick it up curbside if you would rather not get into the store.

Some businesses have set up delivery routes that correspond to those that their employees use every day to get home from work. That way, they can arrange to drop off your order on their way to wherever they’re going.

2. Keep Ordering Take-Out

Restaurants and coffee shops have been hard-hit by the pandemic. The number of patrons who would previously flock to their local diners has reduced drastically, with most people preferring to eat at home as opposed to going to a restaurant for a sit-in dinner, lunch, or coffee-date.

Besides, if your household’s income has been affected, you might have to cut back on the number of times you’re eating out. However, when you do choose to order out, pick a local eatery to help keep their doors open and their staff employed.

If, on the other hand, your financial situation has remained largely the same as it was before the pandemic, order takeout from the local diner as opposed to that big-brand franchise-owned restaurant like KFC or McDonald’s.

Not only does ordering from local restaurants help keep those businesses going, but it also supports a whole ecosystem of individuals – like the delivery drivers – who draw an income from that establishment.

Plus, you won’t have to cook! So, it’s a win-win either way you look at it.

3. Supporting Local Business by Buying Gift Cards

Most struggling businesses grapple with one thing – cash flow. Without enough money coming in at the time when the business needs it, it makes it hard for the owners to meet their recurring expenditure and overheads.

Without adequate cash flow, businesses have no money to pay the bills, the rent, staff salaries, and any other expense required to run a business effectively. If the situation persists for long enough, local business owners have no choice but to close their doors for good.

A great way to support local businesses in your community would be to buy gift cards that you can use later. Gift cards inject cash into small businesses to help cushion them against tough times until such a time when normalcy resumes.

Until then, local businesses can keep paying their staff and footing their overhead bills since they have some cash to meet their basic recurring expenses. Think of it as an advanced purchase. Gift cards are a major lifeline for local businesses.

4. Spread the Word on Social Media

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a local business that isn’t using social media to promote their products and services. The majority of them are spending a considerable amount of time and resources on building a budding social media presence. And they’re using content to do it.

Engaging with your favourite local brand on social platforms goes a long way in increasing their online visibility. You’ll be surprised at the world of difference liking, subscribing, commenting, or sharing their posts makes.

The way social media algorithms work is – if a particular piece of content is generating a high level of engagement among users of the platform, it begins to appear in the feeds of users who don’t even follow the account in question. This, in turn, increases the brand’s visibility.

You can even go a step further and create content to promote the brand. Write a post talking about how a particular product or service impacted your life. Mention why you like it and what makes it stand out from the competition. Then tag them in it to drive traffic to their page.

More traffic means more sales, which is ultimately what will keep them in business.

5. Buy Locally-Made Products

When you do decide to venture out into the world and stock up on your household items, make a point to buy things made by local companies. Many small grocery stores stock commodities produced locally.

Even something as seemingly insignificant as buying coffee from the local roaster will do a world of good to support their business, as opposed to getting your vanilla latte from Starbucks.

Starbucks will be just fine at the end of the day. It’s the local coffee business serving your community that needs your support.  The same thing goes for items like bread, alcohol, and fresh produce. If you can help your local baker, brewer, and farmer stay in business, you’ll have done your part.

Lend a Helping Hand Where You Can

Times are tough for everyone given the current state of affairs brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. And it will take a while before the economy bounces back to its glory days.

A large part of that involves supporting local business by doing your part to keep their doors open. The tips outlined in this article would be a great place to start.

In the meantime, does your local business need funding during these tough times? Use our small business loan finder tool to connect with 70+ non-bank lenders to get an unsecured business loan instantly.

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