As the coronavirus' impact on our country continues to raise more questions than answers, we'rethinking about the members of our Nine family who run small businesses. We are all feeling the tension of wanting to lend a helping hand but also wanting to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe and healthy. With this in mind, here are nine social-distancing-friendly ways we can rally together to support local shops during this time of uncertainty.
1. If you're feeling sick, stay home.
This is probably the most important contribution you can make to join the fight to contain COVID-19, not just for small businesses but for all parties involved. If you are not feeling well and experiencing flu-like symptoms, do not go out in public. You are running the risk of infecting someone else. To you, it may only mean being out of commission for a few weeks, but for someone who is more at-risk, it could be the difference between life and death. If you think you may be sick, contact your local healthcare provider before you visit the clinic.
2. Visit their business online.
You're stuck at home, so what better way to cope with the madness than going on an online shopping spree? But before you hit up the big name brand stores, check to see if your favorite small businesses have a website you can order their products or services from. These business' foot traffic will be heavily influenced as mandates are put in place to keep communities healthy. This is a win-win situation: Retail therapy for you and business for local shops.
3. Buy gift cards for later.
Maybe you're feeling a little antsy about running to your local coffee shop for a latte or ordering food from your favorite diner. Consider buying gift cards that can be used for future purchases. Things are crazy now, but they won't be this way forever. This will provide profits for local businesses to help deal with the financial blow that circumstances like this could cause.
4. Order takeout/delivery from your favorite local restaurant.
By now we've all experienced the notorious COVID-19 failed attempt at a grocery store run. Instead of unearthing an old pack of Ramen Noodles from the back of your pantry, call in a carryout order from your favorite local restaurant.
5. Pray for small business owners.
We believe in the power of prayer around here. This season is saturated with uncertainty, which can induce a lot of stress and fear in the hearts and lives of those in our community, particularly those with small businesses. They are carrying a lot of weight on their shoulders and having to make some tough decisions. Pray for wisdom, courage, and provision on behalf of these local shop owners.
6. Understand the hard decisions.
We understand that closures are frustrating, but it is important to remember that the effects of COVID-19 extend beyond our own little inconveniences. Be patient with local businesses as they navigate uncharted waters. We're all taking this a day at a time.
7. Reach out through social media.
Out of sight doesn't have to mean out of mind! Reach out to local businesses on social media to let them know you're thinking about them. Leave a review on their pages. Share their account with your followers. This will not only encourage people to check out their business, but it will also show shop owners that they're not facing this alone.
8. Consider small before the big guys.
The big businesses of the world may experience dips in annual revenues, but for small businesses, losing customers for a few months could be the very thing that shuts their doors. Your natural tendency may be to turn to big name stores and online ordering services, but consider the implications for local shops. This is their livelihood.
9. Call in your orders.
You can play it smart and pay it forward. If you plan on supporting a small business, particularly a food establishment, call in your orders to limit the number of people you come in contact with, as well as the amount of time you spend outside your home.
Play it smart and pay it forward!
ABOUT THE NINE
The Nine specializes in web design, development, and digital marketing. The company’s custom content management system lets customers easily manage their own website. The Nine has had the honor of working with clients like The City of Tuscaloosa, The Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama, The University of Alabama, The Alabama Realtors Association, The Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, Alabama One Credit Union, Benchmark Rings, Pritchett-Moore Real Estate, and Colonnade Group. For those interested in using The Nine for their next project, visit www.nine.is to get an estimate.