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I just started marketing my business’s one-year party when coronavirus was officially declared a global pandemic and the United States issued the “safer at home” warning. This party was going to have a huge fluffy therapy dog named Sir Charles during the day and cocktails at night. It was going to be a blissful celebration of taking the risk and investing everything we had to pursue what we care about: people and community.

I can almost hear the wine glasses gracefully clinking as we cheers while thinking, “Phew, what an adventure!” Fast forward to today, 75 percent of Americans are under some form of a stay-at-home order. At this point, small businesses everywhere are just hoping to open their doors again. 

Small businesses everywhere are just hoping to open their doors again. 

After talking with other local businesses, here are some ways to support the hardworking people behind your favorite neighborhood spots:

  1. If the business is a food or beverage company, then now is the time to order to-go.
  2. If online ordering is an option, then choose it versus placing an order on the phone!
    This means less interaction, less germs and more time for their team to make your food or prepare your drinks.
  3. Be patient and kind if your order is taking longer than usual.
    Many small businesses have had to lay off their employees, which is heartbreaking for both sides. Therefore, they are wearing a lot of hats or some are even running a one-man show.
  4. Now is the time to catch up on all those reviews you’ve been meaning to leave.
    Copy and paste your lovely reviews to Facebook, Google and Yelp! This helps immensely, plus when they read it, they’ll be encouraged!
  5. If you’re buying a gift card to be helpful, then first ask the business owner.
    Not every kind of business finds it beneficial.
  6. If there is product or merch online, then start shopping!
    Maybe even Christmas shopping if it’s not too early.
  7. Repost their info on your social media.
    For my own business, Instagram has been the top way for people to find us.
  8. If they started a GoFundMe for their employees, then chip in when you can. 
    According to the Economic Policy Institute, an estimated 3.4 million people have filed unemployment in the past week.
  9. Follow the 6’ rule while you’re waiting in their line.
  10. When the stay-at-home orders are lifted, don’t forget about them!
    They may be playing financial catch up for a while and no one knows how long it will take the economy to recover.

Remember that behind every local business that you love are hard-working people who have poured blood, sweat and tears into opening their doors to the community. It is not for the faint of heart. They are passionate and driven people who genuinely care about their city. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have started the crazy entrepreneur journey to begin with. 

This pandemic is new for everyone. Let’s help each other out where we can and stay kind! 

What are your favorite small or local businesses? How can you support them at this time? Drop their company names in the comments.

Image via Natalie Nicklin, Darling Issue No. 10

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