Your Favorite Local Businesses Need Your Help! 6 Ways to Support Them During COVID-19 Outbreak

Small businesses are the lifeblood of our communities. They’re our favorite places to go for a quick lunch or a night out with friends; they tune-up and wash our cars; they curate unique clothing and home goods for our families; they keep our hair and nails looking fresh.

Unfortunately because of the Coronavirus, the various city and statewide measures that keep us all safe right now are crushing many of the small businesses that make our communities vibrant and unique. We want to make sure that, once we’re able to move past the Coronavirus outbreak, the local businesses that we all love and rely on are able to bounce back strong. In order to do that, we must make sure that these businesses survive.

How do we do that? Take action! Here are six things you can do:

1. Find and follow your local businesses on social media

Many businesses use their social media pages to communicate their latest specials, news, and other important updates. We’ve seen many local businesses using their Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages to let customers know how they can support their business during this time. Be on the lookout for delivery and pick-up options, modified store hours, GoFundMe donation drives, and other special offerings to help boost their revenue.

2. Purchase a gift card or prepay for future goods and services

Gift cards are an easy way to get cash quickly to these businesses so they can keep their employees and pay their bills. Check their website and social media for links to buy a gift card online or call them to ask. If their business doesn’t currently offer gift cards, you can send them this article on how to quickly launch and promote a gift card program. You can also offer to prepay for future services or goods. For example, call or email your hair or nail salon and ask if you can buy multiple services over the phone that you can use once they reopen for business.

3. Donate funds using GoFundMe or Venmo

Some folks are willing and able to donate to their favorite businesses – no strings attached. If that is you, awesome! First, head over to the GoFundMe website and use their search box to see if there is already a donation campaign for the particular business you’re interested in supporting financially. GoFundMe recently announced that business pages that have been claimed by the business owner on Yelp automatically have a GoFundMe started on their behalf. Local community members are able to search their favorite businesses on Yelp and click on the “donate” button within the businesses’ profile to provide their support.

If the business you want to donate to doesn’t have an active donation campaign, help them create one (or do it for them!) with this how-to article. Or as an easy last resort, just Venmo or Paypal the owner and/or staff directly!

4. Join their customer loyalty program and/or email lists

Head to the business’ website and sign up for their customer rewards program or mailing list. This will keep you in the loop for special member offers, direct updates from the business, and allows you to earn and redeem rewards after the various city and state lock-downs are eventually lifted. If the business is part of the Fivestars network, we’ve made it easy for you to join their rewards program with the click of a button. Find Fivestars businesses near you and join online from their profile pages here.

5. Contact your local and state governments and urge them to support your community’s small businesses

Our local businesses need support beyond what we as individuals can provide. In addition to your personal support, we hope that you will sign our Change.org petition or write your local representatives directly to ask the government to provide more aid to small businesses (we’ve got a letter template to get you started). Find your local representatives here: Congress Representative Finder & State and Municipal Representative Finder.

6. Take care of yourself and family – be safe!

Follow your city and state safety orders, wash your hands FREQUENTLY, and practice social distancing of at least six feet! Your community needs you healthy and ready to bounce back once this Coronavirus outbreak begins to subside. Here’s to future get-togethers at our favorite restaurants and bars, hair and nail salon pamper sessions, and group travel and shopping trips!

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Angela Prilliman

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