The year begins with a new lockdown for the UK. Just like last year, we need to do our bit to help small businesses survive the pandemic. It is fair to say that everyone is struggling. Some find it hard to secure their peace of mind. others can’t maintain a healthy work/life balance at home. An alarming number of people have difficulties meeting their financial obligations during lockdown. Did you know that some independent professionals have not been able to work since March 2020?
On this terrifying thought, here’s a much more important one to keep in mind. Small businesses will play a crucial role in the economic recovery of the country. So, it would be only fair to do our bit and figure out how we can help them. After all, we’re all in this together, aren’t we? What can we do to make life easier for our small businesses?
No restaurant? I eat at home
The eat out to help out scheme launched by the government in 2020 doesn’t apply to the current situation. Almost 50,000 restaurants, cafes, and pubs have been able to claim over £849m through the scheme in 2020. However, with the UK under covid alert level 5, restaurants can’t remain open. Yet, you can and should still order from your local restaurants to help them survive the pandemic. More and more restaurants have turned to platforms such as Uber eat and Just Eat, that allow them to publish and promote an online menu. It is worth checking for takeaway options online rather than resorting to your usual place. You may be surprised to discover that your favourite bistro restaurant has made its best-selling dishes available for delivery. It’s a great opportunity to kill two birds with one stone: skip all the dinner preps and help out safely.
Pay them NOW
Seriously, does it need saying?
You might have other financial priorities, but you can’t afford to make small businesses wait longer than necessary for payment. They face the same situation! Ideally, you need to be considerate if you’re paying on invoice. Clearing the bill as soon as possible can make things easier for them. Additionally, a direct debit setup can also ensure no business has to wait for you. Some companies have already taken back control of their unpaid invoices by introducing a direct debit collection service, which reduces the risk of payment delays. However, when the option isn’t available, it’s up to you to make things easier for them.
Replace chains with small businesses
Big chains inspire trust during a pandemic. But it can be more rewarding to purchase from small businesses. First of all, you’re less likely to end up buying the same thing as everyone else. In a world where we all crave uniqueness, it’s sad to invest in mass-produced “unique pieces”. Instead, you’ll find more joy in small-scaled designs, such as small boutiques on Etsy or Notonthehighstreet. Both are superb starting points for jewellery and greeting cards. Etsy also has a range of vintage shops for furniture, clothing, and gadgets, that is unmatched. Ultimately, if you’ve got a friend who’s celebrated a lockdown birthday, you want something special and distinctive to surprise them. That’s where those platforms are making a difference in promoting quirky little boutiques!
Spread the love
A lot of small businesses are looking for alternatives online to promote their activities. You are likely to stumble upon your local shops on social media as they share news and engaging content with their followers. For them, the struggle is real. Of course, a like on Facebook or a retweet is unlikely to make a monetary difference at the end of the day. But sometimes, the little attention can give someone the strength they need to carry on in the face of adversity. Helping your small businesses survive is also about letting them know that you care about them.
Put your mask on
The sooner the infection rate drops, the sooner small businesses can restart their operations. Whether it’s your hairdresser or your favourite cafe, they all rely on you to wash your hands, respect social distances and put your mask on. Doing your bit doesn’t have to be all about spending locally. Not everyone can afford to spend their spare cash. But, everyone can follow covid restrictions. To paraphrase Tinkerbell in Hook, every time someone says “I do not believe in wearing a mask”, somewhere, there’s a small business that dies.
When will the lockdown finally end? According to the government, this phase of the pandemic is crucial in determining when it will be safe to go back to life as normal. But what’s life as normal if there are no small businesses around anymore? We can’t afford not to protect our small shops, retails, and salons. So, during this lockdown, how about we give them a hand to go through the worst of the crisis?