The outbreak of COVID-19 has taken a toll on many people, families, and organizations around the world. It has also resulted in difficult times for many of our black owned businesses, which are incredibly vital and unique to our individual communities. Some businesses have been forced to temporarily close, and many others have had to scale back or change their operations completely. While it’s easy to feel powerless in a time like this, there are still a few things we can do to support our community.
- Utilize Social Media – Follow, Like, Share, Comment and spread the news of your local businesses to all of your friends and followers! Did you get an incredible lunch delivered right to your door, or fantastic customer service from your local grocer? Give them a shout-out!
- Be Understanding – We are in unprecedented times and some businesses have either been forced to temporarily close or have made the difficult decision to do so for safety reasons. Be understanding. Know that each business is different and they are doing what’s best for them, and try to support them in any way possible. Reach out to the business owners or employees to ask how they are doing, or to simply let them know you support their decisions. It means a lot!
- Purchase Gift Cards – For those businesses who are unable to remain open, purchase a gift card now to use later. This will help bridge the cash-flow gap for those businesses. Buy future you a date night, shopping spree, or lunch with friends!
- Reschedule Your Appointments Instead of Cancelling- During times like these, everyone can use a morale boost. While we may not know what tomorrow or next week may look like, looking at this situation as if it is temporary and it is will help you and the local businesses in your area maintain positivity. One of the ways you can do this is by rescheduling any appointments you have instead of canceling. Again, we have no idea how long this situation will last, but postponing an appointment lets that small business know that they still have customers who are ready to jump back into their regular routines once this situation ends. It also allows local companies to see that they have a loyal customer base and that there is a light at the end of the tunnel for all involved.
- Select Black Owned Businesses for Your Needs in Quarantine – In most parts of the country, individuals are being urged to stay inside. As a result, many of us are realising that we need to restock supplies while self-quarantining. So, if you need to replenish items like activities or games for children, educational resources, books, cleaning supplies, and even non-perishable foods, see if you can order these items from a black owned business in your area that has an e-commerce store. If no one locally is offering these items, still look for small businesses online that do.
- Offer your guidance- Online platforms are the saving grace for many small business owners, serving as the only channel for them to reach out to their consumers now. However, not all of them might know how to kick start their business online, especially if they aren’t aren’t from the tech-savvy generation. Now’s the time to reach out and offer your expertise – be it in web design or marketing – to assist them with the transition from a physical to online.Apart from tech guidance, sharing financial advice or simply brainstorming ideas on alternative business models could be of great help to these smaller players. You wouldn’t want to see your favourite mom-and-pop shop close down for good, would you?
These simple changes can go a long way in helping businesses improve cash flow, keep employees on payroll, or just to feel connected and boost morale.