From the local coffee shop that knows my preferred beverage to the barber shop that has been cutting my family’s hair for four generations to the childcare center that we trust, these businesses create neighborhood culture, foster community vibrancy and make me feel at home. I am really worried about the shops that are a regular and essential part of my life.
Small businesses around the globe are the heartbeat of our communities. In the U.S., there are 30.7 million small businesses employing 58.9 million people, comprising 47.5% of the country’s total employee workforce (SBA). From the local coffee shop that knows your preferred beverage to the barber shop that has been cutting your family’s hair for four generations to the childcare center that everyone trusts, these businesses fuel jobs, create neighborhood culture and foster community vibrancy. As COVID-19 continues to strike our cities and towns, these businesses face the urgent challenge of how to stay afloat.
Through my work nationwide via the Empower by GoDaddy program, every day I see entrepreneurs apply their grit, resiliency and determination to carve a path forward. They are learning new skills virtually so their businesses can have a strong digital presence and networking with peers to problem-solve. They inspire me as an entrepreneur and also remind me how quickly one family can move from stability to crisis. As governments try to control the virus by closing all non-essential businesses and e-commerce sites (such as Amazon) stop fulfilling Purchase Orders for non-essential items for many weeks, these businesses desperately need our support.
Here are some ways that you can help:
Check-in and Lend Your Professional Skills:
If you know any small business owners, check-in with them and see how they are doing. It is a stressful time and a phone call can go a long way. Get curious, ask where they may need support. Offer your professional skills if they align, or help them find the resources and skills they need – it may be in tech, communications, law, HR, finance and a range of other things that many of us do every day.
Share Resources with Local Entrepreneurs:
Small businesses can apply for capital via the new CARES Act. See this guide and information on the Small Business Administration website. GoDaddy launched Open We Stand with tips, coaching and free digital tools to help small businesses with their digital presence and marketing. And, a list of diverse national and local resources for how to help business and their workers can be found here: public private strategies.
Embrace your local shops or other small e-commerce businesses. I appreciate how easy it is to go for convenience via Amazon, but now is the time to shop small! Many local stores are adjusting their model and conducting delivery or curbside service, even for books, toys and other less-essentials. Some states are making it easy to find your local option by creating lists of local businesses and services and sharing how to support them at this time. If you need a creative gift for a birthday or anniversary, support local artisans by checking our sites such as live buy local and etsy.
Join the movement to eat local with your favorite restaurants, even if you can’t get there. Buy restaurant gift cards and merchandise online and/or share your favorite menu item via their social channels.
Many initiatives are being established to help small businesses with grants, tools and resources during this crisis. The GoFundMe.org Small Business Relief Fund will provide micro-grants to qualifying small businesses negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Small Business Relief Fund is part of the Small Business Relief Initiative : a program supported by GoFundMe, Yelp, and Intuit QuickBooks.
To support local restaurant workers, regional funds are being set up such as Massachusetts’s Restaurant Strong Fund for restaurant workers who are not able to work at this time. You can also consider donating to support families impacted by the restaurant industry such as the Children of Restaurant Employees charity.
Donate, Don’t Cancel:
If you booked an event or party at a local business and had to cancel it, instead of asking for a refund, maybe donate your fee. This may also be a local theatre or cultural organization where you may had plans to see a show. They’d greatly appreciate your ticket fees as they struggle.
And lastly, if you’re looking to make a charitable donation to small business needs overall in your area, your local Community Foundation is a great place to research as they likely have a small business Fund.
Let’s take small and big action together. Onward!