More than 31% of all small businesses in the U.S. remained closed or partially closed due to the lingering effects of the COVID 19 Pandemic. (Oberlo.com, 2020)) The disruption in small business commerce has had devastating consequences for owners who might never be able to recover. For those slowly reopening and dealing with new restrictions and new safety requirements, has made running their small business even more challenging. And yet the entrepreneurial spirit persists.
There are 30.7 million small businesses in the U.S. which account for 99.9 percent of all U.S. businesses (SBA, 2019).
At the start of 2020, business owners were focused on five major areas. Cyber security; Attracting new business; Competitive challenges; Utilizing and leveraging Online Reviews and Cashflow. These areas were the most pressing of the day-to-day concerns for small business owners. Now, the focus has shifted to include labor and customer safety, getting and qualifying for government benefit support and adjusting their physical spaces to meet new restrictions. Complicating small businesses success are the varying state-to-state restrictions and guidelines. There is no single road-map. There is no survival manual available for small business owners. They are writing them in real time.
According to the Small Business Administration, small companies create 1.5 million jobs annually and account for 64 percent of new jobs created in the U.S. (Fundera, 2019).
There is no question that supporting small business is critical to get the economic engine running again. Putting people to work and restoring morale is important for all communities. This new normal is not easy, but it is real.
Over 90 percent of the business population represents small- and medium-sized businesses, also known as SMEs (SalesForce, 2019). And as the last statistics showed, small companies are responsible for creating a large number of jobs.
So, what can you do to support small business owners in your community? Here is a list of quick and easy steps to take today.
- Share your favorite stores or businesses website on your own social media platforms. Tell people why your love their products or service and encourage them to post similar information.
- Write a 5-star review on Trust Pilot or Yelp, etc. If you aren’t social media savvy, write the business a letter letting them know why you support them and encourage them to share it on their social media or post it in their establishment.
- Refer a friend or colleague to the business and openly recommended the business as an option to your immediate circle of influence.
- Follow your favorite business on social media and engage with their posts and updates.
- Sign up for a business’ newsletter or email marketing so that you can share their news with your contacts.
- Seek out a local alternative for products or services that you might have gone out of market for in the past.
- Shift a portion of your budget from big box retailers and make purchases at a local outlet instead.
While much of what we can do relates to spending and purchasing, simply letting a local business know you care can go a long way. It’s free to like a social media post or share a newsletter. It takes just a few minutes to leave a glowing review or recommend business. Those activities are free but priceless!
Remember these small business owners are members of your community. So be kind if you have to wait a little longer than usual. Follow the new procedures and honor new policies put in place to make operations a bit easier for the business. Smile and let the staff know you appreciate everything they are doing. The power of kindness and patience a great investment in the business’ future.
Kindness doesn’t cost us anything and it has great benefits.
Did you know that kindness is contagious and that it can be taught? Richard Davidson, PhD, of the University of Wisconsin explains this concept using a relatable analogy: “It’s kind of like weight training, we found that people can actually build up their compassion ‘muscle’ and respond to others’ suffering with care and a desire to help.” (RMHP.com, 2019)
Kindness is contagious, so spread it around. Spread it through your small business community and watch it blossom.