Jeff Ber Explains How Communities Can Stay Connected and Help Out Local Businesses Amid COVID-19
As a result of the extensive measures to curb the spread of COVID-19, thousands of small businesses across Canada were forced to close their doors. Unfortunately, small business makes up 98% of all employer businesses in Canada, which has had a major impact on the economy. Compared to major retailers, small businesses were more likely to see a decrease in revenue, resulting in a record number of layoffs. As the VP of Operations at the charitable organization OneBall, Jeff Ber believes that we can all do our part to support local business.
E-commerce has seen a major surge during the pandemic. However, before placing an order with Amazon or Walmart, spend some time researching local businesses to see if they can offer what you’re looking for. From stationery to books and cooking utensils, there are likely dozens of local businesses in your neighbourhood that would benefit immensely from your purchase. As many of these retailers have shifted their focus online, delivery or curbside pick-up is often still available. While this requires an upfront investment of your time, becoming familiar with local businesses can have a long-term positive impact on your community.
Connect Directly With Businesses
There are hundreds of digital ‘marketplaces’ online. Whether it is Etsy, Amazon, or UberEats, you can support local businesses by ordering directly from their websites instead of on these marketplace sites. Many marketplaces charge businesses an upfront fee for every purchase made, which takes much needed funds away from businesses that are already struggling. Jeff Ber claims that if you find marketplaces useful for discovering new businesses online, you can take it a step further by connecting directly to their websites to complete your purchase. This puts a little bit of power back in the hands of business owners.
Show Your Support Online
If you’re not able to purchase anything at the moment, Jeff Ber explains that the easiest way to show local business some love is through online support. Thousands of local businesses that used to rely heavily on foot traffic, word of mouth, and traditional marketing techniques have had to adapt to an e-commerce model — with mixed results. You can help support their efforts by sharing, posting, liking, and commenting on their posts to help generate additional sales and awareness. A few simple shout outs for local businesses can go a long way (don’t forget to tag them!).
Offer Up Your Professionals Skills
Everyone has a set of unique talents and skills that can help local businesses thrive. Whether you’re an accountant, digital marketing specialist, or lawyer, your skills can go a long way in helping small businesses survive during the pandemic. Consider offering free consulting services to a local business on a weekly basis to give back in a meaningful way. Jeff Ber states that this type of volunteer work could be the difference between a business that thrives or closes its doors.
Lastly, Jeff Ber explains that one of the simplest things you can do for small businesses right now is be kind and patient. Local shops are under immense pressure, so a kind word, a smile, or thoughtful e-mail can go a long way.