Owning and running a small business isn’t for the faint of hard even on the best of days, let alone during a global health and economical crisis ripe with uncertainty and intermittent, inconsistent government mandated closures around every corner.
Whether it’s an independent coffee shop that provides a place of gathering for a community or a clothing shop that gives up-and-coming designers a chance to launch their lines, the small businesses that make up the fabric of our neighborhoods are an essential part of our local, national, and even our global economic well-being. Now, they need help.
Small businesses have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic
Canadian small businesses have been disproportionately affected by the economic downturns resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Small businesses, particularly in the service industry, like local restaurants and salons, were more likely than big box retailers to see their revenue plummet by more than 40% this year. They were also more likely to have to lay off employees and to have their request for payment deferrals rejected.
To add salt on the word of systemc economic disparities, female and visible minority business owners have suffered the worst of this downturn. Black-owned businesses in the United States were hit especially hard while Latinx and Asian businesses also experienced substantial losses.
Uncertainty is plaguing both businesses and consumers this holiday season
Now, with the uncertainty and miscommunication around the rules of closures and lockdown this holiday season, the financial strain and stress of the future of these small businesses is coming to a boiling point.
And, as bad as this is for small business owners and the local economy, the negative effects are also affecting consumers. More than half of respondents from a study conducted by PwC reported job loss or reduced hours during the pandemic. For those who haven’t seen a change to their employment status, there remains the looming fear that it might be coming. Understandably, many are tightening their purse strings this year.
Why supporting small business matters
It is more important than ever to carefully consider where we are going to spend each and every dollar, not just over the holiday season, but through the many months that will follow this crisis, during what will undoubtedly be a slow re-build.
Here are just a few reasons, not that you need convincing, of why small businesses not just need your support, but deserve it.
- The Multiplier Effect. When you shop at your local small business, the dollars you spend tend to stay within your community and assist with local development.
- Community. Small businesses create hubs of activity and spaces of gathering within neighbourhoods. In turn, increasing the tourism appeal and bringing more money into the community.
- Local Jobs. Small businesses create jobs. In Canada alone, small businesses employ over 8 million people.
- Big Dreams. Jabril Jalloh, Owner of Get Fresh Company, said it best in his recent Instagram post:
How to support small business this holiday season
Here’s how you can stand with local, Canadian small businesses and ensure they make it to 2021, and grow stronger than ever.
Amplify their reach.
Small businesses are not just battling social media algorithms, they’re also up against the massive ad budgets of their larger competitors. Every like, share, comment, and repost counts.
Buy a gift card.
If a business you love isn’t able to offer their services due to COVD-19 regulations, purchase a gift card from them, and plan a visit for when they do reopen. A little cash flow goes a long way.
Offer your services.
Are you an online advertising guru, a seasoned copywriter, or a marketing wizard? Reach out to some of your favorite local businesses and offer some complimentary services to help them out.
This one is pretty obvious but it bears repeating. Many small businesses have made significant investments to get their e-commerce systems up and running. Show their new website some love by sharing it with friends or, better yet, buy a couple things!
Support virtual alternatives.
It comes as no surprise to us that scrappy, resilient entrepreneurs have found creative ways to pivot their business. If your favorite local studio is offering online classes - sign up! If your local florist is doing Zoom workshops - attend one!
Team P&C’s small business picks
Team P&C is putting our money where our mouth is, and have some suggestions of amazing small businesses and independent makers to shop from and support this holiday season.
Check out some of our favourite local businesses:
Know a small business owner that deserves a little love? Give them a shout out in the comments below for people who still have to check things off their holiday list!