The novel coronavirus has created a continuously changing and challenging environment for everyone. No person is left unaffected by the COVID-19 pandemic, whether that be in a small or large way. Businesses in particular are seeing significant changes. According to a recent report on how businesses are responding to the pandemic, the businesses that are growing the most are in online technology, health/medical/pharma, delivery services, and food production and retail. Unfortunately, this is not the case for most industries. It is estimated that COVID-19 could impact 5 million companies worldwide. Even small online businesses like ours are struggling as customers change their purchasing behaviours, save their money and start getting used to new ways of living.
When it comes to small businesses, there are a number of challenges. With more people working from home and staying inside, fewer people are making trips to retail locations like shopping malls, restaurants, cafes, and brick and mortar stores. This results in less traffic to these small businesses, producing less revenue. As well, supply chains of small businesses are interrupted when suppliers and manufacturers affected by the outbreak are unable to deliver the products and supplies needed to that business. Staffing problems is another obstacle for small businesses as less employees are able to go to work due to being sick or choosing to stay home.
However, with challenges also comes opportunity! More than half of millennials and gen-xers prefer to shop online along with over 40 per cent of baby boomers. It is clear that online shopping was already growing in interest to consumers pre-pandemic. Now, the need to shop online has grown even more; especially to vulnerable populations whose health cannot afford to leave the safety of their home.
So, how can you help your favourite small businesses?
Small acts can go a long way in terms of helping your favourite small businesses. One of the free ways you can help your favourite business is by supporting them on social media. Sharing, commenting and liking photos from your favourite small businesses is 100% free and helps to ensure that their content is seen by more potential customers. Also, if you’re financially able, try to shop “small”. Prioritize small businesses when you’re making your weekly grocery trips and if you’re able, purchase product or gift cards online. Every small bit helps!
Every country will be paying for the economic hardships of this pandemic for many years to come. Although it may seem like small businesses are up against a lot of challenges, there is new opportunity to be flexible and creative in finding ways to serve their customers! No one knows when the COVID-19 pandemic will be over, but the more we can support each other through it, the better.
Hold on, stay afloat, stay home, and stay safe.