Now, more than ever, small businesses need OUR help and I’ve got 15 ways to support Melbourne small businesses during the COVID-19 lockdown and beyond. ❤️
Like many small business owners, I had great plans for my (digital marketing and social media management) business this year. Following on from the success of 2019, I thought this year was going to be a game-changer for me. (could. NOT. have. been. more. wrong.)
Enter COVID-19 and all my plans went out to window – along with the plans of hundreds of thousands of other small businesses owners in Melbourne.
Even in our wildest nightmares, I don’t think any of us would have envisioned, let alone prepared for what was to come.
While some businesses have been able to PIVOT!!! (Ross Geller would be so proud – ha!) and are thriving in this current situation, unfortunately, there are so many more that have closed temporarily or permanently.
Supporting small businesses does not have to be costly either, in fact, there are a few ways to show your support that won’t cost you a cent.
Here are 15 ways YOU can help local shops, restaurants, and others. If you’ve got any ways to support Melbourne small businesses, please share them in the comments below:
15 Ways to Show Your Support
1. Purchase Products Online
You can buy pretty much everything online these days – clothing, books, electronics, pet supplies, makeup, wine and more – so do a quick search for local stores online and save yourself a trip to the shops. Some small businesses are even offering FREE local delivery to those in surrounding suburbs.
2. Purchase Gift Vouchers
If you can afford to do so, purchase gift vouchers from your favorite local businesses. You’ll be supporting them financially when they need it most, and although some businesses may not be able to accept them right now, you can plan a future date night, shopping spree, lunch with friends or weekend getaway.
3. Order Takeaway or Delivery
Your favorite restaurants and cafes may have had to shut their doors, but many of them still offer takeaway or delivery. If possible, order directly from the business, so they don’t lose a large chunk of the bill to an external third party (from memory UberEats takes 30% of the total). If your favourite feed is within a 5km radius from your home, why not beat the queue and pickup.
4. Follow, Like, Comment and Share Your Favourites on Social Media
Spread the news of local businesses to all of your friends and followers. If you had a delicious dinner delivered or fantastic customer service from your local book store, give them a shoutout and let everyone know. When you interact with businesses on their social media accounts, it helps with engagement, which, in turn, leads to more visibility and sales for their business.
5. Leave Positive Reviews
Now is the perfect time to leave reviews for all the businesses you love, but have never actually gotten around to writing a review for. Not only will it help them gain some social proof but it will also help improve their online rankings.
6. Keep paying your memberships and subscriptions
Subscription or membership based businesses like gyms, zoos and museums rely on regular sources of income from members. Since many of these businesses have closed, customers most likely are asking for refunds or pausing their memberships. If your income isn’t affected by lockdown, consider keeping these memberships as-is.
7. Take Online Classes
Lots of businesses are finding ways to provide value through online classes. Even if you’ve never learnt a new skill or hobby online before, now is a great time to try something while also supporting a local business.
8. Refer People Directly
If you know someone or see someone looking for a particular product or service that one of your favourite local businesses can offer or supply, let that person know about the business and provide a link or contact details, so they can get in touch.
9. Buy Quarantine/Lockdown Gifts for Loved Ones
If someone in your life is having a hard time, why not send them a little something to let them know that you’re thinking of them. Purchase gifts from your favorite small businesses and have them posted or delivered directly to their door.
10. Stock Up on Items You’ll Need Later
If you’ve got birthdays coming up in the family or you need some new gear for Summer, why not start purchasing now. It’s always great to be organised.
11. Choose Local Stores Over Chain Stores When Possible
Many local businesses have online stores in addition to their brick and mortar locations. Whenever possible, consider giving them your business instead of large chain stores that have an Australian wide presence.
12. Start Your Christmas Shopping
Only 111 sleeps to go – yes! I did it – I said the “C” word 😳
By the time we get out of lockdown, the shops will be blasting Christmas carols and shelves will be stocked with Christmas goodies, but why not get an early start on your shopping list and grab some fabulous unique gifts and experiences from local businesses.
13. Pay in Advance
If you have money available, pay ahead for services or activities you use regularly, even if you’re not using them right now. Think cleaning services, swimming lessons or dance classes, even pet grooming and gardening.
14. Send Them A Kind Message
If you can’t purchase now, perhaps send a personalised message to a business owner to let them know that you’re thinking about them. If someone is trying to decide whether or not they close up shop forever or make another go of it, this could really make the difference.
And last but not least…..
15. Have Patience
ALL business owners are pretty stressed right now, so have patience and be supportive. Many businesses are working at a dramatically reduced capacity, so it may take them a little longer to respond to your query or concern – especially those who have children that are learning from home. Maybe they’ve just had a really shitty day/week/month and they’re not as “present” as they usually are.
Please share your favourite Melbourne business(es) in the comments below.
Take care everyone x