With the UK coronavirus lockdown in its fifth week and no real end in sight, we are all experiencing huge levels of uncertainty when it comes to our normal daily lives.
And while lockdown is vital to limit the spread of COVID-19, thoughts are beginning to turn to the impact this is having on small businesses across the country.
As a British-made clothing brand, we know the importance of supporting other small businesses and doing our bit to boost the local economy. We already work with a variety of small-scale suppliers and skilled artisans to make our luxury British clothing and are always looking for the next local business to champion.
So, this got us thinking. What more can we all do to help the businesses who really need us during the coronavirus outbreak?
Without further ado, we give you nine ways you can support small and local businesses as we continue in lockdown.
Non-essential shops might be closed at the moment, but the majority of retailers are still providing an online service - albeit perhaps a scaled back version.
So, don’t fret if you can’t get to the shops for your usual dose of retail therapy. You can still support small businesses who are closed down in the real world by shopping with them online.
Some businesses that don’t typically let you place orders online have also been trying out this option to help boost sales in the current climate. It’s definitely worth checking if the shops across town you frequently buy from are doing this.
Here at Teddy Edward we have always been an online-only brand, so we are still processing your orders as normal whilst taking all the necessary safety precautions.
Buy a gift voucher
If you can’t shop with or buy a service from your favourite small business at the moment because they are closed, why not treat yourself or a loved one to a gift voucher?
Ok, so you won’t be able to redeem the voucher in exchange for anything until after lockdown ends. But this way, you are giving that small business a source of cashflow to help tide them over during this crisis.
Most importantly of all, your loyalty means you are helping to ensure that businesses can get up and running again quickly post-corona.
As well as that, it gives you something to look forward to when we are set free – what’s not to love!
Support new initiatives
With many shops, restaurants, cafes, and other small businesses having to shut up shop and halt their usual offerings, many are turning their efforts to providing customers with alternative services.
From cafes who are delivering essentials boxes, pubs who are providing home delivered afternoon teas and caterers who can get their hands-on cleaning products for you, it’s clear that businesses have had to get creative.
By supporting the new initiatives that businesses are coming up with, no matter how far removed from their usual offering it is, you are helping them to stay afloat.
Order a takeaway
We all went in to a downwards spiral when McDonalds completely closed down (sob!) but luckily enough for the terrible cooks amongst us, most takeaways are still delivering.
Some restaurants, pubs and cafes who don’t normally offer a takeaway service are also getting in on the act. At the click of a button, you could be tucking in to some of your favourite food from their menu without so much as having to lift a finger. Tidy!
These businesses have had their operations scaled back tenfold, but if you order a takeaway, you are contributing towards getting them back on their feet when they can reopen.
Rearrange, don’t cancel
If you have a booking for a trip or day out that you have pre-paid for, instead of cancelling and getting a refund, why not consider re-arranging?
If you aren’t sure what date in the future you can do, speak directly to the business owner. They might be able to give you a gift voucher so you can rebook when it’s convenient.
This way, the business gets to keep your money and you have something fun to look forward to when this is all over. Let’s face it, you’re going to need it!
Shop small, shop local
We’ve all seen the panic buying. A couple of weeks ago toilet roll practically became a new currency. And as for pasta, well the likelihood of winning the lottery was probably higher than the chances of getting your hands on a packet of penne.
But while most of the panic buying seemed to happen in the larger supermarkets, the smaller, local shops were less affected by the madness.
If we consider taking our custom to corner stores, newsagents, farm shops, independent butchers/bakers/candlestick makers, we are not only supporting someone’s business but mitigating from the problem of panic buying.
Plus, the smaller shops will be quieter, and you won’t have to queue outside with 100 other people so it’s win win!
Review your favourite business
If you can’t spend money with your favourite small business at the moment, why not support them in another way?
You could leave them a review or some words of encouragement on social media, a reviews website or directly via email. This is likely to give the business owner a little boost to keep going through this tough time.
After all, the more positive reviews a business has, the more people that will consider buying from them once lockdown is over!
Tip, tip and tip some more
Unlike our pals across the pond, we don’t have as much of a tipping culture here like they do in the USA. But with smaller businesses struggling for cash flow and trying to do all they can to keep afloat, why not think about tipping?
If you do order something online, indulge in a takeaway or get an online shopping slot, you could show your appreciation to both the business and hard-working delivery drivers with a tip.
The extra money will not only make the business or employee feel valued but may actually contribute towards an element of financial stability during this unpredictable crisis.
Join online classes
We have to face facts - lockdown is dull! But don’t despair, because you can still join some of your favourite classes while you are stuck at home.
From fitness classes and yoga sessions to mother and baby groups and music lessons, more and more small businesses have shifted their efforts online. If a local business starts offering this option, why not give it a go?
By continuing your hobby online or joining a brand-new class, the business gets more out of you than just income. They are getting your support, loyalty, and potential future custom.
Has our list given you some ideas of how you can support small businesses during the coronavirus lockdown? Let us know how you are doing your bit to help your local economy in the comments!
Stay home, protect the NHS, save lives.