By Rod Davis, CEO, BBB Serving Southeast Florida and the Caribbean
Small businesses are the heart of every community. Imagine your town or city without your favorite restuarant, gift shop, bar, spa, nursery, dentist, landscaper, etc. It would not be the same place.
According to research from Funding Circle, 52% of small businesses contribute to charity and 90% of those dollars go to support local charities. These same businesses also sponsor local events, sports teams, and other community gatherings. A study by Civic Economics found that for every $100 you spend with a local business, $68 are spent in our communities. Only $43 stays in the local market when spending $100 with a national brand.
Every day we see the negative impact on employment due to COVID-19. According to the Small Business Administration, small businesses employ over 60 million people and half of the non governmental workforce. These business owners employ people in our communities, live in our communities, and support our communities. It is time for us to support them for all they have done and continue to do for us.
Ways to Support Small Businesses
Shop Now: If you are able to make a purchase now, contact your local business favorites and find out what options are available. Most businesses are finding ways to continue to operate within the new social distancing and safety precaution guidelines. Technology permits businesses to engage with customers, collaborate and share pictures and information whether using SKYPE®, Zoom®, or other tools. Is it time to give your landscape a refresh, repaint your home’s exterior, or power wash your roof? Talk to your favorite contractor, or request bids at: www.SEFlorida.App.BBB.org/Connect.
Maybe you have been putting off a purchase or know what you want to buy for a birthday or holiday present. Local businesses can use the revenue now and you will avoid last minute buying down the road. Many restaurants and stores are also making gift certificates available. Two national websites have been set up to help small businesses promote their services: www.Kabbage.com/HelpSmallBusiness and www.SupportLocal.USAToday.com. If your favorite business is not currently on the site, you may want to reach out and encourage them to consider it as another way to feature their great products, food, or services.
Restaurants and bars/breweries have adapted to provide food and growlers for pick up and/or delivery. Many restaurants offer delivery directly or through apps like GrubHub®, Delivery Dudes®, or UberEats®. If you want to continue to enjoy dinner out at your favorite restaurant after COVID-19 is no longer a health threat, then we need to continue to support our local hospitality sector by picking it up, having food delivered, or buying a gift certificate for future use.
Creative Ways to Support Business: Under our current Emergency Orders, some businesses are unable to provide service to the public, but many are still hard at work for us. Letting other family and friends know how a business is continuing to operate in these trying times might be a lifeline to keep them afloat. A short plug on your social media pages with a recommendation might generate some much needed customers for the business.
We all have a few extra minutes on our hands since most of us are not commuting to and from work these days. Why not take a few minutes to share a positive review about a favorite contractor, spa, dentist, or other local business you have visited this year that did a great job for you? You can leave a review at www.BBB.org/Leave-A-Review.
Support Local Employees: The local unemployment rate has increased dramatically over the last few weeks. While all industries have been hit hard, the hospitality sector, according to CNBC, has by far the largest number and percentage of workers now unemployed. Local groups are creating funding campaigns to help. Miami-Dade and Broward Counties have GoFundMe® campaigns set up for workers in the hospitality sectors: www.GoFundMe.com/F/MiamiRestaurantEmployeeReliefFund and www.GoFundMe.com/F/Hands-For-HospitalityFTL.
There are many other campaigns set up and operating throughout our area for people and groups negatively affected by COVID-19. Always review any giving options to make sure they are established for worthy causes and going to those designated in the giving request before you share your hard earned money.
Supporting Our Front Line Heroes: Nurses, doctors, firemen, police officers, people working in our essential businesses, and those supporting their work behind the scenes are putting their lives on the line to keep our country and communities operating. Remember to share your gratitude with them every day and in meaningful ways. Contact government officials to ensure they have needed supplies and equipment, contribute to the charities supporting our local heroes, and send a thank you note or gift basket. A gift will show our appreciation and also help another local business!