How to help a small business survive Covid-19

Here’s a great article I read on NBC News website.

By: Nicole Spector

With no precise ETA on when doors can reopen, businesses like Beider’s are in danger of closing forever — a loss not only for workers and their communities, but also for the American job market at large. According to the Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses account for 44 percent of economic activity.

In addition to state and federal aid, small businesses need our support right now. Here are 11 ways consumers can help.

1. Buy a $10 gift card for a friend — and encourage them to buy for someone else

“Purchasing gift cards is a great idea for businesses that you are going to use anyway,” says Dennis Shirshikov, an economic analyst at Fit Small Business. “It gives [businesses] like salons and yoga studios some cash to support employees and reassures them that they will still have customers.”

If you have the means, think of approaching gift cards like you would a chain letter. Send a $5 or $10 gift card to your favorite business to a local friend, and then ask them to do the same for another business.

“If every customer purchased a $10 gift card to give to a friend that didn’t have any prior awareness of the business before, that person who received the gift card is more likely to purchase at least one time, then depending on their experience and satisfaction, become a repeat customer over time,” says Latrice Love, founder of the vegan beauty brand Liplove, who normally relies on pop-ups and other now-canceled events to sell products and gain brand recognition. “This can create a ripple effect on customer acquisition and retention over time.”

2. Order Takeout — it’s deemed safe by experts

Ordering takeout is one of the best ways to support restaurants right now, and provided you wash your hands thoroughly before and after eating, there is no added cause for concern over COVID-19 contamination.  James Henry Dunne, assistant professor in the department of hospitality studies at the New York Institute of Technology, notes that even restaurants that traditionally don’t offer pickup or delivery are getting in on the action. Where the law permits (or has been loosened, as in New York), many restaurants are also touting alcoholic beverages along with to-go meals, “and in some cases even selling grocery items like paper goods and cuts of beef, on an informal basis,” he says.

3. Salons are selling DIY kits, virtual consultations and ‘buying time’ promos

If you’re overdue for a hair treatment but the salon is closed, check to see if they are providing virtual consultations and/or custom color kits.

“The salon I go to just announced it would create custom color kits for clients, providing everything they need to touch up, plus FaceTime support,” says Kristen Elworthy, founder of Seven Hills Communications, a marketing firm that works with small businesses. “All these things can be picked up or dropped off curbside.”

Danielle Cohen-Shohet, CEO of GlossGenius, a company specializing in software solutions for small businesses, sees salons getting creative with promotions, including offering customers the option of “buying time”, meaning “a gift card will increase in value every month from April to July.” Salons are also offering virtual web consultations and whatever else might help keep that vital connection with their clientele alive. Reach out to your stylist directly or tap into “local social media to learn about promotions that salons are doing,” she says.

4. Social media shoutouts are free. Give them generously.

“With more businesses going digital and needing to build traction, ‘liking’, commenting, reposting, tagging us in your purchases and unboxing videos [on social media] really helps with engagement, which, in turn, leads to more visibility and sales,” Love says. Social media plugs are a free way to show your support and the payoff is almost instantaneous. “[Liplove] has seen a significant increase in engagement and shares as our customers began to promote our messages of love and empowerment to their networks during this season. This has caused a boost in not only traffic to our website that originated from social media, but also from organic search.”

Read the the remaining 7 here: