This is not the article I hoped to write this week. It comes with a heavy heart that it’s even a topic of discussion; nevertheless, we need to talk about how to support makers, small businesses, and local shops during this time of social distancing.
Right now is not exactly a fun time to be a small business owner. I’m speaking from my own experience and from chatting with entrepreneur friends. Hard decisions are being made and uncertainty is heightened. You have probably seen many owners quickly pivoting their business to offer delivery and pick-up options. Gift shops and makers are focusing on their online sales. We all have the same goal: weather this storm.
Maybe this seems biased coming from me, but in the six years of running a (very small) business, I have met the most amazing people doing the same. I have learned 99% of these business owners are not exactly in it for the money. They started a business because they love the people in their community. They love their craft, the process of making, and the ability to serve others with their creative gifts. Money is simply a tool that allows them to keep serving.
I have also learned that small business owners are resilient, savvy, and adaptive. They certainly do not back down from a challenge. When given the opportunity, they rally together to support each other and pour into the community together. I’m genuinely excited to see the creative ideas that come out of all this.
And YOU can play a part in that story! Here are five practical ways you can help keep your favorite makers in business:
Buy a gift card. Buy now, use later. Planning to make a purchase sometime this year? Consider making that purchase now to help businesses with cash flow. Two hundred dollars could be the difference between making or breaking.
Shop online. Digital products (sewing patterns!), online courses, handmade accessories, food and beverage items, etc. Many entrepreneurs and makers work from home anyway, so they can continue working as long as orders come in. This is an awesome way to stimulate the economy.
Choose pick-up or delivery. If you haven’t connected with local farmers and makers in your community yet, now is a good time to start. Contact your favorite local restaurant, clothing shop, craft store, etc. and ask how you can continue to support them. Many businesses are offering pick-up and free delivery services.
Share with friends. Post a good review on Google. Share their business on your Facebook and Instagram. Sign up for their email list and forward to a couple friends who you think would love their product. This is so easy and helps more than you realize.
Send some love. Regardless of your health or wealth, we can all participate in this one. Reach out and thank your local makers for showing up and serving your community through art, food, design, and creativity. Simply put: tell your people you love them. Here’s to the makers, the shakers, the dreamers, and the doers; to the people I know who work every dang Saturday to keep serving and inspiring others to do the same. I’m with you, I love you, and I appreciate you.
If you have any other ideas about how we can support our favorite makers, I would love to hear them in the comment section. Let’s be positive. We’re all in this together.
Sending love to you and your families during this weird time.