At present, the world is shrouded in a nervous and uncertain atmosphere due to the increasing threat of the coronavirus pandemic. The COVID-19 strain is a huge concern for our health, but also for the economy and our local, national and global community. While the government are putting in measures to support statutory sickness payments for many workers across the UK, those who are self-employed are increasingly worried about how to prepare for the economic hit to their business, their staff and their income. Here are a few tips to help minimize the impact on your local brands, shops, restaurants and cafes:
1. Prioritise Local Businesses
As less and less people are choosing to eat out, and more and more people are told to work from home, it is essential to prioritise local businesses who are going to be hit the hardest. Multi-national companies have far greater resources to survive an economic crisis of this magnitude, rather than an independent café or food shop that relies heavily on local foot traffic. Not to mention a lack of staff due to self-isolation and illness, which may disrupt opening times. With the added strain of less tourism due to travel bans, it is vital that those in the resident community choose to grab a coffee at a small café, rather than heading to a global organisation for their caffeine hit. Who knows, you might even discover a new favourite spot, or develop a new craving for a local sweet treat! Another great option to support your local businesses is to purchase a gift voucher right now for a future visit – this will help them maintain their cashflow even if you can’t visit in person right now.
2. Interact through Social Media
Social media is essential for business visibility, especially for small brands and cafes who don’t have a dedicated marketing team to call upon in this turbulent economic climate. Self-isolating at home? Why not like a few posts on your local café’s Instagram account? Or maybe tweet about an amazing local product that you love? Getting online and interacting with a small-town brewery or a zero-waste shop at the end of the street will have a massive impact on their ability to reach new customers. Long-term, your social media engagement is likely to encourage trade in the COVID-19 aftermath, and help local business owners to recover from the losses sustained during this period.
3. Write a Review
Another way you can support smaller businesses from the comfort of your own living room is by writing a review on their Facebook page, Google or TripAdvisor. Positive comments from customers online produce an average 18% increase in sales according to WebsiteBuilder.org, and a larger amount of reviews push businesses up online search results lists. Now more than ever, where consumers are limiting their time in public spaces and carefully selecting where to spend that time, it is important that our local businesses are being seen, considered and chosen as destinations. Do you know an independent café that always delivers on flavour, or maybe a small shop with incredible customer service? Now is the time to write a short review and show them some love!
4. Get Involved with Community Events
Local businesses are excellent for setting up community events and fundraising as a way of giving back to those around them, and that has been no different since the COVID-19 outbreak. For example, Roots Edinburgh have been collecting soap and clean towels for the homeless, who are especially vulnerable to infection, and Little Green Newcastle are setting up free phone consultations about ways to improve your immune system. Why not get involved and keep an eye out for events on social media, to help those around us who are less fortunate?
5. Let Greencity Help
As a workers cooperative, it is our duty as a company to provide advice for those that need it, and never has it been more important within our community to offer up our services. In fact, the last of the global ‘7 Cooperative Principles’ is Concern for Community, which states ‘Cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies supported by the membership’, which hangs alongside the other six Principles in the GC HQ main hallway. That’s why we encourage any small business that is in need to contact us on any of our social media channels or our website. Without our amazing suppliers and customers, Greencity would not exist, and we are determined to tackle this present economic threat together.
The future is uncertain, and currently we are all taking each day as it comes. Please make sure to look after your health, and look after those around you. Any local purchase, no matter how small, will be greatly appreciated by the incredibly dedicated business owners bravely facing this crisis head on. You have the power to make a difference.