The move to Alert Level 2 means there has been a gradual increase in economic activity and for many SMEs, this was the first time they have been able to operate since March. While we are still practicing social distancing, there’s no better time to show our support for local businesses than now.
We’ve unpacked 5 ways we can all support each other as South African business owners and customers.
Find a local supplier
While we all love the convenience of being able to shop online and secure our purchases with the click of a button, in many instances, there are local businesses that have exactly what you’re looking for. Spend a little bit of time finding a supplier or store near you that stocks what you are interested in.
Many small businesses are happy to order from a supplier (if they are out of stock) and have goods delivered to you.
Chief operations officer of Rising Tide Capital, Jay Savulich, says “The most important thing to remember if you want to help small businesses in your community is that you are an investor in these businesses. Try to be as thoughtful as possible with where you as a consumer invest your dollars.”
Reschedule, don’t cancel
If you were set to attend an event, or you’ve booked a service but something’s come up (we all know, life happens), rather ask to reschedule your appointment.
Many small businesses that host events rely on this income to stay afloat. Rather than asking for a refund, commit to attending the event when a new date has been released or you can donate the funds to the business. The same goes for services if you cannot make it, reschedule ahead of time so the business can give your time slot to another customer.
This way the business is still able to make an income and you still keep your business for a later stage.
Spread the word
Giving your favourite local business a shout out on social media can go a long way. When you are particularly happy with the service or product from a particular business, follow and mention them on social media.
If they have a review portal, give them a thorough review of your experience with them. You can also go on business review sites like HelloPeter.
When in doubt, buy a voucher
For those businesses that are not yet open, there’s always an option to purchase a voucher as a gift for yourself or a friend. While you may not be able to take advantage of a business’s services or products right now, purchasing a voucher ensures they have made a sale and will welcome your business in the future.
In many cases, when customers buy gift vouchers, this helps keep the cash flow steady and means they are able to pay wages to employees. Doing your part can definitely go a long way.
Donate or volunteer
While we know money may be tight for many during this pandemic, if your income has not been affected, it is imperative to continue your support for local businesses in any way possible. If you are able to donate funds to a local business in your community, you could be saving someone’s job and livelihood to provide for their family. If you are cash strapped, give the gift of time by volunteering to help out in the business whether it be by cleaning, packing, or even delivering their products to customers. There is always a way to help.