Many small businesses took a beating during COVID-19. At the far end of the spectrum, numerous small retail shops and restaurants closed for good and those that did survive through the pandemic suffered tremendous losses that they now need to work day and night to make up for.
And now with immense challenges in the supply chain which currently have no end in sight, small businesses are struggling once again in how they meet the demands of consumers. If you’re one of these small business owners, then we are probably not telling you anything new.
But today, we want to speak to you, the consumer.
One thing we know here is that our small business community is vibrant, resilient, and strong enough to bounce back even through the most difficult times. We’ve seen it over and over again and while a business may have closed, we see new small businesses emerging around the country.
And all of us must do our part to support this crucial backbone of the US economy. What would your downtown look like without small retail shops? How would you get home repairs without that local electrician or your trusted plumber? And how would you spruce up your yard without that local landscaping professional?
How can we help and support our small businesses?
First, be patient
Small businesses are juggling a number of challenges right now. One major issue is the labor market. And it’s hitting small businesses especially hard. Everything from your swimming pool contractor all the way down to the restaurant you like to go to. Getting help continues to be difficult for many small businesses. That means if you’re going to do business with one of them, you need to be patient and understanding.
And because there are supply chain issues which you have no doubt seen in the news, getting the product you want has become more difficult. That’s everything from toys, electronics as well as building materials. Say for example you’re conducting a home improvement project. You could be waiting months for that bathroom tile that you chose. It’s not the fault of your contractor who is a small business, it’s the supply chain and we need to be patient when these issues arise.
Pay a small business on time
The small business community has been through enough including many struggling with cash flow. As a collection agency that works with small business, we can tell you that paying on time is one of the most important things you can do when working with a small business. Even in the best of times, many small businesses struggle with a percentage of customers not meeting their financial obligations to them. If you truly want to support a small business, make sure you are paying that business on time.
If you continue to have challenges paying a small business for the services you have received, make sure you communicate that. Most small businesses have the understanding that life happens sometimes. Maybe as a consumer, you need to prioritize bills and you figure out that you don’t have the money available to pay in full. If you communicate with that small business, you can most likely work out some type of payment arrangement. Never ignore requests for payment. It not only hurts a small business, but it also damages the relationship you might have built with that business. If you’re struggling to pay that business, find a way to work it out.
Choose a small business first
One of the best ways to support small businesses is to choose them first. We understand there was a time during the pandemic when we needed to order all sorts of items through online retailers. For many, it was the only option available. But you support that small business and the local community by choosing to go into that business first for your needs. If you need tools to do work around the house and you have a choice between a national retailer and your local hardware store, it’s best to go to that local store first.
Tell others about your good experiences
It may be human nature but it seems when somebody decides to go online and post a review about a small business, it’s because of a less than favorable experience they had. We feel that not many consumers proactively post their positive experiences with a small business unless they are asked. So if you have had a great experience with a local business, take the time to tell others. You can use Google reviews, post to your local resident’s page on Facebook or other platforms such as Yelp. If you see someone asking for a recommendation online, make sure you chime in.
These types of word-of-mouth marketing help a small business immensely.
We always hear about Small Business Saturday but all of us should be supporting the small businesses within our community. Take the time today to support a small business in your area.