By Stephanie Heinatz, Consociate Media Partner
At this point, I can’t recall who shared it, where I found it, or how I navigated to it, but it was the headline that grabbed me.
I’d lost count of how many calls our team had fielded from small businesses already feeling the effects of the preventative measures being put in place to help slow the spread of novel coronavirus COVID-19.
I don’t even know off-hand how many statements we drafted about it.
What I do know, though, is that every single person and client we talked to were looking for ways to help.
Help people stay safe and healthy by implementing even more robust sanitation measures.
Help those in their communities and their customers avoid contracting the virus.
Help their employees have enough work through this uncertain time.
They were all looking to make this our finest hour as people. As friends. As neighbors. They were looking to unite us in creative and innovative ways.
At the end of the day, virus or no virus, bills have to get paid. Kids have to eat. Lights have to stay on.
When we talk about protecting the most vulnerable in our communities, it stems from both keeping older adults and those with chronic illnesses from getting sick (as someone with lupus, I understand this very much), and it also includes our employees in industries of all kinds who are working hour by hour for the paychecks they need to support their families.
Please know that our team at Consociate Media is doing its part to help slow the spread of COVID-19. I’m typing this from my dining room table. Most of our team, with a couple exceptions, are working from home, too.
But over the course of the last two days, we all realized there are other things we can do…especially to help the small businesses we call friends and clients and the small businesses that power the communities we love.
Here are a few ideas.
Full disclosure, we saw this idea posted by another business, and loved it so much we had to share. Restaurants and hospitality locations are among some of the hardest hit small businesses from the series of cancellations and recommendations to stay at home. But you know what you can do? Buy a gift certificate from one of them. Maybe you don’t use it now. Maybe you don’t even use it next month. But once we slow the spread of this illness and we’re all back to business as usual, pull out that gift certificate and treat yourself to dinner out. Have a little weekend getaway. What you do in the process is provide a small business some cash flow they may need at this time.
DELIVERY AND CURBSIDE TAKE-OUT
Check with your local restaurants. Some are doing dinner delivery to homes, and some are offering curbside take-out pick-up. Our friends at Waypoint Seafood & Grill are doing just that. Chances are others are doing the same. You can still limit your exposure to people while also supporting a local establishment this way. Please note that when you continue to find ways to support a local restaurant, that benefit rolls downhill. It means the farmers who supply them still have orders coming in. Servers have jobs to come in to. Chefs have a kitchen to cook in.
In this digital age, many companies, even with their brick and mortar locations, also have online stores. Look for your favorites and consider ordering from them online. The Williamsburg Winery, for example, is operating business as usual, but if you are concerned about going out, you can still have your wine and drink it, too – by ordering online.
ENGAGE ON SOCIAL MEDIA
It costs nothing to give a double tap to your favorite local business on Instagram, share a post on Facebook or invite friends to like those very pages. If you’re staying home, and not staying off social media, take a few minutes to show some of your favorite small businesses some love on social media. It will help their accounts grow. It will expose them to more followers. And when all the social isolation recommendations subside, they might just end up with more folks spending money with them.
JOIN A CLUB
Wine clubs. Mead clubs. Farmers’ community supported agriculture programs. Many of these can be found online and many are signing up members each and every day. Think about joining one of these clubs now. Help bring some added money to them in these times, while also helping them plan on future revenue (and keeping your wine racks and pantries full).
Photo of the George P. Coleman Bridge that leads to the Consociate Media offices shared as a reminder to remain CONNECTED in some way throughout this all.