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10+ Ways to Support Small Businesses during the Coronavirus Pandemic

Hey everyone!

This is a tragic and unprecedented time for many individuals, families, nonprofits, and small businesses alike. I could go into so many implications of school closings & remote learning, nonprofit fundraiser cancellations, etc., but today I want to focus on small businesses since many people have asked me how they can help!

10+ Ways to Support Small Businesses during the Coronavirus Pandemic

Social distancing, self-quarantining, and mandatory stay-at-home orders make it difficult for you to live your normal life and support the businesses you usually frequent. Small businesses simply cannot survive without the cash flow we need to pay expenses we have even when there’s no business (employees, rent/mortgage, insurance, web hosting, client relationship management software, personal/family expenses…). The government has stepped up to make some resources available, but the impact those have vary for each business & their specific situation.

Here are some ways you can help:

  1. Many restaurants are now offering takeout, curbside pickup, and delivery options, even if they didn’t before! Take a break from cooking, order some delicious food, and leave a tip as you typically would when dining at the restaurant.

    • There are also various organizations popping up where you can make a donation that goes directly toward helping restaurant workers currently out of work. Check out the NC Restaurant Workers Relief Fund or do an online search to find one for your area.

  2. Shop online at your favorite local retailers – skip the big box stores to look instead at small businesses’ offerings. Similar to restaurants, many brick & mortar stores have begun listing their products online and/or are accepting online orders as usual. Some have shipping delays, so if you’re shopping for a birthday or other special occasion coming up, order early!

    • If you usually enjoy browsing craft markets in your area, search to see if they’ve compiled something online like the NC Virtual Artisan Market, where you can still get some locally-made goods directly from the makers.

  3. Take care of your body while supporting local fitness studios. Search for a fitness studio in your area that is offering online classes that you can do from the comfort and judgement-free-zone of your living room, while still supporting a local business. (There are also lots of free fitness classes popping up!)

  4. Pay your people. If your income hasn’t been affected by COVID-19 and you typically pay people who are affected, consider paying them as usual even if they aren’t currently doing the service for you. Your nanny, housekeeper, landscaper, or other personal service provider would greatly benefit from your generosity, and an extra tip if possible could help them on their next grocery run.

  5. Invest in your coronavirus-free future by buying gift certificates! Gift cards and gift certificates help small businesses tremendously right now by providing cash flow they need to keep things running, and you’ll get to enjoy their goods and services later when things settle down. How many of you already know you’ll need a haircut by the end of your quarantine?! Buy a gift certificate from your salon or prepay your stylist! This is also a great option even if you can still get their goods and services now – get that takeout meal and buy a gift card for next time, as well.

  6. Plan out a vacation for the fall, winter, or next year and book your lodging and other activities you can plan in advance. This is especially helpful if you’re paying a deposit to an individual/family through something like Airbnb. Maybe add on trip insurance to ensure a refund juuust in case.

  7. Please do what you can to reschedule your event rather than cancelling – from your wedding to family reunions to big birthday parties. Your event vendors depend on funds from you to keep their businesses afloat, you still get to experience amazing service from vendors who care about you & who you selected in the first place, and in many cases you don’t need to pay a rescheduling fee – especially if your event will still be in 2020. If you’re not sure if you’ll need to reschedule, contact your vendors and choose a plan B date as soon as possible anyway to find a potential day that would work for as many of your original vendors as possible.

  8. There are also many amazing free resources popping up online that businesses are offering to support you & your families through this time. When you stream webinars, watch educational videos, take a free virtual fitness class, download complimentary guides, or engage with these free resources in any other way, share them with your friends directly or on social media to support the business or organization as a whole.

  9. Follow along with local email newsletters like the Raleigh Convergence and RALtoday. They are sending out free resources & lists 3-5 times per week detailing specific service offerings, how to help your community, and updates about local coronavirus news.

  10. When in doubt, ask small business owners directly how you can help! Check their websites and social media to see updated offerings, and send them a message or an email if you still have questions after that. We’re so thankful that you want to check in on us and support us through this time.

Credit: Natalie Franke & the Rising Tide Society

Credit: Natalie Franke & the Rising Tide Society

More ways to help small businesses and
how to help Light Creative directly during stay-at-home orders

I got the idea to write this blog post because several people did #10 above – y’all were checking in and asking how you can support my business during this time. You know that any support of my business directly translates to support of my family, and we are so grateful for you! This is the case for many small businesses, and the tips below to help support us for free (!) can also apply to different kinds of businesses.

If you’d like to support Light Creative for free:

  1. Follow us on social media! You can find us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. When you do, please like, comment on, and share/retweet our posts now and over time so that your friends see more of our content! The more engagement a post has (likes, comments, views), the social media powers that be (their algorithms) show our posts to more people in their feeds.

  2. Refer us to your friends if you know they would like photography services in the future – whether that’s as soon as we can leave home again, if they’d like photos & custom Christmas cards this winter, or if they’re getting married next year. Referrals are my favorite way to get new clients, because I get to meet your awesome friends!

  3. If you’re a client of mine, post photos I’ve taken of you and tag my business page in your post! Your caption could be related to my photography or not – it’s just helpful for your friends to see more of my photography and your experience with me.

  4. Write a simple review and give 5 star ratings on Google, Facebook, and Yelp! Your kind words give others confidence in your experience with me, my photography services, and the photo art that you get to treasure for years to come.

If you’d like to support Light Creative financially in a direct way:

  1. Purchase a gift certificate for yourself or a friend! These are now available online, so you can fill out your info & pay for it all without leaving this site. While so much has been cancelled or rescheduled with the stay-at-home orders, give yourself something to look forward to once things start returning to normalcy! I’d love to help you capture fun moments and be able to relive them for years to come. Purchase a gift certificate here.

  2. Schedule your photo session or wedding photography! I’m currently booking for summer & fall sessions, as well as weddings this fall/winter & in 2021. See my pay-what-you-can session information, or see basic information about wedding collections, then contact me to get any questions answered and to put it on the calendar to capture your memories. If you have a current booking with me that may be impacted by stay-at-home orders, let’s reschedule rather than cancel (check your inbox if you haven’t seen my email, because I’ve reached out to you about this already!).

  3. Did you know that I have an Etsy shop? I recently added mandalas and coronavirus-related (yet encouraging) coloring pages to my shop, which primarily has hand-lettered printables. If you need a few moments to relax, order the coloring pages and get your mind off the rest of the world for a while. See my Etsy shop here.

  4. If you’re a client of mine and you’d like to see more photos from your session or wedding around your home (or give them as gifts!), order prints from your online gallery, share the link with family & friends so they can order for themselves, or contact me to order other photo art. I’ve put together a new photo art page that can remind you of everything available, even if I can’t show you in person right now. Contact me for a special offer if you’re interested in ordering!

Courtesy of NextHome - www.nexthome.comCourtesy of NextHome –

Do you have more ideas for how to help small businesses during this COVID-19 outbreak? Would you like to include information about what your small business is offering to people right now? We’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment on this post to share!

Thank you so much for caring about your local small businesses enough to read this post and make moves to support us! You’re the reason we do what we do, and we appreciate you so much!

in light & love,