Every company starts small. It’s in those early stages that you set the standards for later years, take risks, learn lessons, and build stability later on. And all of them add variety and innovation to their local communities.
Those small businesses are facing a huge challenge right now. So if you’ve ever wanted to make a statement about helping a local company, this is the time to do it. By making a few small changes, you can help your local business owners get through this crisis.
1. Give big projects to small businesses
A major project is the greatest gift you can give a small business owner who’s worrying about their finances. That’s true all of the time, but now more than ever. A big project that involves lots of working hours and an upfront deposit can be the difference between stability and constant worry.
Looking for someone to translate your website, come up with educational content, or redesign your office? This is the time to give that job to a small business or freelancer.
2. Ask small business to act as consultants
Your large company might have a great team. But they only ever work for you. Small businesses tend to work with lots of different clients, giving them first-hand knowledge of how different businesses do things. This varied experience means that they often develop a much broader perspective and can bring you fresh ideas you need them most.
So why not ask small business owners to do an external review of your work? Ask an independent accountant to check your books and give their recommendations, commission a local caterer to develop your new vegetarian menu, or ask a librarian for advice on how to organize your archives.
3. Leave a tip
This doesn’t just apply to restaurants and cafes. Does your local deli have a tip jar? Or is your favorite bookshop running a crowdfunding campaign? If there’s a local business you want to support, tell them! Or if you’re working with a freelancer, why not round up their fee to a nice round number? Even better, recommend them to your network.
4. Give small businesses more time to deliver
How productive are you when working from home, with bored kids demanding your attention all the time? Lots of business owners are finding it hard to be productive right now and still adapting to working remotely. Extending deadlines is a great way to help them out.
Do you really need that report by Friday? Or would next week be okay too? If a project needs less priority during the coronavirus outbreak, help out small business partners and freelancers by giving them more flexibility in their scheduling.
5. Extend payment deadlines
If you run a company, you probably have standard payment terms and scheduled payment reminders. Right now, small businesses are trying to maintain their normal costs with much less income. You can help by giving them more time to pay.
Of course, your own business needs to be paid to survive. But if you have enough of a buffer, this is the moment to show that you’re a genuine partner. So invest in your professional relationships and help another company stay afloat.
6. Demand a bit less
Nobody is saying you should suddenly accept poor craftsmanship. But is it really that bad if a freelancer spends an hour less on your report? If the document is for internal use only, could you simplify it or handle the formatting yourself?
Look into the current jobs that freelancers are doing for you and ask yourself how you can reduce their workload. Which parts of the briefing are ‘nice to have’ but not essential?
There are already funds out there specifically to help small businesses in need. With a donation, you can help the people that need it most. Your donation could be the difference between people losing their jobs and a company continuing to be a vibrant part of the global economy.
You can also support businesses indirectly, by donating to research or aid projects fighting the virus. If you don’t have the funds to donate, you can offer other in-kind supplies.
It’s not just companies that can help. There are lots of ways to support local businesses as a consumer as well.