5 ways to support small businesses during the festive season

We all know that local businesses are the backbone of our country. These organisations run out of homes and small offices not just create employment opportunities for locals, but give back many-times fold to the regions they belong to. With the festive season around the corner, it's time to support small business persons to regain their footing and thus, indirectly help in boosting the local economy.

While different initiatives by the government have been planned and implemented to provide an impetus to businesses, the success of these measures largely depends on the willingness of the customers to support these initiatives.

It is also time to remember that COVID-19 has hit the bottom line hard for businesses and consumers alike. Businesses of all sizes were overwhelmed by the increased consumer demands for shipping, delivery, and curbside service, and many were forced to close for weeks or even months in 2020. Many are looking to the holidays to make up for lost revenue earlier in the year.

So, here is how you can support your local small businesses:

1. Spend some time researching

When you are busy selecting and buying gifts and clothes for Diwali, Christmas or even New Year, invest time in researching the origin of products. Try choosing those that have been handmade or designed by someone in your own city. In addition to boosting the local economy, this will help in ensuring that small scale craftsmen and businesses do not lose out due to price wars by global marketing giants.

2. Support neighbourhood businesses 

A great way to start is by buying a gift card from a local brandstore and giving it to your loved ones. Be it a gift card for a clothing store, or an online ticket for a nearby salon or dance studio, you can choose any of the options. By doing this, you can show your patronage to these local brands even if you don’t want to buy something immediately. This thoughtful idea of yours will benefit the local businesses and motivate the receiver to purchase from that brandstore boosting their sales.

3. Promote their services on social media

If you like something you buy, take the effort to post a picture and write about your experience online. It may seem insignificant to you, but such reviews go a long way in building a strong customer base for small businesses. Also, if you are a small business owner or know someone who is, suggest entering into collaboration deals that will enable all the parties involved to promote their goods and services. If you are a marketing professional, offer your assistance to a business to help them design a website/page to help them sell or market their services online. Engage with local businesses and keep a track of attractive deals and offers that can help you obtain products at value for money prices.

4. Visit their outlet if you can

Yes, there are always times when you need home delivery. But on other days, think twice about how you order takeout or perhaps order your weekly grocery. Rather than using a delivery app, try visiting the organic market or restaurant and request for a pick-up. Online aggregators charge restaurants fees that can reduce already thin margins, so by doing this you can help them save on those costs. Also, while it is easy to purchase through a so-called digital shop on sites like Facebook and Instagram, shopping through third-party apps typically reduces the net profit for the merchant.

5. Pay now, use later

Be it your gym, beauty parlour or library, if possible, don’t cancel your current memberships due to the pandemic. What you can do instead is buy gift cards from them to use later when business in your area is more stable. Recommend others around you as well to purchase some of their products in bulk now to use over time to give the business revenue now when things are tough.

You may try these steps and spread some joy among your local businesses this festive season.

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