As mentioned in previous blog posts, finding new ways of working has become crucial for businesses to continue to thrive during these challenging times. We are all realising that technology is currently the most important element to keep a business going. Working from home is the new ‘normal’ and communicating with each other in person is currently a thing of the past. But what is the importance of supporting local SMEs and how you can help them ‘survive’ the pandemic?
To kick things off, I am going to give you an insight into how many SMEs there are in the UK compared to larger businesses…
The number of private sector businesses has risen in the UK over the last 18 years by 2.2 million. SME’s contributed 47% annual turnover to the UK economy as of 2016. However, this has now increased to £52% since then. The relative importance of small businesses is increasing, according making up 60% of total private sector jobs.
Compared to large businesses, SME’s make up 99.9% of all businesses in the UK 96% of which are micro-businesses, employing no more than 10 people, leaving just 0.1% for large businesses. From this, it is clear to see that small businesses are of significant importance for the future of the UK and its economy.
It goes without saying that larger scale companies are more likely to recover from this situation a lot faster than the small businesses in your local community. Some small businesses may never recover so what can you do to help?
Shop locally – both on and offline
Many small businesses that do not typically offer online ordering are starting to test the waters, so check to see if this is something the places you frequently shop with are doing.
The need to social distance has seen a number of retailers alter their services to fit the ‘new normal’, with many now offering contact-free delivery.
If you are not displaying any Coronavirus symptoms and it is safe for you to do so, take a walk to your local corner shop where you are more likely to pick up the things larger supermarkets are running out of while simultaneously supporting your local community. Win win! No long queues for you and a little extra support for them.
Buy gift cards
Buying a gift card from a local business and saving it to use in the future is an immediate way to put cash into your favourite salon, shop or restaurant. This is a great way to show business owners how much you appreciate their work and a gesture of customer loyalty in uncertain times.
Order takeaway food and drink
While many local restaurants have opted to close their doors completely, a number are still open for takeaway and delivery, including some that did not provide that service before the outbreak.
If you can, consider taking a night off from cooking every so often to help support local cafes, bars and restaurants through the coming months.
Craving that pizza from Dominos? Have a look online to see local pizza takeaways that may benefit more from your support. You never know it might become your new favourite!
Many locally owned food and drink businesses are now looking into delivery platforms like Uber Eats and Deliveroo, but if you cannot see your favourite listed, give them a call to see if they are delivering or offering a contact-free collection service.
Leave good reviews
If you are currently unable to support local businesses financially, there are plenty of other ways you can help such as following them on social media and leaving great reviews online.
With many businesses being forced to temporarily shut their doors, reaching out with positive words of encouragement through their social media platforms, Trip Advisor, Trustpilot or directly through e-mail, or phone call is likely to give business owners the strength to persevere.
Take part in online classes
With facilities having to temporarily close, many business owners are now streaming sessions such as fitness classes, education resources and common hobbies online so that people who are social distancing or self-isolating can join from home and show their support to the local community. You might learn something new.
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Published by – Lauren McGowan – Digital Marketing Assistant