SOS (Support Our Small Businesses!)

1001 ways in which you can support small businesses during the coronavirus outbreak.

Small businesses will struggle if we all put everything on hold. Here are a wide range of ways of how you can continue to support our economy by supporting our small businesses under difficult circumstances.

Jump to the list. Suggest a way.

An open letter…

As the world braces for the immediate impact of COVID-19 and many offices send their people to work from home - there’s no shortage of businesses who simply can’t embrace ‘remote’, and the long-term economic impact of the virus is yet to be understood. Whilst stock markets crash, and large businesses worry about their operations stalling, we are looking at the impact on smaller businesses and the self-employed.

Over 5 million of the UK workforce are self-employed. 99% of businesses in the UK are SME (under 250 employees), 95% of those are micro-businesses (1-10 employees). That’s a lot of small businesses who will struggle to continue to operate if people are staying at home. Cafes, local shops, tradespeople, the list goes on.

Even those who can work from home are being impacted, projects are being cancelled, work is being put on hold, events are being postponed, and generally attention is being focused on contingency plans over business as usual.

For the entire small business and self-employed community - cashflow is absolutely essential, and sudden changes in trade, footfall, cancellations, or confidence can be the difference between paying the bills this month or not. For many small business owners, even if the work doesn’t go away, being prevented from working is a concern - if schools close, many working parents will not be able to adequately balance work and caring; and if the worst happens, and you’re not able work because you fall ill, you might fall short on your obligations to others.

As a community - we’re committed to supporting the mental health of individuals, and in times of such significant change, we all need to work together to support each other, emotionally and financially - and the most significant way we can do this is by continuing to support small independent businesses and workers. Whether you’re an independent worker, own a small business, or just a regular employee - we wanted to list a number of tangible and practical ways you can help small businesses continue to operate during coronavirus.

We’ve partnered with a number of organisations and communities who want to support small businesses, to gather a list of ways you can help - not everything will be right for you, not everything is suitable for every type of business, but hopefully there will be something useful for everyone.

This list will grow with your help. We’ve started with a small number of suggestions, please leave your own ideas in the comments section, so we can add and develop this resource over time.

Regardless of coronavirus, small businesses are always the most challenged section of our workforce, so finding ways to invest in to the backbone of our economy is essential. Please support the future of businesses by sharing this list, and taking a small action to support our small businesses..

Signed and supported by...

Frankie Tortora - DIFTK
Dave Smyth - Worknotes
Matthew Knight - Leapers
(add your name...)

Ways to help…

1/ Ask.

Email or call the local businesses you already support - and ask what is best for them in terms of support. All businesses will appreciate being asked how they can be best supported in challenging times.

2/ Pay early.

Small businesses need paying on time - if you have an outstanding invoice for a small supplier, pay it now.

3/ Don’t cancel, redesign.

Many projects have been cancelled outright, rather than considering how they could be redesigned to still work. Rather than putting the brakes on, engage with your team and ask “how could we do this differently?”.

4/ Boost their social proof

Follow them on social media and share a positive post about a recent purchase/experience – include a picture if you can. Engage with their social posts by liking, commenting and resharing. If the business has a Google My Business page, leave a review: it all helps their SEO and trust.

5/ Pre-order.

Crowdfunder has made its crowdsourcing platform 100% free for small businesses who want to open up pre-ordering and crowdfunding. Invest in the future of businesses by supporting a project which hasn't started yet, and enable them do work through your backing.

6/ Pay into the Indie Kitty

Wriggle have setup an easy way for independent restaurants, cafes and bars to create voucher schemes, and people to buy ahead of time.

7/ Gift some emotional support.

The impact of coronavirus on our emotional health cannot be understated - so one way of supporting a small business is by enabling them to access professional emotional support in the form of therapy. Online therapy platform The Circle Line have made it possible to "Gift a talk session".

8/ Support social causes.

Not only will small businesses be affected, but so will social and community interest companies. Read this brilliant thread from the National Lottery on how to support small causes and initiatives too.

9/ Buy food small.

Switch your shopping habits from large stores to small businesses. The greengrocer, the butcher, the baker, [the candlestickmaker?]. If you can’t leave home and online ordering is your only option, there are platforms like: bigbarn and farmdrop which connect together local food producers for instance - but give your local grocer a call to see what’s possible, many have local delivery options.

10/ Help with a Facebook Small Business Grant

Facebook is offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in over 30 countries where they operate. We expect this to mostly be Facebook Ad spend. If you're a digital specialist - see if you can help a local business promote themselves online or apply for a grant

11/ Sign a petition to get cafes closed

Many bars, restaurants and cafes are currently in limbo due to advice to "avoid" socialising, rather than the government saying they must close - meaning insurance cannot be paid out. Raise awareness of this issue by signing this petition.

12/ Drop your digital business fees.

Whilst many small businesses rapidly reassess how they get their products to people, many may also be moving online for the first time, and be worried about the cost of hosting, transaction fees, ecommerce pricing. If you run a hosting business - help ease the transition and welcome new customers.

13/ Buy dinner, and don’t eat it (yet)

We might no longer be going out for dinner, but small food establishments will suffer if traffic halts. Call up and see if they’d accept an advance booking for later in the year and buy a gift voucher for the meal, so you’ve both got a little something to look forward to.

14/ Drop your delivery service fees.

Many of us may move towards using delivery services such as Amazon Prime and Deliveroo, and many small businesses may find this is the only way they can continue to service their customers. Delivery services could look towards dropping their charges and fees to small businesses, to make delivery more accessible.


Suggest another way to support small businesses

Either tell us what would help you as a small business or tell us how you can help a small businesses in a tangible way.


Co-sign our open letter.

If you're an organisation who can offer a tangible way you're supporting small businesses or can help us push this message further - get in touch.

Email us.
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