The best things you can do for local businesses in light of the coronavirus

Social distancing sign for buyers in a store

Social distancing makes shopping difficult, where shopping in person is still allowed. Photo (CC) by Guido van Nispen

Monica Bailey of Rock Port, Missouri, sent this question to which I think you can refer:

Thank you ladies, as always, for your support to small towns! My question is super generic but it gives me sleepless nights. I am the director of economic / community development in our counties and I scramble to support our small businesses during this crisis. What is the most useful thing I can do for them right now ??

Take care of yourself!

this is a great question. Although there is no right answer, we hear a lot of suggestions. And we invent some of them. I will have a more complete answer to this later, but here are my thoughts now, in order of importance according to my estimates:

1. Get in touch with each company.

  • How are they?
  • What have they changed?
  • Where do they know they need help right now?
  • Who is hiring?

2. Spread the word.

  • Share what companies and services are available now, what is different, what is always the same, what jobs are open.
  • Use all the channels available to you.
  • Ask others to spread the word.

3. Listen to community projects and activities that you can scale up.

  • Share stories of anyone who does something positive, all that people can do safely.

4. Answer as many surveys and questionnaires as possible from the support program.

  • Also get more companies.
  • The longer it goes on, the more it will come out. Lots of them help determine how much money is allocated where.

5. For closed or small businesses, help them transition.

  • What's the next step for them?
  • What is the next step for the space they occupied?

6. Play a matchmaker.

  • Help downsizing companies combine to share space or share resources securely.

7. Fill in the blanks with cheerful things to watch.

  • Start filling the empty windows of your business with works of art of all kinds.

8. Start preparing for the reconstruction.

  • Look for the small spaces and shared spaces that will help tiny new startups take root.

Bonus: don't do any of this alone.

  • There is a whole community of people who want to help. Give them small but meaningful ways to participate, spread the word and encourage one another.

Monica responded by saying that she was already doing 1, 2 and 4, so I'm sure you're on the right track too.

Hit response or response in the comments.

About Becky McCray

Becky launched Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share stories and ideas about rural business and community development with other small town business people. She and her husband have a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on small business and rural topics.

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