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Sonoma Family Life Magazine

6 Things You Can Do to Support Small Businesses

By Richard Kerr

This article originally appeared on

We have a favorite restaurant that we are patrons of. Seeing the owner struggle to stay afloat has had a big impact on me. The owner had to put out calls on social media to support the business; she had to lay off staff who had been with her for years. Here’s what consumers can do to support small businesses like hers.

Buy gift cards. Buying gift cards gives a small business a cash infusion to make it through hard times. It is essentially a no-interest loan from you, which becomes even better when 40 percent (by some estimates) of people forget about the gift cards they have. (If your small business cannot offer gift cards online, go to Kabbage and sign up to sell e-gift cards for free, thanks to a new COVID-19 relief program.)

Market for the business. We each have our own in-person and virtual communities of influence, and now is the time to utilize them. My neighborhood’s Facebook page has become a beacon of support for people calling out their favorite small businesses, many of which I was unaware existed. Tell your friends, colleagues, family, and neighbors whom to support and be vocal about it.

Support #ThankYouSmallBusiness. The Points Guy (TPG) has recently partnered with Silver Lining and their incredibly impactful Thank You Small Business movement. The organization reaches thousands of small businesses monthly via newsletters, in-person Champions that rally their own community, Thank You days, and more. Silver Lining launched Buy from Small Business to offer additional ways to support small businesses, including buying merchandise and giving the profits to member businesses. The organization also has a four-part, Friday night virtual concert series where you can pay to watch world-class performers and artists live via Zoom and all proceeds go to small businesses.

Leave a positive review online. We’ve all headed to Google, Yelp, TripAdvisor, and other review services to get the lowdown on a small business. These reviews have incredibly tangible impacts on a business. Take a few minutes and leave your favorite small businesses a positive review.

Yelp. Along the lines of a positive review, Yelp announced a partnership with GoFundMe that allows you to make donations to your favorite small businesses directly on a business’s Yelp page. Tell your favorite business to sign up for this feature; Yelp and GoFundMe are matching the first $500 donated to each business.

Say thanks. Tell a small business owner thank-you. Write a card, order flowers (which helps the flower shop), or make a sizable tip to the owners and workers in your community. The stress and obligation these owners feel to provide for their employees is palpable. Simply saying thank you goes a long way to brightening someone’s day.

Bottom line
If you are in a position to support a small business, please do what you can to help these men and women who are the backbone of our economy. You can also join the TPG Small Biz Facebook group, where the conversation on the current environment continues 24/7. We wish all our small business owners and employees the best during these difficult times.

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