By Jackie Wright of Rainmaker Integrated

It’s no secret that businesses of all shapes and sizes are struggling right now. The recent pandemic has virtually put the world as we know it on hold, resulting in revenue and product losses for many business owners. However, as we all continue to ride out the COVID-19 storm, there are a number of things you can do to help support your favorite local business and keep them going strong until this pandemic ends.

1. Buy local products. The best way to keep revenue going for a small business owner is to make it a priority to buy the products and/or services that they offer. If they are not open daily, call and ask if you buy something online or for pick-up. Always look for local options, even if a national chain is more convenient.

2. Inquire about rentals. Establishments like gyms, fitness studios, outdoor suppliers, and sewing shops have a ton of equipment that is collecting dust right now. To help them drive more revenue, and meet your needs, ask if you can rent some of the tools they offer to use at home until they open again.

3. Request a DIY option. Sure, it’s great to get your hair and nails done at the salon, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Ask if you can get your beauty products to use at home and if your stylist would be willing to do a FaceTime or Zoom call to help you through the application process.

4. Gift cards. Eventually, we will get back to normal, and when that happens, it will be the perfect time to share your favorite local haunt with your friends and colleagues. Consider buying gift cards now that you can give as gifts throughout the year. This will supply the business a needed influx of cash while allowing you to get your gift giving shopping done all at one time.

5. Plan for the future. One thing Americans are really good at is throwing a party. Once these discouraging times are over, it will be the perfect opportunity to gather with everyone and celebrate—which means you’re going to need party planning supplies. Start planning now by buying what you’ll need for the ultimate post-pandemic bash. Securing catering and event space or making restaurant reservations will allow you and your favorite local business to keep sight of the light at the end of the tunnel.

6. Share the love. Generosity goes a long way in a time of need. If you go to a restaurant or bar or order delivery, consider being a little more generous with your tip. A bigger tip may not directly contribute to a restaurant’s bottom line. Still, it will help service staff and ultimately contribute to the spirit of goodwill and appreciation in the community, which can help with everyone’s mood.