Just when it seems like you’re completely helpless during the coronavirus shutdowns, here’s a way to feel like you can do something really positive. Nothing feels better during a trying time like this than being able to help your community. I know it seems like businesses are completely shut down, but the fact is, many businesses are trying their hardest to figure out ways to keep the money coming in.

To help avoid a financial crisis in your community, you have to be creative. There are ways to help local businesses that are suffering right now! Are a lot of businesses are going to have problems for the foreseeable future? Probably. But here are some ways you can be part of the solution.

Gift cards

Instead of going out for dinner or shopping, how about buying a gift card towards a future purchase? If you’re going to patronize the establishment anyway, buy it now so that the business can add to their cash flow during this difficult time

Take out

You still gotta eat, right? Patronize your local eateries (especially the ones who’ve been relegated to take-out only status) and order from them! Many of them are offering curbside service through the crisis so you won’t even have to get out of your car.

Deliveries

This sounds so obvious but some people forget that almost anything and everything can be delivered right to your door. I don’t have even have my Instacart grocery order brought into my home anymore. I just ask them to leave it at my door for me.

Tip a lot!

Understand what delivery people are going through, too. They’re working hard and risking just as much as you are when you go out. Plus, business is probably slow down for them too so make sure to be generous—give more than you usually do if possible.

Throw ‘em a plug

If you’re an “influencer,” now’s your time to use your influence for a good cause. Whether you have 30 followers on social media or 30,000 you can really help your fellow business person. If you hear of a business that’s offering a special online deal, delivering for the first time, or trying to get the word out about any changes due to the Covid-19 shut-downs, throw ‘em a free plug on a post. Every little bit can help.

Shop online

You still need stuff, right? Try to patronize shuttered retail businesses by buying what we you’d buy online when possible.

Special Arrangements

Not every business (especially small ones) are set up to have a thriving e-commerce business. In certain cases you can call them and ask for special orders or to have things shipped.

For instance, my son buys a lot of merchandise at a local independent video game retailer. They left a sign on the door with a phone number to call if there’s anything in particular their customers need. Call and ask about special orders to be shipped to you. Businesses that are closed can still figure out a way to work with you.

Give a little, take a little

If you are in a business that is thriving despite all of the shut downs (and yes, there are some) try to offer discounts and specials to businesses that are not. For instance, my brother owns a copy business and is busy now because faxing and copying is important when people can’t attend meetings. He’s giving discounts to businesses affected by the closures, hoping that they’ll give him their business when they’re up and running again.

Share the above advice with friends and family, the same way a virus spreads throughout a community, good deeds can, too.

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