Let’s face it. Businesses across the country have faced unprecedented challenges for the last several months because of the coronavirus crisis. Office life became work from home with the kids, pets and spouses. Video conferences and cell phone screens became the window to the outdoor world and the connections between employer/employee.
However, the doors have been slowly swinging back open for business. Small Business Week highlights local business owners; many of them are being hailed as heroes for surviving this unprecedented time. They’ve carried on by supporting their community through acts of kindness, connecting with regular customers or coming up with creative ways to keep their own staff employed.
BBB and the Small Business Administration (SBA) celebrate the perseverance, strength, and optimism small business owners have despite the challenges of the last several weeks. This week is also an ideal time to build on the trust many people feel with small businesses in their community.
Are you ready?
Showcasing Local Pride
This week, BBB intends to tell the story of small businesses and the communities they support. It would seem this experience has shown that small businesses truly are the lifeblood of a thriving local economy and create unique communities of businesspeople supporting one another.
BBB encourages everyone to visit a favorite small business, virtually or in-person, practicing social distancing and good hygiene. The more you’re able to buy locally, the more you boost the local economy as well as support small locally owned businesses.
Be Open to New Ideas.
Many small business owners have transitioned to online sales and found other ways to adapt and be flexible. BBB has been steadily producing content to help businesses cope with the challenges of COVID-19; check out our resources on BBB.org/SmallBusiness. Depending on how each business handled the crisis, the traditional brick and mortar model may be different than it once was. There may be an entirely different audience and customer base.
Entrepreneurs: Do you have an idea for a new type of business? Perhaps the quarantine allowed for a little creativity or a “what if” moment. Resources are available to at your local BBB to explore a business concept, an online business, or even a partnership somewhere in your own community.
Employers: Praise Your Team
This has been and continues to be a challenging time. From the cashier to the stockroom. Hardworking employees are ambassadors for a business. They are the ones telling your company’s story, not just in person, but online too. Make sure they know and understand they’re appreciated. If they are expected to come back to work in-person, make sure the environment they are coming back to is safe, clean and welcoming. Without employees, your business wouldn’t thrive. Your employees each have a special contribution to the success of your small business. Celebrate Small Business Week with a special treat for your staff. See our business tip on valuing people over profit for long term success.
Spread the Word on Social Media
Small Business Week has its own hashtags, including #SmallBusinessWeek. These are used nationwide and can help direct customers to your brand’s website or social media accounts. Use your social media accounts to invite your customers to visit your business and help you celebrate Small Business Week.
Consider running a giveaway or promotion that incorporates shopping local. Enter every customer that @ or tags you in their social media posts into a giveaway for a product, complimentary service, or discount. Keep the energy going all week long by getting creative and a little personal. Post pictures of how you started your business, tell the story behind your passion for your products and have small videos showing the behind-the-scenes of your business.
Thank the community that helped your small business stay alive during the quarantine. Invite new customers that may be looking for something new. A genuine “thank you” promotion helps increase customer loyalty and invites clients to partner in your success. Authenticity and transparency are what your customers desire.
BBB invites small businesses to step forward and shine. With creativity and enthusiasm, leverage the exposure of Small Business Week into a greater awareness of your brand. Let us help you.
Visit BBB.org/get-accredited to learn how trust, honesty, and integrity can play an integral part in your business’ success.