Tools to Support Small Businesses During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Small businesses have been scaling back their operations and temporarily closing their physical locations due to consumers staying home as a result of the pandemic. Without their patronage, small businesses are left with limited options when it comes to generating income. Fortunately, with the surrounding communities coming together and the benefits of the digital age, there are tools to support small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Find Your Fans Online
Once you’ve followed through with your COVID-19 contingency plan or are set up to work from home, now is the time to establish a source for consumers to easily access your products and services online. Some amenities you can offer on your website include:
- Sell digital gift cards: Consumers are looking for a way to support their local businesses. Provide them the opportunity to buy gift cards on your website to use once your business reopens.
- Create an online store: While your storefront is closed, you can continue to conduct business through an e-commerce website. Selling directly online increases your reach, as your sales aren’t dependent on your physical location.
- Design an online takeout form: If you’re running a restaurant, you are permitted to offer takeout and delivery. Generating a means to order online allows for quicker transactions and will prevent your phone lines from becoming tied up.
- Provide online classes: You can offer classes for free via social media – such as Facebook Live or Instagram Live – or for a small fee using Zoom. Charge patrons to join your online audience as you provide your business’s services – like karate lessons – via video.
Apply for State and Community Assistance
Beyond giving your consumers the tools to support you, there are government and local resources in place to help support small businesses. You’ll also find many of these resources and information about dealing with COVID-19 over at Create Honesty, a partner of Vision Advertising, who is dedicated to personal and entrepreneurial development.
Massachusetts and Federal Resources
There are a growing number of state and federal relief packages and information resources available to businesses impacted by the pandemic. Here are a few of the programs for small business owners:
- Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act
- Charlie Baker’s $10 Million Small Business Recovery Loan Fund
- IRS Coronavirus Tax Relief
- Massachusetts Rapid Response – Layoff Aversion
- North Central Mass Chamber of Commerce Micro-Loan Program
- S. Chamber of Commerce’s Guide to Combating the Coronavirus
- S. Small Business Administration Disaster Assistance Loans
People and businesses in the community least impacted by COVID-19 are coming together to ensure their favorite companies can weather this storm. Here are some local responses to this pandemic:
- Common Capital’s Fast Track Loan Program
- Emergency Micro-Loans from North Central Massachusetts Development Corp.
- Free Business Advisement from Clark University
- Greg Hill Foundation & Samuel Adams Restaurant Strong Fund
Local Resources for Nonprofits Only
These times are also affecting nonprofits, a field in which I have an extensive history. Luckily, there are several resources available to nonprofits to help them continue to aid their communities:
- Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation COVID-19 Assistance Fund
- MetroWest Emergency Relief Fund
- Tufts Health Plan Foundation
- United Way of Greater New Bedford
- The Boston Foundation COVID-19 Response Fund
More resources for nonprofits are available at the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network.
While there are several programs aimed at helping small businesses, there’s also a lot of bureaucratic paperwork involved, with conditions some businesses may not qualify for. During these trying times, we have to look to one another for help. We at Vision Advertising are doing all we can to support our clients during the COVID-19 pandemic by angling their public relations to address the issues and providing reformed business and marketing strategies. For assistance discovering which tools are available to you, contact us today.