Though things have gotten better in regard to the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the U.S. economy, many of your favorite small businesses are still trying to recover from the last two years while facing new pressures like inflation, increasing fuel costs, and endless supply chain issues. And now, there’s a new variant threatening to exasperate these burdens for entrepreneurs.
As we enter a new year, it’s in everyone’s best interest to support small businesses. Why? According to the Small Business Administration standards, there are 31.7 million small businesses in the U.S. and they employ nearly 60 million people, nearly half—of America’s combined workforce. We can all jump in and help buy from small businesses in our local communities and online. Here are a few small ways to make a big impact!
Take a stroll ‘round the block
Money spent with local small businesses does more than help bolster those individual businesses; those funds invest money directly into your community. Impact studies have shown that for every dollar spent with independent retailers, about half gets recirculated back into the community in the form of labor, purchases, and charitable donations. In other words, investing in small businesses is an investment in your community.
Your first stop should be businesses in your own backyard. Stop by your favorite locally owned coffee or smoothie shop. Buy a gift card from your favorite restaurant or local retailer. Get a head start on spring cleaning and have your bedding cleaned by the neighborhood dry cleaner. Have your dog spruced up by a local groomer. There are so many ways to support small businesses in your area.
Small business goods just a few clicks away
Many traditionally brick and mortar-based businesses have pivoted to online selling — either on their own website or through online stores like Amazon. Yes, Amazon! I get it, it’s hard to think that shopping on Amazon helps small businesses, but it’s true. According to the company’s 2021 Small Business Empowerment Report, more than half of everything sold in its store comes from one of its third-party sellers – most of which are small and medium-sized businesses. In fact, there are more than 500,000 U.S.-based entrepreneurs selling in Amazon’s store. Those businesses sold more than 3.8 billion products and averaged $200,000 in sales between September 2020 and August 2021. You can find products from small businesses in Amazon’s Support Small store; on Amazon Handmade; and with Local Pickup & Delivery which allows you to purchase from both national and local retailers offering in-store pickup and fast delivery to local customers.
Looking for one-of-a-kind items, vintage treasures, or handmade goods? Buying from Etsy is a great way to support small businesses. In 2020, small businesses selling on Etsy generated nearly $4 billion in revenue. If you are interested in supporting Black-owned businesses, Miiriya is a marketplace featuring Black-owned businesses exclusively with a vast variety of products offered. And if you want to shop with small businesses on Instagram, you can use buy directly from shoppable posts sprinkled throughout your Instagram feed without leaving the app.
The people behind the products
While you’re being intentional about buying products from small businesses, I encourage you to get to know the owners. Tell them how happy you are that they are in your community. Too many of them never hear from customers (unless they’re unhappy), so I know your words will go far. While you’re at it, leave a glowing review online. Follow and engage with them on social media; and take photos or video your unboxing experience and share and tag them. When other people see these, they might get inspired to support the same company or a small business they love.
In short, supporting small businesses is good for everyone. Our small businesses need your support more than ever.
Note: This is a sponsored post that was written by Melinda Emerson. All content included in this article is solely the opinion of the author.
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