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5 Ways to Support Small Businesses During a Pandemic (And After)

By: Benefits by Design | Tuesday October 20, 2020

Updated : Monday June 5, 2023

The majority of Canadian businesses are considered small- to medium-sized. In fact, 55% of Canadian companies have fewer than four employees, with 90% of exporting companies having fewer than 100 employees. In comparison, 78.5% of Small Businesses in the U.S. have fewer than 10 employees, and 73% have fewer than 10 in Canada.

It’s no secret that the global COVID-19 pandemic has hurt economies worldwide, and Canada is no exception. Small businesses — and arguably the Canadian economy — are more susceptible to the impacts of COVID-19 and need our help.

Small Businesses are Hurting

When governments began lockdowns and physical distancing recommendations, many businesses were forced to close their doors. Among those hardest hit were restaurants, bars, gyms, daycares, spas, and small retailers.

COVID-19 Small Business Support: Business Assistance Program (BAP)

A recent survey by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) found that half of the small businesses reported a drop in sales due to COVID-19. A quarter of those small businesses think they could not survive a month with a loss of income more than 50%. Even with businesses opening back up, government regulations and guidelines mean that many are doing so at reduced capacity or with smaller staff. 

How to Support Local and Small Business

In honour of Small Business Week (and beyond), we’re encouraging you to think and support small. Supporting small and local businesses in Canada is easy because there are so many to choose from! Here’s how you can support small businesses:

#1. Support Small Business Over Large Retailers

There are many options out there that serve as alternatives to large, brand name retailers. You can still get everything you need while supporting a small business.

Here’s a few examples to consider:

You get the idea. Depending on where you live, you may have more options than others, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still support small businesses. Many businesses have increased their online presence and options — check if online ordering is available near you!

#2. Spread the Word

Did you know that 83% of consumers say that word-of-mouth influences their purchases? If you really like a small business and want to help them out, the best thing to do is tell your friends and family about it. Think about if your friend suggested you check out a new local restaurant because their pad thai was amazing — wouldn’t you at least give it a shot?

Take it one step further and follow your favourite local businesses on social media so they can gain positive exposure. Share your experiences online as a way of spreading the word!

#3. Buy Gift Cards (and Gift them)

If you want to support local but don’t really need anything right now, consider purchasing gift cards instead! They provide the business with some much-needed support and revenue during a tough time but allows you to make your purchase on your own time.

What’s more, you can consider combining our #2 and #3 recommendations and purchase gift cards to then gift to friends and family! That’s double the support!

At Benefits by Design (BBD) Inc. we employed this strategy and it worked wonders. We offered every employee $50 to patronize their favourite small business. Employees purchased books, bakery goodies, beer, sandwiches, and even artwork!

#4. Write an Online Review

Supporting small businesses doesn’t have to be from the wallet. One of the most impactful things you can do to support a small business is to leave them a positive Google Review. Positive reviews help the business greatly by increasing their ranking in search engine results and also contribute to positive consumer shopping decisions. Interestingly, research suggests that some consumers think a 5-star rating may be too good to be true. The rating that consumers trust the most is 4 stars out of 5, followed by 4.5 and 5.

#5. Check Out #SmallBusinessEveryDay

The #SmallBusinessEveryDay challenge is exactly what it sounds like — a call to action to support a small business in some way every day. If that sounds expensive to you, don’t worry! There are plenty of ways to help out (some already mentioned here) that don’t cost any money at all! Take the small business challenge for ideas and inspiration!

Accept the Small Business Challenge!

Support Small Business Any Way You Can

Supporting small businesses is more important than ever in the wake of COVID-19. Not only are they the lifeblood of the Canadian economy, but they’re also far more susceptible to the impacts a global pandemic is wreaking on the economy.

Celebrate Small Business Week with the BDC and help forge the way forward!

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