Here we are, more than a year into this pandemic (and no; it's not over - U.S. case counts have doubled over the last three weeks). So how are small businesses doing?
Throughout COVID-19 and Batch's transition away from our brick-and-mortar retail store and more fully into eCommerce and corporate sales, I have updated you on what it's like to run a small business and how small businesses are faring across the US.
This is why last year we launched the Small Business Pledge (still going strong - sign up today and we'll mail you a free sticker!). The Pledge is simple:
- Once a week, shop at a small business (a local restaurant, a boutique, a pet store).
- Once a month, shift your spend away from a big business and toward a small business (think getting your groceries from a farmer's market rather than a big box grocer, buying household supplies at a local hardware store rather than at the huge national chains, etc.)
- Once a year, make a major purchase from a small business (like a piece of furniture or all your back-to-school clothes).
And what we've encouraged individuals to do, we're now asking big companies to do.
If we want to help put a stop to the trend of small business closures - 1/3 of which have closed since the pandemic began - we've all got to start making bigger strides.
So, big businesses, here goes:
- Where are you outsourcing your expertise in IT, HR, or any other acronyms? Is it to a major firm because your CEO likes to yacht with their CEO? Smart folks are all around you, running boutique consultancies. Call one of those the next time you need some outside input.
- Who's helping with your operations? Is your cleaning crew local, or a huge national conglomerate? And what about your shipping and courier services? Little guys near you would love a slice of that pie; time to divvy it up and get our small business beehive buzzing.
- Who's designing your buildings or decorating your offices? High quality small business design firms exist in every city and town in America. Call those folks rather than the flashy firm in Manhattan or LA.
- Where are you buying your corporate gifts? Office supplies? Promo items? Office snacks? Small business suppliers - ahem - can line up to bid on these lines of business and offer a level of personalization and service larger, anonymous companies can't.
- Where are you hosting off-site events? And who's catering those? Big hotel chains make it easy, but local venues and small businesses can make it meaningful.
If you're a big business looking to leave a positive impact on your local community, think small. Flex that corporate muscle and redirect your budget line items toward smaller businesses. Tell your boss it'll provide some synergy and a better 30,000 foot view so you can zero in on a better bottom line for all stakeholders while shoring up resources for a Q4 push. (We don't know what that means and neither does your boss; just say it and they'll approve your request.)
Remember - not all local businesses are small businesses, but all small businesses are local businesses.