If you are privileged to be home right now, scrolling through social media and taking on your 9-5, wondering if there is a way you can contribute, how about showing some support to small businesses near your area?
The past two months have been exceptionally hard on the MSME sector, and the aftermath is not looking good. Small businesses are coming out of the pandemic lockdown with little hope.
It’s time we all helped out a little.
Why should you support small businesses?
- There are over 50 million small businesses in India and they account for a third of the country’s GDP. So, if you want to see the economy improve, support your local businesses.
- Small businesses employ over 120 million people, a lot of them who have lost their jobs during the pandemic lockdown. So, when you buy small, you do big for the job sector too.
6 Tips to Support Small Businesses in India
Remember the age-old line” A little goes a long way”? That works for small businesses too. Small businesses are facing severe business competition from bigger competitors, including medium-sized franchises with a stronger customer base.
So, what can you, as a concerned citizen/customer do to support small businesses?
Look for online small businesses:
Yes, movement is restricted so you cannot buy from your local vendors. But, did you know a lot of these businesses are now online?
Let’s say you want to buy toiletries for your home. Instead of buying the commercial big brand, you find in the grocery store, buy from a small, eco-friendly business like Minimo Basics. If you need stationery, look up Justincase’s online store on Instamojo.
Bonus: If you find a small business via social media, you can buy via their Instagram store or Facebook Shop
View this post on Instagram
This week we bring you a Zerowaste switch in your kitchen – utensil cleaning pads made entirely from coconut husk! 🌱🌿 The regular ScotchBright products like the green cleaning pads, sponge and cleaning mats are all made of plastic and simply add to the microplastics in our waters or end up in a landfill. 🚰 . These are from @palmerabrushes and they have a lot of cleaning products made from coconut husk! Use the link below or the link in the bio to place your orders. http://www.ethamozhycoirs.com?raf=ref9428190 Have you used these or something like this? How was your experience? . 📷:@zerowaste_india #zerowaste #zerowasteindia #zerowasteliving #zerowastehome #zerowastekitchen #cleaning #bacteria #coconut #ecofriendlyproducts #microplastics #saynotoplastic #plasticfree #natural #organic #cleanindia #indianmoms #maa #cleanhome #utensils #climatechange #environment #green #mumbaidairies #delhigram #india #discover #lowwaste #swachbharat #sustainableliving #mygreenaction
Spread the word:
Once you find a small business striving to stay afloat during the Pandemic, spread the word about them. Become a ‘micro-influencer’. Talk about the brand on your IG stories, tweet a review about them and make sure you tag them anywhere you can.
Buy a gift voucher:
This was an initiative I personally enjoyed to contribute to – buying a gift card. Champaca Cafe, a local bookstore cafe, took to the online space and asked folks to buy gift vouchers to keep their business going. You buy a gift card and redeem it later in the cafe.
Many businesses are working tirelessly to provide discounts, offers and freebies in order to make more cash. If you like a business’s product but cannot purchase anything yet, buy a voucher you can redeem later.
Join a cause by an NGO:
If you catch the local news, you’d have heard about daily wage earners losing jobs, stray animals going hungry and more. If you currently have a steady income and are working from home, extend a helping hand by donating to these causes.
Offer your services:
Are you a graphic designer? Or a content writer? If you find spare time, reach out to small businesses that cannot afford a particular service and agree to provide your professional expertise for free or a reduced amount.
Network and form communities:
A recent trend I noticed (besides TikTok videos) is WhatsApp businesses that are taking off. Communities and large apartment complexes have begun to sell food/face masks and other homemade products using WhatsApp. If you are lucky enough to live in such a society, join or create such groups.
Pick up a new skill:
One of the best ways to support small businesses is to find a way it can help you too. Sure, buying eco-friendly locally sourced products have their own benefits – but what if it also:
- Taught you how to cook? There are LIVE cooking classes that take place online. Do not just rely on YouTube videos, support a home-based chef who could teach you to bake the softest tea cake for your family.
- Become a stand-up comedian: The lockdown resulted in gigs and events closing down, and some of the hardest hit were comedians and musicians. If you need a good laugh after a day’s work, support artists like Anshu Mor and Daniel Fernandes.
Anshu Mor hosts LIVE comedy shows via Zoom and also conducts workshops on comedy writing. Daniel Fernandes has regular podcasts and shows he uploads on Youtube, with a ‘Pay what you want’ feature that allows you to pay any amount. If you like the show, you pay.
B2B support – How to support other businesses
Did you know that Bumble, a popular dating app is raising funds for small businesses affected by COVID? If your business needs a boost, it’s best to reach out to those who can partner and grow with you.
If you are looking to keep business moving but are short on manpower, reach out to freelancers who would like to take up a project with your company. A lot of solopreneurs could use the extra cash, so reach out on LinkedIn and other social media platforms.
We need a graphic designer cum illustrator to join our team and work with us in creating India’s strongest company in the sector of comics, cartoons and animation based storytelling.
— Bakarmax (@bakarmax_) May 16, 2020
Keep differences aside and come together to fight a crisis together. If your business can partner with another business and sell products together, it can also help attract more customers. You can also support causes for other businesses and industries. For example: If you like coffee, the genuine kind, not Dalgona, then you can support #CupofJoy:
The Indian Coffee Culture’s #CupofJoy initiative to save cafes from closing down during the Coronavirus lockdown is an example of how other businesses are going the extra mile. To make sure cafes and roasteries don’t run dry in the post-COVID world, Indian Coffee Culture has started #cupofjoy to help these businesses and YOU could be a part of it!
Besides this, keep yourself updated on the different Government schemes and relief packages for businesses affected by COVID.
If your business is looking to start afresh post the lockdown, we have two words that will ensure success: go online! And beyond that, you can set up a premium online store on Instamojo and sell your products and services with 20+ customisable, DIY themes and multiples features. It’s the internet, be everywhere and sell in one place!