After the doors were shut, local businesses had to find ways to get online to be active through the pandemic especially this holiday season. Local businesses have turned to technology during the pandemic. But it might not be enough either. Local businesses selling physical items such as clothing and books, have found ways to list products online and in some cases, for the first time have created websites. Stores still selling from physical outlets are changing the way they get paid moving from riskier cash and even physical credit card payment schemes and contactless options. Technology adoptions, which were supposed to take years, have been adopted in weeks.
The study shows that about 81% of Canadian local business owners claim that COVID-19 has a negative effect on their activities and that many are worried about the sustainability of their business over the next year. But long-term optimism remains high, with most business owners optimistic that they will be able to recover from the crisis. The majority believe that the most difficult factor to handle is the ambiguity as to how long the COVID-19 steps would last.
We should never feel hopeless because difficult times always lead to better days. While it has been tough for everyone in the last few months, the display of support at the local level for small companies and others in need has been encouraging. Most have expressed kindness and sympathy towards friends and family and have done what they can to make each day a little better. Retail stores are also more constrained in their activities, currently being able to provide orders and online sales. While some companies do have an existing online store, others need to improvise, conduct live social media shopping experiences or exploit existing online distribution channels such as Etsy, or in some cases provide centralized gift card transactions to nearby businesses. Communities are now being innovative in order to improve revenue such as holding virtual retail activities.
Now, you may be asking yourself, “How can I help support my local businesses during the holiday season?”
There are many ways to do this; We recommend putting local businesses top of mind when shopping for, well anything. When a product or service pops into your head that you are considering purchasing, stop and think “How can I buy this locally?”
If you are uncertain as to which businesses provide said products or services, luckily, there’s Google. With so many companies (even small businesses) turning to online, they have upped their focus on their SEO (search engine optimization) marketing. You should find what you’re looking for rather quickly.
If it’s a recommendation you’re looking for, there are many places to turn whether that’s asking a Facebook group, community forum, and/or looking up reviews.
By taking the extra time to search locally first, you’re providing more value back into your community as you support local business owners than you can imagine. And if you don’t have the time, we know a great company to outsource these research and shopping tasks to (*wink* *wink*).
Here are a few benefits that highlight the impact you could have now – and this holiday season:
Local businesses are situated in towns and are frequently underrated for the good they can do. Local businesses benefit from the patronage of people who live in their towns and cities and want to provide for these individuals. You’re helping the local economy by supporting your local business. When a purchase is made at a local business, instead of going to a nationally owned enterprise, a crucial amount of money remains locally. This helps to sustain the booming and prosperous local economy. When you buy locally, almost half of the cost of your purchase is returned to the local economy. We should all realize that every dime is helping, specifically around Christmas time.
Local businesses are mostly run by the residents of your town. This makes it more personal, which means that they really care for their customers and create a nice and friendly atmosphere for them to shop in. Customer care comes first, and it can make a big difference in your shopping/dining experience. In fact, many local business owners have personal ties to each other, allowing them to supply you with unique discounts and referrals on many other needs that you might have. And who doesn’t want a reasonable deal about the holidays?
Since then, small companies have added new jobs to the economy. So when you shop locally, you’re building job security for current working people in your neighborhood, as well as opening the door to more local hiring opportunities. And what better way to enjoy Christmas and the coming New Year than to get a reliable career close to home?
We’ll leave you with a Canadian company that has seen success during this time of uncertainty.
Kaevon Khoozani was about to board for a wellness trade show in Ohio at Winnipeg Airport in early March when the event was postponed. His hopes to expand his company in the United States appeared to be dashed. Khoozani manufactures sports equipment geared at individuals participating in powerlifting and CrossFit exercises. Bells of Steel, located in Calgary, opened 10 years ago and has 7 employees both in Canada and States. Sales started to pick up in March, but there was a major decision to be made. Khoozani did not know whether to load up on inventory or not. It was impossible to understand whether the pandemic would give rise to a tremendous amount of interest in home-based exercise equipment or whether demand would decline because too many people would have had a negative financial effect as a result of lock-down initiatives.
Luckily, Khoozani had more inventory in stock than average to start the year thanks to their expansion plans in the U.S. Overall, this year’s revenues were multiple times as high than last year but growth may have been even greater if they had operated earlier than before with their vendors. Still, Khoozani said that the company was able to raise its market share in the States. One time, he said profits were $600,000. Now he’s looking at expanding to Europe.
Khoozani was able to capitalize on the popularity, as well as, the necessity for so many individuals needing to work out at home vs. going to their gym facility. This trend may continue as people may be weary of heading back too quickly to their gym and may opt to continue to work out more from home in 2021.