Like everyone right now, I have had a lot of conversations about the COVID-19 crisis. Most of my conversations have been market-related, given that I am a financial advisor, but also I have spent a lot of time talking and thinking about the economic impact for our country. In particular, I am very concerned about small businesses and how they will get through the next few months. So, while we all spent our first weekend being socially distant from one another, I decided to write down some ways that we could all do our part to support local businesses in the weeks ahead.
Here are my suggestions:
We All Need To Eat
Consider ways that you can help your local restaurants through this difficult time. If you are uncomfortable eating out at a restaurant, consider ordering take out or delivery. Also, even if you are not dining in, think about leaving a tip. Remember that the servers at these restaurants rely on tips and won’t get paid if people aren’t dining in. If you have your food delivered, a tip is always suggested. Let’s not let a global pandemic turn us into savages!
Buy Gift Cards
If you are not comfortable eating out or ordering in, consider buying gift cards from your favorite restaurants, diners, coffee shops, and juice bars. Consider it an investment in your neighborhood. These gift cards provide much needed cash to these businesses in the here and now! Of course, you will always be able to put them to good use when things settle down.
Support Your Local Studio
Think about how this situation could impact your local gym, yoga, Pilates, boot camp, or cross fit studios. If you pay monthly, that’s great. If you buy packages or pay by the class, consider buying one now to help them through this cash crunch.
Are there gifts that you need to buy for events that are coming up? Perhaps it’s a good idea to think ahead to weddings, showers, and graduations and order your gifts now. Instead of going to a large retailer, consider buying something from a small business that sells their goods online. If you are looking for some gift ideas, let me know! I have a great list of amazing (female) founders who sell beautiful products. If there is a local store that you would rather patronize, find out if they sell any of their products online.
Pay Your People
This crisis is going to impact so many people in different ways. If it is in your ability, make sure you continue to pay the people in your life who provide you with services. Nannies, cleaning people, dog walkers or anyone who provides you with services in your house will be extremely grateful if you continue to pay them through this difficult time.
Worship From Afar
Unless you are my mother who is still stubbornly attending daily mass (it is Lent after all!), it is likely that you have decided to steer clear of your house of worship for now. Consider that most houses of worship rely on your weekly contribution to the “offering basket” and without it certainly find it difficult to make ends meet. It would be nice to write a check for the amount that you would normally give in a month or two and pop it in the mail.
Drink Your Way Through The Crisis
I am sure by now you have seen a million memes and jokes about how we all need to stock up on booze as we all head into a potential quarantine. Perhaps on your doomsday run to the liquor store, you could consider buying your local brewer’s beer or a small batch whisky, tequila or gin? All small business owners need a boost right now so try to make every purchase matter.
Use Social Media To Spread The Word
I truly believe that this is a crucial message worth spreading. Our communities depend on it. Please use your power of influence to spread the word about your favorite small business. Consider posting on local message boards, writing a meaningful post about your favorite business owner on your social media or send messages to your friends to encourage them to spread the word. Also, you can do all of this for free! Remember to share and like posts, repost, tag a friend, comment, post a photo or give a shout out to your small business owners.
This crisis will pass. However, in the meantime, it is vital that we make sure to support small businesses to ensure their survival. If you want more information, check out Cate Luzio, CEO and Founder of Luminary, outline some ideas. And finally, SPREAD THE WORD, not the Virus. Good luck!
Kristin O’Keeffe Merrick is a money expert and financial advisor at her family-run firm, O’Keeffe Financial Partners, in Fairfield, NJ. Kristin works with families, business owners, non-profits and creatives to devise bespoke financial plans and to help clients work towards achieving their money goals. Kristin also speaks and writes about financial literacy. She is a contributor to Forbes and Girlboss and has been featured on the Today Show, Real Simple, House Seven and My Domaine.
Views expressed are not necessarily those of Raymond James Financial Services and are subject to change without notice. Information contained herein was received from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy is not guaranteed. Information provided is general in nature,and is not a complete statement of all information necessary for making an investment decision. Investing always involves risk and you may incur a profit or loss. No investment strategy can guarantee success. Diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss. Dividends are not guaranteed and a company's future ability to pay dividends may be limited. Investors should consider the investment objectives, risks, and charges and expenses of an exchange-traded product carefully before investing. A prospectus which contains this and other information about these funds can be obtained by contacting Kristin Merrick. Please read the prospectus carefully before investing. Securities offered through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through Raymond James Financial Services Advisors, Inc. O'Keeffe Financial Partners, LLC is not a registered broker/dealer and is independent of Raymond James Financial Services.