This year, Small Business Week is more important than ever. Small businesses have always been the backbone of each community, and with the added challenge of COVID-19, many are unfortunately struggling.

While the need to help the independent business community is most immediately obvious, the benefits of shopping small extend far beyond times of crisis.

We are all social distancing, which means our dollars are not flowing into local cafés and gyms and salons as normal. But many of these businesses have made clever pivots to service their customers without human contact.

There are ways that we as a global (and local) community can secure the futures of our local small businesses and help them shine in these dark times.

1. Buy a Gift Card
Whether for yourself, or a gift for someone else, a gift certificate from a local shop, salon, etc. is a great way to help a business financially and will allow you to indulge at a later date.

2. Order Supplies Online
Online shopping doesn’t only have to benefit the big companies. Support your favourite retailers and order your holiday gifts, clothing necessities and even home items online from shops in your own neighbourhood. This is especially good when the rain comes!

3. Keep Up Your Fitness
As we head into the rainy days of our holiday season, the tendency to indulge is always there, but without the nice weather to encourage us to hit the trails or mountains. Keep up your fitness with online or in-person classes from the gyms, yoga studios and other fitness businesses in your neighbourhood.

4. Try New Take-Out
We love us some delicious new eats! This is probably the easiest way to support your restaurants, while enjoying amazing food. Lucky for you, we even have a great program going on this week to encourage you to order take-out from a new spot: #WEAre Take-Out.

5. Share on Social
If you can’t afford to go out or have sufficiently stocked up with what you need, encourage your friends and followers to support local businesses. Most small businesses have some form of social media, so you can share their posts so those in your circle can see it and support, too. This doesn’t cost you anything more than a click and it may encourage support from others in the community.

6. Indulge in Self-Care
We know that 2020 has been a bit of a tough time for everyone. Relax and indulge yourself in a day at the spa, enjoy a massage or hit up the salon for a quick haircut to boost your mood and get you looking and feeling good.

7. Leave a Glowing Review
Customer reviews have never carried more weight. Good reviews can give businesses a big credibility boost without you having to spend any money. They appear in prominent positions on Google search listings, and even play a role in improving the search ranking of a business!

8. Shop Local, Love Local
When you need to stock up on necessities, shop from local businesses, both online and offline. Take the precautions when going out, but try to shop at local businesses, from hardware stores to pharmacies and small grocery stores — instead of larger chains.

9. Stay-cation in Your Own City
Escape your familiar four walls and head to one of the hotels in your own neighbourhood for a weekend getaway. You’ll be surprised how your perspective shifts simply by being away from home. Stay Vancouver has some amazing deals HERE.

10. Be Kind and Check In
Everyone is still consistently adjusting to our new world, and probably will be for the foreseeable future, including business owners. The best thing we can all do is remain calm, be kind to one another and check in with those business owners you know, making sure that they feel their community has their back.

These are only a few ways to help out your local small businesses, there are many, many more. Support your neighbours however you can, and keep showing your favourite businesses your love!