Shop local: they need you now more than everStuart Taverner
There are over 2.1 million small businesses in Australia, accounting for 33% of Australia’s GDP, employing over 40% of Australia’s workforce, and paying around 12% of total company tax revenue. They are the lifeblood of the Australian economy.
As the number of COVID-19 cases increases daily in Australia and now non-essential businesses forced to close across the country, small business owners are being hit hard. Social distancing, cancelled events, self-quarantine and working from home all contribute to the challenges small businesses are facing. They need us now more than ever.
To help small businesses weather the storm, the government has announced several stimulus packages made up of tax relief, unsecured loans, and grants. These policies will be essential to keep businesses running, but without continued support from local people, they will not survive. We encourage everybody to shop local.
Why shop local?
Research shows when you shop local, you are contributing to the local economy. The revenue of small businesses goes back to paying local people, local suppliers and local causes.
In the American Express “shop small” report, the share of turnover reinvested locally has increased from 42 cents of every dollar to more than 45 cents over the past three years. In 2018, this totalled $57.7 billion that small businesses have contributed to their local economy, up for the second year running from $37.3 billion in 2017.
When you shop local, you’re making a personal contribution to your community. You are individually stimulating the local economy with your support and in turn, helping shape your community’s unique character and personality.
How to help local businesses
The money from small businesses is essential for local communities. They put food on the table for countless families, increase tourism, and are often lifelines for the most vulnerable people in society. Other than making a concerted effort to shop local, there are other ways to help the small businesses employing our friends and family.
Online and offline
In articles from the ABC, it’s a delight to see small business adapting to the crisis we are facing; books being delivered by car and coffee shops moving online, Australians are thinking on their feet to survive.
Many small business owners can learn from example. Make the effort to check out what your local stores are offering online. Most small businesses, especially now, will be looking for a way to keep serving their customers, if they know the demand is there they will be more likely to try something new to help meet demand.
A gesture of goodwill and a fantastic way to support local businesses, gift cards can help keep local stores afloat. This will help in several ways:
- Business owners get the cash immediately
- You’ll likely return to shop again
- They make a great birthday present and the lucky recipient will discover a great new shopping location
Why not pop into your local store and ask them if they have a gift card option? If they don’t it might just spark an idea in their head to begin offering this to their customers.
With partial closure of all restaurants, cafes and bars, takeaway orders are essential for the revenue of the hospitality industry. Many independently owned restaurants and food businesses are on delivery platforms like Uber Eats or Menulog. In times like this, the way in which you make a payment needs to be carefully considered. In order to combat COVID-19, Menulog is offering the option for contactless delivery, making food delivery safer for everyone involved. Otherwise, If you are ordering directly from the restaurant or cafe’, consider paying over the phone by card.
The best thing you can do for local business owners right now is to keep shopping if you can afford to do so. Think about the restaurants, the cafes, art galleries that improve our quality of life outside of the pandemic. It’s not the time to visit them right now – well, we can’t and shouldn’t – but helping to keep them alive will ensure our communities remain stable.
These are unprecedented times for everyone. But, in joining forces and fighting for our local businesses and communities we can get through the most difficult challenges. If you are a small business owner or know one within your social circle, then here is a list of helpful resources to keep informed and up to date on Coronavirus within Australia:
- Safework Australia
- Business Australia and available support for small business
- The Treasury
- Department of Health
- Prime Minister of Australia