7 Ways Financial Institutions Can Support Small Businesses During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 outbreak has impacted our world and day-to-day life in countless ways. Many cities across the United States are closing non-essential businesses and issuing stay-at-home ordinances. The repercussions of these acts affect our communities and the businesses within our community. Small businesses are struggling to stay open and maintain cash flow.

As a pillar in the communities you serve, small businesses rely on your financial institution in good times and in bad. Whether it be extending a line of credit, offering a loan or pointing them to relief resources, like the Paycheck Protection Program to get through these times, your institutions are working steadily to provide financial services support to your small business account holders.

In conversations the past few weeks with our customers and across the industry, we’ve witnessed an outpouring of untraditional support for small businesses. We wanted to take a moment to share some ideas we’ve seen other financial institutions are doing, as well as a few of our own! Here are some out of the box ways to lend support to your small business community through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Purchase Gift Cards
Buying a few gift cards from local businesses in your area can help keep money flowing during these hard times. Gift cards can typically be redeemed at any time and small businesses receive the revenue within one business day of your purchase. If there are businesses that your employers love or frequent often, purchase a few gift cards from them to use later or distribute them to healthcare professionals serving your communities.

Shop Locally Online
Most small businesses have been ordered to close because they are considered non-essential. In an effort to stay afloat during this time, some businesses are moving online and to social media to maintain revenue. Their social media pages share their new hours if they have them, or offer alternative methods of doing business, like booking appointments to shop privately or curbside pickup for online orders. Gift cards oftentimes can be used on their website!

Order Carry-out And Delivery
Most restaurants are offering carry-out and delivery options. Encourage your teams and communities to choose a local restaurant and order lunch. If available, pay online or over the phone as an extra social distancing best practice.

Share Local Business Information With Your Customers
Create a list of restaurants and other businesses that are open and ready to continue serving the community. Share and tag their business on social media. List their new hours, modified or alternative services, and why you love them. This can help make your customers aware of changes in their community and keep them involved too! Check out this example from the Osakis Chamber of Commerce.

Like, Share and Review on Social & Google
Instead of investing fiscally, invest time in small businesses in your area. Find a few of their social media pages and like and share their content to help keep them top of mind for your communities. Providing positive reviews helps boost their rankings. If your employees frequent a local business, leave them a review and tell them why you love them.

Invest In Your Employees
Empower your employees to select a specific local business your financial institution supports. A few financial institutions have chosen to give their employees a fund to spend within their communities. This is a great way for your business to invest in the local economy but also give back to your employees.

Check-In with your Small Business Friends
Everyone in your community is balancing a new way of life. Reach out to the businesses in your community and check in on them. A kind word of appreciation and thoughtful gesture during hard times goes a long way in building morale and lifting up the small business owners.

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To aid in supporting small businesses in your communities, our team has created a few social tools to make sharing the word easier!  For more tools to support small businesses, check out our Resource Center for exclusive images like the below available for download.

Contact us today to set up your action plan

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