Shopping and gift giving is surely different this year and there is a lot of noise showing up in our email inboxes right now.
Black Friday, Cyber Monday. Deal and more deals. It is difficult to compete with the noise. The deep discounts offered by the large corporations are not sustainable for Main Street.
The stock market is not main street.
Small businesses are already struggling in these uncertain times. Many of us are scratching our heads with the curiosity of how to compete.
Truth be told—we can’t.
So I understand in these upcoming weeks that saving a few dollars by spending your money online at these big corporate giants is tempting and frankly, if I were not a small business owner and only a consumer, I may be thinking the same way.
However, if small business is the backbone of our economy and we don’t want our small towns to have empty storefronts, we small business owners must rely on the kindness of the consumer and their wallets to consider spending a little more rather than being on the lookout for the latest deal.
It is a dilemma for sure.
What I ask of people this year is to consider thinking beyond the programmed thought of How much can I save? Or Who has the best deal?
And think instead about supporting the local businesses who have donated to every fundraiser you have attended over the years, the ones who have made you feel welcomed like a guest in your home back when we used to shop that way.
When I say small business, I mean the mom and pop shops where everyone knows your name, or at least wants to. No matter what you may think about small business right now, no matter what spin we give it as we keep a stiff upper lip in plodding through with as much positivity as we can muster, we are all struggling with uncertainty.
Every purchase you make makes a difference in a small business life right now because many of us are hanging on by a thread.
How you can help is to shop at them, to call them and ask them if they have appointment based shopping, if they have a website, if they offer shipping. You could take the drive and visit them for a curbside pickup. Or you could give them back a gift card you are hanging on to just because every penny counts right now in the world of small businesses.
What we do every day is serve the public with our wares, our smiles and our sweat. For most of us, this is not a hobby, this is our lives and our livelihoods. Your generosity of spirit goes so much further then you could possibly realize.
At my business, this year for the first time in twenty years, I have decided not to sell service gift cards. We have pivoted into the world of an online store where you can shop for product, gifts and PRODUCT gift cards.
We have done a huge shift because we had to.
Service businesses that used to be unflappable in times of economic distress has taken the biggest hit in our history. The term, unprecedented doesn’t do it justice.
In reinventing my business model, I have a brand new appreciation for business online stores. Mine is nowhere near perfect. It needs lots of attention and probably won’t be as easy to shop at as it could be or will be when I can take a breath and come up for air to work on its improvements.
We small business owners are asking a lot of our customers. Patience, understanding and support in a time of uncertainty. It is not easy for any of us who have had to rethink their entire business model in a few month’s time.
In the words of one of my colleagues who has also jumped in to rethinking her business model and strategy–She says it in a nutshell.
Thank you for your business and the incredible words of kindness for the past nine months of this Global experience. We all can’t wait for it to be over and we wish you all the most amazing and joyous holiday season.