How to support small business in the era of COVID-19

Nov 14, 2020

Citi is a TPG advertising partner. 

Small businesses are the heart and soul of our local communities, and their resilience has shone through during the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, according to a recent poll conducted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 70% of small business are still concerned about the financial impact of COVID-19 on their business, with 58% fearing they may have to close permanently.

Some have temporarily closed their doors, unsure of when (or if) they will be able to fully reopen. Some have had to lay off their staff, while other businesses have had to adapt the way they do business as they observe social distancing, comply with travel restrictions and institute new cleaning and hygiene requirements to keep their valued customers safe.

Related: How to find a special restaurant or small business near you

Even for those who have remained open — or have been able to reopen — they’ve been working hard to keep customers coming through their doors, especially any customers who have been avoiding public spaces. Many small business owners and their staff with school-aged children also have been juggling the responsibilities of their workplace with caring for and educating their children at home.

All of this has shown just how resilient, valuable and innovative small businesses are in 2020. Small business owners are used to working hard and managing lots of priorities, which has been valuable skills to operate in a pandemic.

(Photo by Mylove4art via Twenty20)

With change has come clever innovation. Many restaurants have managed to quickly implement new takeout and delivery options, since their dining rooms remain closed or can only operate with limited capacity. And lucky for us, we can still enjoy their delicious food, just in a different setting.

You might think of a small business as a brick-and-mortar shop in your town square, but they are not just in-person establishments – some have great online operations too. This year, we’ve seen small businesses that previously taught classes on their premises, switch to online learning bringing in new business not just from their local area but from around the country.

The speed at which they’ve been able to significantly pivot their business operations is impressive. Projects that might previously have taken months have been rolled out in just a few weeks. They’re working hard to keep you safe and keep their business going.

TPG Small Biz Facebook Lounge member Jesse runs an online fashion business that just happened to sell scarves and shawls as the pandemic hit.

With face masks in short supply, her business was suddenly booming.

“We didn’t want to make a profit by price gouging our scarves, so we decided to sell them at a break-even in hope of helping more people,” Jesse explained. “We also made video tutorials on how to use scarves and other fabrics to protect people when masks were not available.”

Related: Use the right card when shopping at local small businesses

Small businesses are an important part of the local community. They provide valuable local employment, keep your town center vibrant and unique, and reinvest in the communities they operate in. Next time you’re choosing where you give your business, remember the benefits of shopping locally (whether in person, or online), and how they are adapting and overcoming the challenges of the pandemic.

Related: Tips and advice for small business owners on Talking Points with TPG’s Richard Kerr

To help small businesses remain resilient during the pandemic, Citi  is harnessing their reach and resources, and mobilizing the community at large, including customers, partners and employees to provide much needed support to small businesses. At launch Citi partnered with Start Small Think Big (SSTB), a nonprofit working with small businesses in underserved communities.

SSTB’s mission is to help entrepreneurs and small business owners increase their business knowledge, build their personal financial security, and stimulate economic growth in their communities. SSTB also provides free legal, financial and marketing services through its in-house experts and extensive network of pro bono partners.

During the month of July, Citi and Mastercard donated 5 cents for each qualifying purchase made at small businesses using a select Citi Mastercard. In all, Citi and Mastercard combined, donated $1 million to Start Small Think Big.

“Small businesses are owned and operated by our friends, families, neighbors and each one plays an important role in our economy,” said Mary Hines, Chief Marketing Officer for Citi’s U.S. Consumer Bank. “Citi has long been a champion of independently owned businesses and is honored to spotlight those small businesses and to encourage consumers to support and provide our small business customers with resources to assist them during this challenging time.”

Read more here.

Related: How you can help small businesses during COVID-19

If you’re a small business facing challenges right now, you can read our guide on other resources available to you, including initiatives and incentives from federal, state and local governments. There’s also a number of commercial programs with special offers for small businesses from the likes of FacebookMicrosoft TeamsYelp and Zoom.

Featured image by Peterkinnnn via Twenty20

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.