Supporting Small Businesses During a Pandemic

May 6, 2020

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Last year, small businesses employed nearly half of the United States’ workforce, driving job creation and economic growth. Under normal circumstances, we would celebrate the accomplishments of the small business community this National Small Business Week.

The coronavirus pandemic has upended those plans, with the Small Business Administration indefinitely postponing the annual commemoration. Meanwhile, small business owners are grappling with the increasing financial and emotional toll of the global health crisis, making now a critical time for companies with a small business customer audience to support them.

FleishmanHillard’s COVID-19 study found that 88% of respondents said that local businesses play a role in responding to the crisis. Larger brands that cater to entrepreneurs are in a unique position to help small businesses do just this.

Over the years, our work with clients with a small business focus has taught us the value of communicating with these special customers. Here’s what we’ve learned:

  • Be empathetic. Creating and maintaining a small business was always hard work, but today’s pressures are causing new challenges and struggles. Express empathy in your communications, acknowledging the situation while reaffirming your commitment to support them.
  • Give advice. Small businesses are looking to various sources to figure out how to stay afloat. Use your branded or owned content to give guidance and help build your own reputation among the small business community.
  • Celebrate entrepreneurship. Find unique ways to recognize entrepreneurs for their ingenuity and hard work. From a campaign encouraging individuals to patronize local shops to a nationwide contest investing in start-ups, brands have put the spotlight on small businesses with success in the past. It’s always inspiring to see the enduring spirit of entrepreneurship.

These tips go beyond the current situation. During the recovery and resurgence phase, small businesses will be key to bringing the economy to life once again. Establishing yourself as a thought leader and supporter of small businesses now builds trust in the future. Create goodwill now; be rewarded later.