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6 ways to help inflation-hit small businesses

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A woman in a coffee shop pays for coffee and cake by mobile phone.

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Small businesses still adapting to the pandemic and labor shortages face yet another economic hurdle. Inflation is his top concern for 44% of small business owners, according to the 2022 MetLife and U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Index. It can also contribute to lowering their morale.The Small Business Optimism Index, as measured by the National Federation of Independent Business, has fallen below its 48-year average for the sixth consecutive month as of June 2022. I was.

But there is a glimmer of hope, according to some entrepreneurs. When prices rise across the board, small businesses have a secret weapon that many big box stores don’t.

“Overall, I think this is where indie brands can win, where we can be personal and open to the community,” says Vive, an online culture-conscious beauty brand. says Leslie Valdivia, co-founder and CEO of Cosmetics.

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Here’s how customers can help small businesses stay in business as the cost of doing business rises.

1. Leave a positive review

If you had a great experience at a local restaurant or shop, let others know and pay upfront. This is especially important for new small businesses that have not yet established a reputation.

“Reviews are free.” Spread the word. “

2. Socialize online

“Living and commenting on posts builds credibility with that brand,” says Glanville, who also oversees Brewing the American Dream, a program that provides coaching to small businesses in the food and beverage industry. says Mr. “It can increase their followers.”

Now that inflation has squeezed margins for many businesses, they are spending less money on advertising, said Beverly Mulbranch, founder and CEO of social impact-focused coffee company Calibrew. I will add.

“Sharing is support,” she says, explaining that it can be as easy as posting an Instagram story.

3. Prepay or subscribe when possible

When a business is low on cash, it can be difficult to pay bills, stock shelves, and pay employees. Prepaying when possible improves a company’s cash flow. That’s why companies like Calibrew offer prepaid his subscriptions to customers who know they’ll use the product repeatedly. Subscription-based models, whether prepaid or not, give business owners a better idea of ​​how much they can earn in the future, so they can plan ahead.

4. Book appointments in advance and stick to them

Being a loyal customer is very helpful for small businesses. It’s even better if you let the business owner know in advance that you’ll be returning.

Tara Ritchie, owner of Wagin Tales Pet Resort in Whitesburg, Kentucky, says pre-booking is one of the best things you can do to support your service-based business. When her clients do this, she can better staff her salon and predict her cash flow better. If you have to cancel, try to cancel ahead of time so the business has time to fill the reservation.

5. Be patient when understaffed

Fanni Xie, owner of Uni Uni Bubble Tea in Appleton, Wisconsin, says lines can get long if her bubble tea café is understaffed. Rather than immediately leaving a bad review due to long waits or problems with my order, she suggests I speak to the staff first.

“We hope our customers will have a better understanding of our situation,” says Xie.

6. Buy locally all year round

Shopping Small applies beyond Small Business Saturday and Holiday gift giving. Buying locally and creating a habit of spending within the community is a good starting point for consumers, no matter how small the purchase.

“The reality of inflation right now is that everything is on the rise,” Granville says. “So if the money can be spent for small businesses, it really makes a difference for them.”