Yes, we all feel it. Shelves are bare and economic realities are beginning to emerge.

Small business survival is an important component to a healthy community and economy. Now more than ever, let’s lend them a hand shall we?

Big supermarket chains like Coles will be fine, but your local small businesses will be under enormous pressure. So how do you spread the love, take care of your neighbours and support small business during this shutdown period?

1) Shop local!

If you have visited one of the big supermarket players in recent days you will surely have absorbed a distinct Hunger Games vibe:

“May the odds be ever in your favour!”

Where’s the meat? Where’s the pasta? Where’s the freaking toilet paper! But before you knock over two old ladies and a pram as you careen your shopping cart through the aisles, beelining for essentials – did you check the local shops?

I bet there’s a deli, baker, butcher, greengrocer, pharmacist, corner store or local home delivery service that has what you need. Probably no lines either.

At this point, they need you and you need them. Skip the big guys and pay a visit to your local merchants first and foremost. If you take care of the little guys, we’ll all get through this together.

2) Pay your invoices. Please.

Late invoice payments have always been a massive issue for small businesses, long before now. It ranks as one of the top small business concerns when it comes to cashflow and the ability to keep trading.

Now more than ever, we urge everyone who deals with small business services to pay your invoices promptly and in full, it may be the difference between small business survivability or not.

If you owe a small business money or are late on your payment terms, please stop reading now and go and pay it. Livelihoods (and future business relationships) are potentially at stake.

3) Go cashless

Luckily, we have progressed to the point in society where cashless payment options are ubiquitous. So, there is no excuse for this one. Put the cash away and make payments solely with cards, smart watches or phones.

This small hygienic gesture to your local small business will help keep them, their colleagues and your broader community safer from potential transmissions.

4) Get home delivery from local restaurants

I’m sure you’re surrounded by amazing small restaurants that will be feeling the pinch. Instead of dialing up Domino’s or grabbing some Macca’s – spare a thought for the local Thai joint.

Eat-in trade will be down and restaurants will begin to empty as self-isolation and social distancing become more prevalent. This means, of course, that their primary source of revenue will be delivery services.

Keep in mind – running the grocery gauntlet right now can be a daunting undertaking anyway, so why not order some Pad Thai instead?

5) Visit local shops when working from home

Now that more and more businesses are working from home, there will be a subtle side effect where those businesses that usually see slow day trade due to work hours can get a boost if you help.

If you’re working from home for now, use your breaks or lunch time to go and visit a local café or grab some fish and chips from the corner. Maybe grab a newspaper or buy some flowers for a loved one. Such small businesses, which would usually have slow day trade in normal times, really need your help.

Go and pay them a visit.

6) Buy gift cards

The beauty of a gift card is that the value of said card is directly injected, as cash, into a local business without the need to immediately dispense goods.

Buying gift cards means guaranteed cashflow.  Guaranteed cashflow means better chances of profitability and survivability for your local small business… Perfect!

7) Be kind, be patient and remember your manners

Small business staff will be stressed to the core right now. Employment may be uncertain, work hours stretched and tensions high. Support your local businesspeople and your community by leaving goods for others, remaining patient and courteous to staff and being mindful that we are all in this together.

Note: Although Australia is traditionally a non-tipping country, if you have the spare change and you really want to help your incredible local community, consider leaving a tip in these tough times.