Are you not sure of what the Ontario reopening plan might mean for you as a business owner or customer?
This week on our Instagram Live we hosted Djanka Gajdel to discuss how small businesses have been impacted by the lockdown, what resources there are for them during the Ontario reopening plan and how we can support local businesses as customers.
Why are small businesses fundamental?
Most small businesses are run by one founder which puts all responsibilities of all departments to the business owner. In addition to the challenges associated with extreme responsibility, the lockdown put a greater force on small business owners to survive and succeed. As nearly 90% of Canada’s economy is run by small businesses, it’s more important than ever to show our support as customers by buying local during the Ontario reopening plan.
In addition to their support to the economy, small businesses also create communities. Do you have a favourite local restaurant or store you frequently shop from? These small businesses create a neighbourhood and help bring your community together. However, they might not be able to survive if they don’t receive support from their customers when they finally open their doors after months of lockdown.
What challenges have small businesses faced during the pandemic and how can we help them?
Changing buying patterns:
Compared to large businesses, small businesses might lack an online presence which amplifies their loss of sales during the lockdown. With most people preferring to make fast online purchases from Amazon or other big corporations during the lockdown, small businesses lost a significant number of sales. As we reopen the economy, small businesses get a chance to make up for their losses and truly depend on customers showing some support in their physical stores.
Lack of operations:
Unfortunately, some service-based businesses don’t get a chance to make online purchases as their service depends on face-to-face interactions such as hair salons and gyms. If you want to support your local service businesses while getting yourself in shape, make sure to visit these businesses.
Lack of funding:
There are many policies that prevent small businesses from surviving, such as the lack of funding and initiatives from banks and the government. Even the COVID funds provided by the government didn’t aid small businesses as much as expected since funds that need to paid back bring additional risk to the businesses’ survival. This leaves the business owners on their own and puts a greater emphasis on customers for survival.
As patios open this weekend, many are excited to take advantage of the nice weather and enjoy the patios at their local restaurants. However, do you know the costs of sustaining those patios? Small businesses seek opportunities to sustain and grow their business during the pandemic and the CafeTO program is one initiative that allows restaurants to build patios to improve business. Unfortunately, the costs associated with building these patios and insuring them have been extremely high. During the months of the lockdown, these patios may have brought more losses to small businesses than gains as they had to consistently pay for insurance and maintenance without getting any customers. For small businesses to survive and thrive, the corporations and government also need to show their support and lower their costs.
What resources are there for small businesses?
BIA (business improvement association) is a city-run association of volunteers working in different districts. The tax levies are higher for the businesses that participate in the BIA of their districts to fund improvements that will attract more customers to their district. If you are a business owner that wants to learn more about how you can get help or get involved during the Ontario reopening plan, check out your district’s BIA.
How can we help small businesses to thrive during the reopening?
It is very simple and easy for anyone to support small businesses and that is by buying local! Do you have a local restaurant or store you love? Visit their restaurant and purchase from them! Do you want to support a local business while getting yourself in shape? Visit a hair salon and get that haircut you were waiting so long for! Are you tired of being at home during the lockdown? Make your purchases from a local store instead of buying online from large corporations. Even if your purchases don’t seem a lot to you, it will definitely help small businesses.
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