I’m writing this from my comfy home office, because I am one of many people who has the luxury of doing so. We’re able to operate remotely, so that’s what we’re doing. But we know that many small businesses and non-profits can’t operate as usual.
Bento for Business was founded because we believe that small businesses and non-profits build communities, and that they need help managing expenses and cash flow. Most of the big banks design products for big companies. We created products that work for smaller organizations. We’re proud of what we’ve done. But right now, our economy needs more.
If you’re able to work and bring in revenue right now, here are some ways that you can support your community.
1) Make a donation to your favorite non-profit organization right now. Many have had to cancel fundraising events. Others are seeing an increased demand for services. Help them out.
2) Place online and phone orders with small businesses. Many of us are in the habit of using big online companies when we want something delivered or to send a gift to someone else. Here’s the thing: your town’s bookstore can probably handle shipping or will arrange a pickup that maintains six or more feet of distance between people. (Not sure what you want? The proprietor will be happy to make recommendations or surprise you.) If you’re bored and looking for books, games, or craft supplies, or if you want to send something to someone else, think local.
3) Many services can be done remotely. For example, if you’re looking to help your kids learn something new, music instructors, language teachers, and academic tutors can pop in online. Contact these businesses to see what they offer right now. Or, pay a high-school student or someone in your life who needs income right now to help keep your kids on task with school assignments. Your nephew who is a high school senior and has been taking Spanish since 7th grade can teach your kids through video chat. Maybe have him organize a lesson plan around the Spanish track of a movie they already know by heart in English, and your house will be ringing with “¿Hazme un muñeco de nieve?” in no time. By paying someone to help with spelling words, speed math drills, or flashcards, you’re doing a small part to keep the economy afloat.
4) Policies about restaurant openings vary from community to community. If you order food for pickup, consider ordering more than you usually might. Extra side dishes will make for a good lunch the next day. And please, tip well.
5) Buying gift cards to restaurants and local retailers can help them maintain cash flow now. Likewise, consider a membership at a local cultural center or a personal training package at the gym. Or, renew your subscriptions and memberships early. These are great ways to support a favorite local haunt and give you something to look forward to when social distancing ends.
6) Use a business in a new way. If you are working from home, you might not have anything to take to the dry cleaner. But do you have a pile of clothes that need mending? Your neighborhood cleaner can probably help you out! Business for them, one less nagging chore for you.
Do you have other ideas? We want to share them! Contact us on social or email me, firstname.lastname@example.org.