Sure, Target, Walmart and Amazon are a huge part of the American economy. But don’t be fooled, small businesses make up over 90% of all businesses in the U.S. It’s not an easy road for the independent entrepreneur. According to the Small Business Administration, small businesses have around a 50% survival rate. And the road just got tougher with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Interested in making your local economy jolly during the upcoming holiday season? Support small businesses in your community.

COVID-19 has had a terrible impact on both businesses and consumers alike. Some businesses are overwhelmed by increased consumer demands for shipping and delivery, and many doors were forced to close for months at a time in 2020. The upcoming holidays could be a lifesaver for many hoping to make up for lost revenue.

How can you help?
Whether you want to shop online to stay safe or you’ve reduced your budget during these uncertain times, you can still support small businesses. Here are a few tips:

• Shop local instead of buying with big-box retailers;
• Check local business websites to see if there are options for shopping online or curbside pickup;
• Go out during slow times to limit your contact with people;
• Start your shopping as early as possible;
• Use local bakeries and caterers for holiday gifts and feasts;
• Come up with creative ideas for gifts so you can conveniently shop local.

How do I find local businesses?
Ask your friends and family. But if your circle is limited, use the Internet. Here are few sites to check out:

Small Business Saturday;
Yelp (as we say in my household, when in doubt, check Yelp!);
Social Media – Many small businesses have pages on Facebook or Instagram;
Google – very helpful because it offers maps and access to consumer reviews;
• Visit your local Chamber of Commerce online – your chamber of commerce will provide a list of local businesses.

The holiday season of 2020 will be a unique challenge. If you want to support small businesses with your shopping while also benefiting your community, take these easy steps. Keep it safe, keep it local and you just might be surprised by the discoveries you make.