How Small Businesses Can Capitalize on Recent Trends

31 August 2020
How Small Businesses Can Capitalize on Recent Trends

When we talk about the impact of COVID-19 on businesses, one of the most popular emerging narratives is that coronavirus has accelerated certain trends that had been steadily gaining a foothold over the last decade—work from home, e-commerce for larger and/or more regularly purchased items, etc. However, there has also been a rediscovery of older habits during the pandemic. People are baking bread at home in droves. Others are learning to sew so they can make masks and, in turn, are learning to extend the life of their clothes. What’s interesting, though, is where these two trends—wide adoption of new habits and a return to some older ones—have the potential to converge: supporting small business.

Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and in recent years consumers have shown a renewed interest in spending locally. Small Business Saturday, intended as a response to Black Friday, was launched in 2010 and has been gaining traction since then. Chain restaurants and fast food are seeing increasing competition from local and regional eateries, fueled at least in part by the farm-to-table model. Local hardware stores and the knowledgeable former tradespeople they regularly employ are seeing a renaissance as our national passion for DIY grows. For businesses, contracting with local partners can help to keep costs low and culture-clashes to a minimum. It’s more important now than ever before that those trends continue—and grow—in the face of COVID-19.

On the other hand, the pandemic has very much brought us into a “what’s old is new again” cultural phase. People are rediscovering skills, gadgets, hobbies, and more from years past. Here, too, supporting local businesses fits the trend. In an era before big-box retailers, local hardware and home goods stores were the standard. Before business-to-business giants started operating on a national scale, there were local supply and support companies that recirculated their profits in the communities they served. While we may never revert to a model that doesn’t feature national and global businesses, we can certainly make sure that local companies continue to play a pivotal role in their communities.

Supporting local businesses, then, plays into both trends emerging because of COVID-19. It’s crucial that small businesses capitalize on and sustain that momentum, and choosing the right partners is critical to bridging that gap.

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