It was the call I was dreading. She told me about how she’d lost most of her members. People had lost jobs and couldn’t continue the service. My long time yoga teacher and dear friend Jaymala was calling everyone personally.
Bad sign. I really didn’t like the way this was going:
“But now is the time to show we are not just a ‘community’ in the normal way. We are a family. We’ll continue.”
She went on to tell me about how she and the teachers she employed would put the earnings from each class into a pool — and whatever amount it was, they would share it.
They would continue to do what hardly any yoga studio was doing: offering live online classes every day, morning and evening every weekday, mornings each weekend — from the same group of teachers that usually taught at the physical studio. Not just recordings. Not classes just from her, or 1 or 2 other teachers. All 7–8 teachers will continue.
What’s more, Jaymala offered us to pick up from her, whatever props we needed to practice at home. She offers classes free for healthcare workers. She’s running new 12 pm weekday meditation classes by video on WhatsApp. And giving up one of her classes each week to other teachers.
At a time when people are drawing back, retreating into their homes, holding onto what they have, Jaymala is doing the opposite: Coming out, showing what she stands for, giving all she can despite her loss. Using this as an opportunity to give more than usual. Despite this not making any financial sense at all. Despite having the choice to focus on building her income in other areas. This story is not unique. What Jaymala — and many other small businesses everywhere are showing us in this most challenging of situations is their true nature.
It’s what they’ve always shown us:
Service that knows your name and bothers to ask how your family is doing.
Generosity that pops in an extra treat in the bag for your kids.
Responsiveness for new delivery options when you can’t leave your home.
Honesty to tell you when they’ve made a mistake — and fixing it without a fuss.
Gratitude for supporting them.
Passion, love, and joy in what they do to serve us despite the stresses of running a business.
Worrying about whether this month’s cash flow will pay suppliers next month. Staying up late and waking early to:
- Follow up with customers
- Check product levels
- Figure out how to keep employers on — or how to tell them they can’t.
- Problem solve the uncertainty of fluctuating cash flow
- Decide what to offer and what to cut back
Local small businesses are the beating heart of our communities. Of our country.
In a crisis such as this, the layers unpeel and you see the core of society. You see the true colors of the people around you. You see that small businesses have always been there for us – and continue to give – even when they’re struggling.
Who’s there for you right now when you need them?
Who needs you right now?
What can you do to help?
We may be isolated in our homes physically. But let’s look outside our own homes at the unsung heroes of our communities: small businesses. In August 2018, AMEX released the results of their report, ‘The Economy of Shopping Small: Back Your Backyard’. Approximately 1,000 customers and 850 business owners were surveyed across Australia. Consumers would rather buy from small businesses than larger ones. They care about small businesses — but 86% admit they could do more, especially those living in big cities.
Let’s get behind our local small businesses. If you haven’t before, now is the time. Buy local because behind the success of every local small business there is a family… And every time we shop local, the buck stays here. The jobs stay here. Our kids’ sports clubs keep running. We can all enjoy music festivals and New Year’s Eve fireworks in our parks — and we will again when this is over. Every time we shop local, we add power and purpose to the word ‘community’. And in return, we will find ever-increasing options to shop, work, play, eat — and everything in between.
The gift that keeps on giving…
When we shop small, the small give back to our communities. Local charities and community groups benefit: in Australia, AMEX reported that small businesses donate an average of $10,000 to local charities, sporting clubs, and sponsorships of local groups or events.
When we shop from small, local businesses, we are making a conscious choice: to give ourselves more.
And more joy from playing a special part in a small business’ story.
10 simple ways to support small business
Write positive reviews: help their seo and help them attract more customers
- Share ideas: ask how you can help and offer ideas
- Grab take away or home delivery: keep your favorite eateries alive
- Buy gift cards: grab them now for later
- Share on social: people trust recommendations from friends and family
- Order supplies online: easy and convenient
- Get fit online: let your local fitness studio guide you to fitness online
- Use telehealth: health practitioners are used to helping patients online
- Buy early: buy for next season now
- Say thank you: so simple yet so powerful — and it doesn’t cost a thing
Small businesses are doing it tough right now — as we all are. Yet so many of them continue to give generously and wholeheartedly. Small businesses are the core of so many countries, of Australia — run by kind people who ask how are you and care about your answer. People with kids your kids go to school with. Who donate goods, services, and money to school fetes and charities you care about.
Let’s appreciate our small local businesses by doing what we can to help them through these challenging times. There are many ways to help, you’ve now got 10 simple ideas to help your local small business families — so they can keep helping you.