With the COVID-19 pandemic leading to many stringent regulations, many local small businesses have suffered. Despite lockdown easing in South Africa, companies are feeling the impact.
Stats SA reported in April that half of the small businesses in South Africa paused all trading in April. By July, there was news that many had closed their doors while others are struggling to survive.
However, there are small positive steps that pretty much anyone can take.
Instead of buying takeout from big multinational food chains why not buy local? With restrictions on eat-in customer, many restaurants and cafes have started delivering too. Look for individually owned, restaurants and coffee shops in your area that are not part of a global chain.
You can find many South African clothing brands on social media like Instagram and Facebook. As an alternative to the international labels, rather support these brands when buying clothes. By doing this, you can relieve some financial pressure on a small business.
For example, Rave Hart does custom-made festival wear, and Kaapstad Supply produces casual gear (and now also makes masks).
When buying gifts, look for companies that do handmade gifts or offer gift services. Not only will you be supporting them, but you can take some stress out of thinking of the ideal gift.
For example, @giftstopza in Kuils River is an online pit-stop for gifting, and Soraya Adams @sorayaadams8 is a crafter who makes bags out of canvas with a touch of leather.
You also can support small business in other ways, and it does not have to mean you always spend money. If you have a business of your own, use it to help other businesses by shining a light on them.
South African retail company Mr Price has done this, for example, by using its massive social media presence and website to shine a light on local creatives. The beneficiaries include fashion label Retrofontein Apparel and fruit sorbet business, Sobae, among others.
Another way to help without spending money is to simply share their content, products or services on your platforms. This way more people can discover them and in turn, more people will be attracted to these businesses.
You can do this on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and even by sharing things to your contacts on WhatsApp.
Following on this, you can use your platforms on social media to help make a difference for these brands.
When wearing local clothing brands or visiting local businesses or even eating from local food shops, if you decide to post pictures, make sure to tag them or give them credit. This helps support them and encourage their brand. This way people have more access to the brands as well.
Small businesses in South Africa have suffered a great deal. Many have lost more than a month’s work and pay, have had to lay off staff as they cannot afford to pay them any longer.
Taking just one idea out of the list mentioned above could help a local business or brand thrive. It could also help more people than you think.