Even though Small Business Week has been postponed, we still think it’s a good time to celebrate small business owners.

Right now, many small businesses in this country are struggling. The Coronavirus has forced some to shut down, and all of them to change the way they operate. While some remain open, like mine, we’re working with reduced staff and facing a significant decrease in sales. Many businesses are also concerned that even when they can re-open, recovering might be a slow process. I understand why some people might see little reason to celebrate. But right now, I think it’s important to highlight the significant impact small business owners make – and that’s worth celebrating every day.

Small businesses in the U.S. really do make up the backbone of the country’s economy. When our businesses are shutdown, millions become unemployed. When our businesses don’t spend, the economy falters. Our businesses feed, repair, style, build, design and make lives better for millions of people every day. We know how important we are because the government is granting billions of dollars in relief to keep us operating. Countless people are making it a priority to buy from, work at and donate to small businesses all over the country.

Now we have an opportunity to show our gratitude. That’s what this time should be all about. Not about sales. Not about deals. But focused on simple gratitude. If you’re running a small business, take a day or two out of the week to show just how grateful you are to the people who care about your business.

Consider giving back a little to your loyal customers. Send a small gift to the ones who continue to support you. A simple phone call or email to tell them you appreciate them can go a long way. Or, if you can, offer them a specialized product or service at little cost. Take the time to thank them and make it personal. Use the opportunity to communicate with your entire customer base just to let them know that you’re still here and will be ready to serve them when this whole crazy thing is over.

Take time to give gratitude for your community, too. No one, even if they’re not a frequent customer, wants to see your business close for good. Your store, restaurant or company is part of their community and an essential fabric of the neighborhood. You employ their neighbors and take advantage of what the community offers. Take this chance to give a little something back. Make a local charitable contribution to first responders. Seek out other businesses that may need some extra help and offer it. Have your employees volunteer to bring some cheer to someone who needs it. Partner with other local companies to raise money for a good cause. If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s to appreciate all the people and things that make our lives worth living and our businesses so important. Use Small Business Week to give a little something back to the community in return.

Finally, dig a little deeper for your employees. Without them, you’d have no business and wouldn’t be able to reopen once things get back to normal. Make it a point during Small Business Week to personally reach out by phone to remind them just how important they are for your small business. Check in with them to make sure everyone in their family is okay. If you can, offer some additional financial help. At the very least, offer whatever guidance you can in helping them navigate your state’s unemployment system. Make sure they’re fully aware of the federal rules that allow them time off and don’t leave them feeling alone.

Given all that’s happened and all the outpouring of support that small businesses around the country have seen during this pandemic, I think this should be a time for small businesses to show their thanks to the people who have been behind us for so many years and will still be there when things finally, inevitably, ultimately return back to normal.

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