Many businesses closed when the pandemic started over a year ago as people stayed home to stop the spread of the virus. Even though things have improved since then, many businesses have yet to recover from the initial effects of the health crisis. This was particularly true among small businesses across the country.
Even as the authorities had their hands full in trying to contain the virus, they also worked on helping small businesses survive the pandemic. Many local officials focused on providing active support to these businesses to ensure they have a better chance of riding out the storm.
Even as the federal government assisted businesses, there were times when delays hounded the aid the authorities were providing. In these instances, state and local officials provided support to small businesses to help them stay afloat.
Some of the interventions offered by these officials were to position these businesses in their communities to provide access to a bigger market for their products and services. The intervention also prepared these businesses for a post-pandemic world. Here are the other things that local governments can do to help small businesses survive the current health crisis.
Prioritize Providing Value to these Businesses
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security or CARES Act of the federal government was designed to provide economic assistance to workers, families, and small businesses during the pandemic. While the funding was available, some small businesses could not access it. Due to this, local governments facilitated the release of the finds to the businesses that needed them. This allowed many businesses to weather the pandemic storm.
The local government also promoted these businesses in their local communities. They encourage consumers to connect with the businesses for the products that they needed. But they can also create a community online platform allowing product promotion among businesses. These platforms allow businesses to focus on the local community and connect with their customers.
Since most consumers have shifted to online shopping, local governments can help small businesses connect with their customers. They can help them by providing tech grants to set up their websites and increase their online presence.
Promote Business Development
The pandemic upended many industries across the country. While many businesses suffered from the situation, local governments can still use it to provide training to the workforce to give them new skills that they can use in the future.
For instance, the local government of Charlotte in North Carolina launched a program designed to support small businesses amid the crisis in the local economy. The two-phase plan helped both small businesses and the workforce in the locality. The first phase focused on providing support for small businesses. On the other hand, the second phase focused on developing skills among the workers and helping them find jobs.
Local governments can also provide free consultations to businesses to help them grow amid the pandemic. They can set up development centers that can serve as business resource hubs in their localities. Additionally, the local government can also encourage startups to provide online solutions to deal with issues affecting businesses globally.
Streamline Government Services
Bureaucracy can delay the delivery of basic services to its recipients. Similarly, it can also delay the assistance that small businesses need during the pandemic. With this, the government can make it easier for businesses to access the assistance they need.
They can start by streamlining their operations through the automation of some internal procedures. Automation facilitates the timely release of assistance that small businesses need during a crisis. It can also reduce costs of operation and increase efficiency in the local government.
Making the most out of their websites also allows local governments to provide better access to their constituents. They can ensure that the websites are user-friendly for businesses to allow these businesses to easily access the resource that the government provides. It also allows small businesses to easily find contracts that they can bid for to keep themselves afloat.
Local governments can also focus on providing creative solutions to issues they have to deal with. For instance, the initial solutions local governments provided when the pandemic started mainly dealt with the health aspect of the crisis. But these solutions were not good for businesses.
With this, local governments can work with small businesses in finding solutions to the issues everyone is facing. Collaborating with these businesses can even result in better solutions to the issues they are facing. Instead of sacrificing one sector of society, they can find a win-win solution to these issues.
Local governments play a major role in dealing with a health crisis while ensuring small businesses do not go under due to the situation.