I just ran into a friend who owns a popular restaurant in San Francisco. He seemed really down and despondent and I asked him what was going on. He was almost in tears as he told me that he had to lay off 21 employees as business was way down over the last month. He is hoping that he won’t have close.
As I walk the streets of San Francisco I see fear everywhere. Businesses, like our Beat Museum, with virtually no customers and low sales, some closing and some trying to hang on. Then there are the employees that are already getting laid off or are working reduced hours with lower pay or without severance. For small business it can be challenging to keep on and/or pay employees. And for those employees, how will they pay their bills, rent, food and other necessities? And God forbid they get sick. Some may still work because they have to take care of themselves or their families.
I was on the front lines in 2001 and 2008 when there were massive layoffs that affected thousands of people. As a coach I helped many of those employees. And now there is a huge economic downturn in many industries. It may be for a different reason this time than last, but sadly, the results for the short term will be the same, many people will lose their jobs. History repeats itself over and over again. And with the ripple effect it is difficult to know how long it will take for the economy to resurge.
This is a scary time and I know it can be difficult to see beyond making sure you or your family do not get sick. My heart goes out to everyone that is suffering – those that are sick, employees that have and will lose their jobs and small businesses that may not be able to make it through to the other side. It will get better and the days will be brighter and full of hope again. Until that time, how do we help those in need? Please open your heart and your wallet and do what you can. If everyone makes an effort to pay it forward, then we can all as part of humanity make a true difference.
Steps you can take steps to help those in financial need
- Purchase from small independent businesses locally and online even if you pay a little more – I shop at my neighborhood nature store and buy take-out food from local restaurants.
- When dining out or buying take-out food or coffee leave an extra-large tip for the server – I know they have bills to pay so I leave more knowing that with less customers there will be less tips.
- Donate $ to small businesses and non-profits – We are used to donating to non-profits because we support their mission and also to get a tax deduction. Most for profit small businesses would appreciate a donation right now maybe even more so than non-profits as they are fighting to survive and keep their employees on payroll.
- Donate physical items directly to people in need or to non-profits – Maybe a family could use your children’s gently used toys or clothes. Or if someone only had a computer at work perhaps your old laptop would really help as that former colleague looks for work.
- Refer people to small businesses – Tell and remind your friends about businesses that provide products and services, which you value.
- Support a go fund me campaign – There are plenty of campaigns out there and a lot of need so choose to help what resonates for you and how you can best help.
- Buy food or other necessities and give it to a friend or someone that recently lost their job. There are delivery services if you do not want to purchase and deliver yourself – Who would not appreciate a bag of groceries at their door.
- Purchase a gift card and give it to someone in need. There are virtual gift cards. You can buy and give specific business or store gift cards as well as Visa and MasterCard gift cards that will help someone to pay bills or buy groceries.
**If someone is having a tough time whether financially, physically or emotionally reach out and call if you can. There are a lot of people that live alone and with social distancing and staying at home more often than not now, communication from you showing you care can be a real lifeline.