At Ventura Pranas we have taken on a community initiative to help businesses that we have come in contact with, which are the hardest hit by the crisis, by providing them with short term loans to carry payroll, utilities and rent. Perhaps we could all do our part by reaching out to people and businesses we have come in contact with and who have provided us with services before and are desperately in need of assistance.
Small, growing businesses often hold themselves to the same high standards that large brands do, but without the resources. While individuals have to pay home rent despite work difficulties at a time like this, business owners have to pay rent, salaries and take care of all responsibilities of the business.
We have a friend who has been running a salon for a few years. She recently expanded right before the lockdown, with a huge capital investment to renovate a space. Business expenses have blown up (new hires, higher rent, loan repayments) while business has come to a halt. We spoke to her about asking her landlord to reduce or at least defer rent for a while, and to have the uncomfortable conversation with her staff about taking a reduction in salary. We were surprised to learn that she hadn't considered these options - such were her ethics and the sincerity with which she was running her business
Perhaps, there's also some truth to the fact that larger corporations find it easier to make some of these decisions because relationships are more transactional and there's a culture of economic efficiency, whereas smaller businesses have a focus on quality even at the cost of efficiency (or how else would they garner a section of the market) and relationships with staff are very strong and often intimate.
Finally, to help tide her through these difficult times, the partners of Ventura Pranas decided to give the Salon owner a small loan, so that in addition to her other cost cutting and deferment, she had something to keep her business afloat.
In our experience, it's not just the money that helps. It's the mentorship, friendship, hand-holding and counsel that also goes a long way along with a bit of financial assistance. Check in with your favourite local businesses. We're sure they'd love to hear from you anyway.