How you spend your money could make or break a local business, says Ben Cottam

How we choose to spend our money has never mattered more

With thousands of businesses set to close their doors for a little over two weeks as part of Wales’ fire break lockdown, there is once again huge disruption and uncertainty in store for Wales’ business community.

Many firms are still trying to get back on their feet after enduring the first national lockdown and local lockdowns across the country, and this fire break will undoubtedly be a huge setback. Businesses have never needed us as much as they do now.

At FSB, we’ve been working intensely with Welsh Government to make the case that these businesses need financial support but alongside this there’s action that all of us can take to help provide a future to the businesses that make up our high streets and local communities.

How we choose to spend our money – both during the fire break and afterwards – will have a huge impact on the future of jobs, our communities and the economy in Wales. Small businesses are the reason that our high streets are diverse and vibrant, they provide jobs in local areas and they contribute massively to local economies – far more than the larger companies with headquarters outside of Wales.

Head of external affairs of the FSB in Wales Ben Cottam

The power of your spending has never mattered so much. There are two days left before many businesses shut their doors for the fire break – is there any shopping that you will do in the meantime that can be done with a local business? If you were heading to the supermarket, could you pick up groceries in the local greengrocer and butcher instead? The decisions we make about our spending at such a precarious time could literally be the difference between a business surviving the lockdown and not.

Whilst many firms will be closed during the fire break lockdown, that doesn’t mean you can’t support them. Can you treat yourself to a takeaway from your favourite restaurant during the lockdown? Could you browse online and buy from a small Welsh business instead of Amazon?

Whilst Halloween will look very different this year, many of us will still celebrate at home, and this is a great opportunity to buy decorations, costumes and treats from independent retailers rather than the more obvious places.

Making this decision isn’t just good for Wales; it means that you have the opportunity to buy something unique from a small business that isn’t selling the same items as everyone else.

We’ll be urging as many people as possible to #ShopLocalWales, and we hope you will, too.

If you’re not in a position to spend money, that’s fine too. Supporting small businesses online by liking and sharing social media posts will help broaden their reach and put them in a good position for sales post-lockdown.

This lockdown comes at a really troubling time for businesses who are relying on the run-up to Christmas to help them boost sales and shore up their position after a rocky year.

So, could you aim to do more of your Christmas shopping with a smaller firm – either online during the lockdown, or once it has lifted?

It’s been an incredibly difficult year and we all have a part to play in beating Coronavirus and rebuilding our communities.

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Small businesses play a vital role in our communities and they have never needed our support more than they do right now.

There are business owners and staff facing a testing, frightening and uncertain winter. Whilst it might not seem like it, even a small change to our habits that means we spend money with a local business will have a huge impact on that business, which in turn will make a difference to the communities we live in.

Please, if you can, use this lockdown to think about how you can support the Welsh businesses that we are all so proud to call ours.

— to www.business-live.co.uk

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