During the ongoing coronavirus epidemic, Torontonians supported many small businesses with gift card purchases and fundraising campaigns. But as the pandemic persisted and restrictions constrained operating hours, many independent companies continued to struggle.
Small Business Grassroots Funding
As our favourite small businesses remain closed due to lockdown, a new grassroots crowd-funding campaign was introduced to assist in covering the overhead costs of these retailers during the COVID-19 crisis.
Distantly.ca is an online donation site that allows Toronto residents to make direct donations to small businesses in their communities.
Distantly’s goal, in partnership with the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA), is to minimise the effect of non-essential closures on main street businesses including coffee shops, restaurants, and hair and nail salons by allowing consumers to continue supporting those businesses when they are able to re-open.
Throughout the City of Toronto, small business owners have creatively developed strategies to keep businesses afloat, while simultaneously rallying their communities around them.
Despite the adversity of Covid-19, Toronto entrepreneurs proved their resilience as more and more people sought alternative forms of social connection.
Tips on managing your small business during the pandemic
1. Take advantage of your employees’ skills, knowledge, and expertise.
2. Ensure you’re staying up to date with the latest technology and software.
3. Encourage your employees to bring ideas and suggestions to the table.
Looking to sell Online?
The number one concern for most small businesses is still, “How can I increase sales?” For so many consumers moving to online shopping, this is more difficult than it used to be.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about selling online
- What is the typical cost per month?
- How does Small Business help me reach my target audience?
- How much inventory do I need to sell in order to make money on the site?
- What if people don’t buy my services or products?
How to access small business grants in Toronto?
Applications are open for the new Ontario Small Business Support Grant, which helps small businesses that are required to close or significantly restrict services under the Provincewide Shutdown effective December 26, 2020. Starting at $10,000 for all eligible businesses, the grant provides businesses with funding to a maximum of $20,000 to help cover decreased revenue expected as a result of the provincewide shutdown.
Toronto Health Measures and Small Business
In Toronto, the following directives are in place to help stop the spread of COVID-19. The new COVID-19 variants of concern may spread more easily. It is more important than ever to follow these public health practices.
- Restrict close contact only to members of your household, and essential supports.
- Having family or friends who are not members of your household in your home for a social visit is not permitted under provincial orders. Essential support workers and emergency repairpersons are allowed.
- Outdoor organized public events or social gatherings are limited to a maximum of 10 people.
- Businesses and workplaces must implement work-from-home wherever possible.
- Businesses should review their HVAC systems to ensure they are in good working order.
- Indoor dining, outdoor dining and patios are not permitted. Take-out, drive-through and delivery options remain available and are strongly encouraged to support local businesses.
- All indoor gyms and recreational programs are closed, with some limited exceptions and City-operated community centres open for community supports such as food banks.
- In-store shopping and shopping malls are permitted to open, subject to capacity limits. All hair salons, barber shops, nail salons and tattoo parlours are closed.
- Meeting and event spaces will remain closed.
- Casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments remain closed.
- Stay home except for essential reasons, such as groceries and other necessities, including pharmacy visits, healthcare appointments, exercise, child care, and work, if you can’t do it remotely.