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Five ways to help small businesses survive the pandemic

Five ways to help small businesses survive the pandemic

Small businesses have been hit hard by COVID-19.

As of July 3, Canada’s government has approved roughly 688,000 emergency $40,000 loans to small businesses. 

In a CIBC survey back in May, about 28 percent of small business owners said they had to shut down their businesses entirely. 

In another survey by Statistics Canada, 60 percent of businesses with one to four employees reported that revenue was down more than 20 percent. 

A new report by management consulting firm McKinsey & Company found that certain types of small businesses ­– including restaurants, hotels, dentist’s offices and businesses offering childcare and classes ­– were most affected

The report looked at ways corporations and consumers can help small businesses survive the pandemic.

While the report focused on the United States, most of its solutions would work in Canada. 

Here are five ways to help small businesses bounce back:

Companies should buy inventory from smaller, local businesses: Making longer-term contracts to buy from smaller companies would give them a guaranteed source of revenue.

Companies should pay for purchases immediately: Instead of waiting 90-days to pay, as might be required by contracts, companies could help small businesses improve their cash flow by paying invoices right away.

If you're a consumer, shop at small businesses: Small businesses are a lot less resilient than big box stores. If you do shop at big chains, choose ones who who advertise that they buy from small, local businesses.

If you shop online, shop local: Instead of ordering a book from Amazon, for instance, consider ordering from a local independent bookstore.   

Spread the word: If you’re shopping at small businesses, follow them on social media, share their posts and leave good Yelp reviews. Small businesses depend on online word of mouth.


  • Impact of COVID-19 on small businesses in Canada (Statistics Canada)
  • COVID-19 impact felt by 81 percent of Canadian small business owners (CIBC)
  • Which small businesses are most vulnerable to COVID-19 – and when (McKinsey & Company)
  • 10 ways to support struggling local businesses during the pandemic (MarketWatch)