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Promote what you have, be kind to your customers and support your fellow business owners by giving yourself a little something

The phrase "social distancing" has become an unfortunate addition to our everyday vocabulary as ongoing issues connected to COVID-19 increasingly infiltrate our daily lives.

Employees are transitioning to work-from-home set-ups, gatherings of all sizes have been canceled, and customers are altering their purchasing habits. For a growing number of Oregon businesses, the impact of those changes has been immediate and, in many cases, severe.

DANIELLE KANENavigating a landscape that's changing as rapidly as the one we're currently experiencing is understandably daunting. For both businesses and consumers, it's increasingly difficult to know if your next move is the right one. Thankfully, there are some simple steps both sides of the marketplace can take that may ultimately make a big difference.

At Better Business Bureau Northwest + Pacific, we are here to help advocate for businesses and protect consumers during this crisis. The best way to recover is to maintain and build trust with customers in trying times.

For most businesses, finding success in the time of coronavirus may begin and end with transparent communication. Actively engaging customers and employees in an ongoing conversation is a crucial opportunity to inform them of updates to services or changes to normal operation. Most importantly, communicating proactively and responsibly shows your stakeholders you understand the magnitude and uncertainty of the current climate, and that thoughtful intent is guiding your decisions.

The same goes for planning. Bringing together employees and coworkers to proactively come up with ways to adapt your services could be the key to meeting the demands of the times. We're already seeing restaurants reformat their operations to a take-out or delivery model. Other industries may have to make similar transitions. Planning ahead makes those moves a little easier.

As a consumer, helping those businesses hurt by temporary closures and other social distancing restrictions could be as easy as logging into your social channels. The Better Business Bureau Northwest + Pacific recommends the following tips for helping your favorite local institutions stay afloat during an increasingly turbulent time:

Promote from your platform

If you enjoyed the services and products of a business before social distancing became the new normal, let everyone know. Sharing an organization's page or adding a post on social media is an easy way to raise a profile during downtime. Even better, share your experience on a review site. BBB.org is one of several online opportunities for endorsing an outstanding business.

Refuse your refund

Many restaurants, theatres, and performance venues are doing the right thing by offering refunds to customers as a result of recent event cancellations. If it fits into your budget, say "thanks, but no thanks." Keeping those funds with the businesses goes along toward ensuring their around once social distancing is a distant memory.

Give yourself a gift card

Your ability to dine out or shop may currently be limited, but that doesn't mean to you can't prepare for the future. Purchasing a gift card to use at your favorite establishment is a great way to show support for places you love to help ensure they'll be around to enjoy later.

More tips and information for helping business owners and consumers during the coronavirus pandemic is available at: bbb-businesses.org/covid-19


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