5 Ways To Help Small Businesses In Japan
Supporting The Community Together
Small local businesses all around the world are suffering due to the coronavirus related temporary shutdowns and stay at home warnings. Unfortunately, many of these businesses are endangered by the economic downfall and their prospect of survival also falls on us as customers to support them during these hard times. That’s the good news, we can help!
Local small businesses are essential for creating unique neighborhoods. Customers are more often satisfied by these sorts of businesses as they show a similar awareness about their communities and provide friendly customer service for all.
The Japanese government is providing every resident in Japan with a ¥100,000 stimulus package. If possible, why not put this extra cash boost towards something meaningful and economically boosting? If you’re someone who has some extra yen to spare, spend it away with love for the sake of your community. Here are five awarding ways to support your local small businesses.
1. Order products with takeaway or delivery options
Many of us are probably taking full advantage of takeaway and delivery options when it comes to premade meals, but another suggestion is to look into other local stores such as flower shops and fashion boutiques to see if they also have alternative shopping options.
Lotus Garden is a flower shop in Yamagata which delivers flower arrangements with a variety of themes all around Japan. They also provide free flower arranging lessons on their website and lesson kits for different flower themes. If you’re just after some flowers we recommend asking your local flower shop to see if they have anything available first, but if you’re wanting something specific Lotus Garden will be more than happy to provide it.
2. Buy “future tickets”, gift cards or credit for later
Buying gift cards and credits are a great way to support your local businesses whilst still getting something in return later on. Get a variety of gift cards from your local cafes and restaurants, hair salons, toy shops, hotels, and ryokans, as either a gift to your future-self or for friends and family, as we’re all in the same boat right now.
Many prefectures around Japan are selling “future tickets” for local restaurants. You can purchase these tickets for about ¥1000-¥2000 to save the prefecture’s local restaurants from going out of business and then check in the tickets at a later date when the restaurants are able to open again. To find some “future tickets” options, just type 未来チケット (mirai chiketto) in your browser!
Nipponia Hotel is offering “future tickets” for ¥20,000 which covers accommodation, meal, and drink fees for one night per person. Usually, reservations are made on a room-by-room basis, so the price has been set very reasonably. Nipponia hotel operates in a beautifully renovated old house in Wakayama, Kushimoto adjacent to the World Heritage Kumano area in the southernmost part of Honshu.
3. Support a relief crowdfund
A great way to immediately help small businesses is to simply donate cash. Have a look around at a variety of crowdfunding sites and see if you can find any local businesses you feel passionate about to support. Many of the crowdfunding sites come with great perks such as products from the company or special services depending on the amount you donate. If you’re low on cash but still want to support the crowdfund, just give the page a share instead!
Tokyo Localized is a free tour guiding service run by locals who want to show travelers what Tokyo is like as a local. Local guides take travelers around the hidden beauties of the city from the perspective of those that live and work there. With all the travel cuts worldwide they are about to go out of business and are now crowdfunding for their company and the livelihoods of their local guides. You can donate to the project and share their crowdfunding page.
4. Ask the businesses about online alternatives
Local businesses really appreciate all the words of support and communications made by their customers, even more since the internet became central in our life. If you’re unsure whether your business offers an online service or not, just ask! There is a wide range of businesses that can provide online services through videos or video conferences such as personal trainers, yoga instructors, tutors, classes for kids, therapists, and lawyers.
We introduced five English-friendly Tokyo yoga studios in the past and were happy to see that many of them are offering online classes and even some free streams. Many of the individual yoga instructors are also giving out private lessons and free tutorials from their sites and social media.
Art Bar Tokyo is also offering virtual painting sessions, where their friendly instructors will guide you and your friends through the painting process via live stream. If you don’t have any painting materials at home, Art Bar can send you a special paint package 1-2 days prior to the session with everything you need.
5. Share information about local businesses on your social media
As the majority of us are all stuck at home, it can be assumed that we are spending a little more time online and on social media than usual. Why not show your support to all your favorite small businesses and local communities by sharing about them on your social media pages? It’s as easy as snapping a photo of your takeaway meal or cute handmade accessory you bought from them and sharing it with your friends and family.
Next time you’re going out for a grocery run or preparing for an online shopping spree, first seek out your local small businesses. There are so many great and unique products and services out there on offer, and wouldn’t it just feel so much better to know that you’ve participated in keeping your community strong and successful? We think so, and hope you do too!
If you are a small business owner currently struggling during the coronavirus outbreak, feel free to comment about your services down below!