These are difficult times. We all know it. But our strength lies in each other. I had intended to write about our recent event, The Power of Local. But little did I realize that I would be viewing the Power of Local through a different lens. After the cancellation of SXSW and the approach of the coronavirus, we are viewing everything through a different lens.

What can we do? We can collectively minimize the effects of financial losses by supporting each other. We can reduce the viral infection of our community by practicing common sense with our employees and our customers. It is natural to look to others to help us. But there is much that we can do for ourselves. We are not powerless. We have the Power of Local.

If every business, local and not, commits to purchasing what they need from local businesses, we will stabilize our local economy. I’m talking to you big corporations who call Austin home. You can decentralize your purchases of goods and services to focus on local companies that drive the community where you reside. And I’m talking to local business too. This is a time to support one another. There’s no need to spend more, spend what you need to but at local businesses.

We know how this virus spreads. We can’t totally stop it but we can slow it to a crawl by sanitizing everything. Repeatedly. You’ve heard the drill. Wash your hands, your counters, your door handles—anything people touch. Don’t touch your face for any reason. Stay home if you’re sick. Educate your employees about this.

Quell your customers’ fears by telling them what you’re doing to keep them safe. This can be as simple as a sign on your door and an email to reassure them of the steps you’ve taken. It’s up to us to create a safe environment where customers feel comfortable. Find alternatives for reaching customers. Delivery? Online shopping? Phone orders? Quick and easy pick ups? Deals? Be creative about attracting customers.

Fear has the capability to cause more damage than the real challenges facing us. Let’s eliminate it in ourselves and our employees by being proactive in prevention. Let’s calm it in our customers by assuring them that we are providing the safest environments possible.

Each of us may be one person doing what we can. But think about how many people local business reaches on a daily basis. Our collective reach is vast. Our influence and leadership is powerful. It is the Power of Local. Let’s show Austin and the country what we can do.

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