Small businesses think outside the box to survive shutdown

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BROOKLYN, N.Y. (CBS) Companies of all sizes are struggling to survive the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak, but the loss of business is particularly hard for the smallest companies, artists and makers.

Courtney Spritzer is co-CEO of Socialfly. She says it's important for small companies to keep in touch with their customers on social media during the shutdown.

"Your loyal customers will want to support you, to make sure that when you do go back into the world you are a business that they can go to and buy from," she said.

Spritzer points to the snack company Whisps which has offered free products to people who follow them on Instagram. They're also giving 500,000 snacks to health care workers.

Renee Harris runs a small business out of her home in New York. She makes and sells natural spa products. Harris is using social media to offer free shipping on her website.

"It is hard, it's going to be a challenge, but I am trying to be optimistic and use the time to rev up inventory for when things come back," she said.

Harris usually sells her goods at the "Artists and Fleas" marketplace with several locations. As a nonessential business, the "Artists and Fleas" physical market locations remain closed. "Artists and Fleas" is trying to keep sellers and buyers engaged by hosting a "virtual market" on Instagram every day. They offer a variety of items from clothes to crafts.

"It's a nice way of supporting local, telling a story, and having a keepsake," said Ronen Glimer, the co-founder of "Artists and Fleas."

The U.S. Small Business Association is also working to support small businesses through a paycheck protection program, debt relief and express bridge loans.