Small businesses are facing a major challenge. The federal government has picked winners and losers. The winners are big business. Wal-Mart stays open selling clothing, books and anything you might want. The local clothing store must close. Home Depot stays open selling carpet, but the locally owned stores that sell carpet and flooring are deemed not essential and had to close.
The capitalist, small business-loving USA is giving its small businesses less support than a number of socialist countries are giving their small businesses. But our federal and state governments left the giants like Target, Best-Buy, Michaels, Wal-Mart and Home Depot wide open for business to sell anything they want.
Hey, I’m in favor of Wal-Mart, Michaels and Target making money. But why can’t small business be allowed to make money, too?
Almost all of us are in favor of social distancing so we don’t overwhelm our hospitals. But the businesses taking it on the chin from social distancing are locally owned small businesses. What has our government done for small business? No doubt, small business support programs are in the recently passed Federal bill.
But the government assistance to locally owned small business is the equivalent of giving a man in the desert, days from the oasis, a glass of water and saying, “You small business owners are smart and resourceful and will just have to figure it out.”
D-R Media is biased in favor of small business, I’ll freely admit. We believe there are no cool towns with personality unless you have cool local businesses with personality in those towns. We don’t want our cute small downtowns hollowed out again because the federal government favored big business over small business in this crisis.
Even if a small business opens for business May 1, there is something called a sales pipeline. If you are an clothing store, competing against Target’s clothing department, first you need to let everyone know you are reopening. Then you must try as best you can to regather your employee team.
But unless a customer is out of clothes, a potential customer doesn’t buy an outfit on day one. Customers come in and shop. Compare prices across different stores and eventually buy an outfit. It will take weeks and months to get a store fully back to normal revenue after reopening.
At D-R Media, we are actively thinking about how to help small businesses get back in business once the crisis is over. During the crisis, we are trying to donate one million dollars of free, no-strings-attached, advertising space to local merchants to get the word out about the status of their businesses. What are some ideas we could do for locally owned small business owners when the crisis is over?
We are a fifth-generation Florida family and care a great deal about the communities our papers serve. I am the owner. Please let me know what you think.