I am sure that I do not stand alone when I say it is a scary time for small business owners. Hell, it is a scary time for everyone, but I am not speaking for everyone right now. I am speaking on behalf of the small business owner. The small business owner that fought, stressed, sweated, and probably bled to get their business to where it is today. Only to be forced to close their doors in the name of social responsibility. Now, I am not here to argue for or against social responsibility. I simply want to illustrate that doors are closing on businesses everywhere, and it is not because of bad business decisions on the part of the owners.
I know first hand what it is like to sacrifice for the dream of owning your own business. Too often, like many others, staring down the barrel of an electric bill, a car payment, or a mortgage, that needs to be paid, and being totally unsure of where the money will come from.
I know first hand, like all of you, that owning your own business comes at a high cost to you, your family, and your personal life.
But we pay that cost don’t we? We pay it daily with long hours and high blood pressure. We pay it nightly with little sleep and poor eating habits. We pay it and we pay it gladly. We pay it because we have a dream that maybe it will not always be so hard, or that maybe, just maybe, we can build something of our own to pass on to our kids. We have a dream and we are willing to pay the price. So we work, and we sacrifice, and we hope, man do we hope. We hope that business picks up, and we hope that our customers will let us charge more someday, we hope they stay with us, we hope we can pay our bills on time, and if we are in the hospitality business we hope we can string together a busy Friday and Saturday night. We hope for so many things.
And here we are, our hope is gone. Lights are dim, doors are locked, and our dreams are dying.
I would like to say that this is a call to arms. It sounds so righteous to say it like that, but this is not a call to arms, there is no enemy in sight.
This is a plea, and not for me. This is a plea on behalf of every restaurant, massage therapist, gym, yoga studio, contractor, or anyone else that you would normally spend money with but are not doing so because of our current “crisis”. This plea is for them. They need your help.
They need your help but not in the form of charity or some silly bailout. All they need you to do is to do what you have always done, buy from them. I understand you cannot go to their gym or eat in their restaurant but you can still find a way to give them money for products/services they can in turn give to you. Be creative! Your trainer, pay them to devise that meal plan you’ve been thinking about. Should be easier to stick to during isolation, maybe do a virtual training session. That restaurant? Get to go orders or buy a gift certificate. Move forward with that renovation by signing (virtually) that contract and put down a deposit. Look for ways to keep the economy moving and support local small business owners. It may not be easy but it is 100% necessary, and 100% worth it. After all, these are your neighbors, your friends, your family. I am willing to bet that when you need them they are there for you. Well, now it’s your turn.