It’s Time to be Champions for Our Local Small Businesses
We all know how uncertain these times have been—that is not what I intend to harp on here. In fact, I’d rather shift the attention to something I am certain about, which is that our small businesses need us to be champions for them now more than ever. What is happening to our local economy is frightening, and I’m not talking about big corporations. Yes, they have been hit too, but they will bounce back. We’re looking at multiple local businesses—the mom and pop shops—that will have to permanently close their doors because of the hard hit they took during COVID and the strenuous restrictions that have followed. When our small businesses fail, we fail as a community. We can’t let this happen.
Small business owners invest more than money into their business. For many, their business is who they are—their livelihood is ingrained in their DNA. Small business owners have a lot more at stake than a CEO of a large corporation in the sense that their customers and employees are far more than just that to them. In addition, closing shop means a small business owner can’t support themselves or their families, and they can’t pay for things like car payments, mortgages, childcare, or college tuition. The ripple effect seen here is a very heartbreaking one.
Strategist Denada Ramnishta, in an article published in Medium, notes that when you zoom out, those individual losses of small business owners will result in towns and cities looking drastically different in the future. Unfortunately, that means losing important lifelines to our communities, and to each other. Just think about how different Omaha will look in five years if we lose half or even a quarter of the small businesses that make up our city. I’m talking about nail salons, restaurants, mechanics, bookstores, wedding venues, dance studios, boutiques, art galleries…you name it!
According to the SBA, small businesses are the macroeconomy’s backbone—the lifeblood of America. There are around 30 million small businesses across the country, accounting for 99% of all business establishments in the U.S. These businesses are responsible for more than 41% of net job creation, 45% of GDP, and 34% of all U.S. exports. These numbers just emphasize even more so the importance of protecting our small businesses throughout the pandemic. The Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings gathered data from March 13 to April 25 to show the average percentage change in revenue per state compared to early January before the pandemic hit. Nebraska is shown to have an average revenue loss of nearly 40%. I’ve personally spoken with individual local business owners and some have lost up to 80%! No business can operate for long under that kind of deficit. I’m a small business owner myself, and I can tell you firsthand how scary this is.
Think about our downtown businesses—the ones that rely on events and game days for the majority of their revenue. Think about the breakfast nook in your neighborhood that depends on foot traffic to stay afloat. Think about the local drycleaner that is now twiddling their thumbs because so many people are working from home and aren’t socializing on the weekends.
More than just buying local, we have to urge our government to keep businesses open to protect the overall quality of life and freedoms we share. It’s time to wake up and really look at what is happening. Don’t stop living your life, but do so safely. Our small businesses and the welfare of our community depend on it.
I want to end this by saying thank you to our clients who have stuck with us even though we’re all struggling to get by, our readers who support Strictly Business by supporting the businesses we promote, and my staff for the enthusiasm and dedication they bring to the office each day. We will continue to adapt and serve our advertising partners the best we can, small and big businesses alike. We all have a stake in this, and we are all crucial to the success of our community.
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