UNDERSTANDING SMALL BUSINESS
THE SMALL BUSINESS SITUATION EXPLAINED
As we are facing an unprecedented situation around the globe, there is an abundance of uncertainty and confusion. Every human is in a different position, and some have a much harder decision when it comes to social distancing. There are people in abusive homes, homeless, living below the poverty line, living paycheck to paycheck, and more that don't have an easy way of isolating with food and comfort for a period of time.
I want to take a moment to explain just one of those difficult situations, the small business.
First things first, there are humans behind every small business. Humans who decided to sacrifice steady income jobs with benefits, to provide a better service to their community. Humans who invest their life savings and take on extreme levels of liability. Humans who create new jobs for our workforce. Over 50% of the working population works in a small business. Small businesses generated over 65% of the net new jobs since 1995.
So what's the problem? A small business cannot set it's expenses on hold, regardless of whether or not it is open. Physical and retail business expenses are extremely high and the ramifications of not covering those expenses are even higher. For a small business, a single month can make or break the business (and the humans behind it), with lasting effects.
To paint a clear picture, retail businesses generally have a lease obligation that spans 10 years (yes, 10). For my small business at <3,000 sq ft, rent costs alone are over $13,000 per month. It costs roughly $36,000-40,000 per month to keep our small business in operation, and we are lean. The bigger the space, the larger the operation, the higher the costs. Much of those costs are fixed, meaning they can't be reduced or removed. If there is no revenue coming in, then a small business owner must find ways to pay those obligations themselves (without income), or face the consequences.
One single month of an unpaid business loan can lead to a business losing all its assets and most likely its ability to operate. One month of unpaid rent can result in a default on the lease and the entire business, all the assets, all of the investment (the years of work, the financial investment, the planned future) is all lost. All staff lose their jobs. Even if the small business fails, the owner is still liable for all debts, including the remainder of the 10 year retail lease, any loans, and any other obligations. That owner also still has personal expenses. After losing the business, depending upon the debt left over, the owner is likely to lose their home and personal belongings.
We have 13 human beings on our payroll that count on paychecks. In order to get paychecks, they need work. There isn't an option for them to obtain paid leave. There are not yet appropriate measures in place to mitigate their loss over the long term. As a sole proprietor small business, we cannot afford to support them all without work or without revenue coming in. Those humans need food, to pay their personal expenses, and to know they have a future. There are 23 million sole proprietor small businesses in the US.
The hard truth is that this situation will not only last 2 weeks. There is not a clear end in sight. Other challenges outside of this virus still exist. You can still have a heart attack, you can still fall victim to any number of other diseases and issues. We want to continue to help you fight those and build better health. With all of the uncertainty, we cannot give up on our responsibilities.
All small businesses are in this situation and there are humans behind every small business. Many small businesses will not be able to weather this storm. Many have already thrown in the towel permanently, knowing they can't recover. These are not corporations. These are local citizens who invested their future in providing their community a service. It will have adverse effects on many lives.
let's talk bigger picture for a moment
When a small business cannot pay its rent, the landlord also suffers revenue loss. The landlord then may have challenges paying it's own bills and it's employees. There are many other products and services paid for by small businesses, like point of sale systems, lead generation systems, marketing, technology, construction, utilities, insurance, equipment, supplies, cleaning services, consultants, taxes, which ALL take a hit when small businesses aren't paying for them. That trickle effect of small businesses not being able to afford these services, means many of those services fail too. When all of those businesses fail, the people behind them fail their personal expenses too. This leads to a massive loss of jobs, a massive impact on lives, and a massive impact on our economy.
Government backed loans do not provide revenue back to the business, they are in fact a new liability for the business. Let's say a business generally has $40k of expenses per month and $50k of revenue, but right now is getting no revenue. This business then takes out a loan for the $40k to pay their monthly expenses for 1 month. Now they owe that $40k to the lender, plus interest. That expense didn't go away, it's just deferred. The bigger problem is that the business didn't have it's expected revenue coming in that month, so the loss is really the $50k (of revenue they should have received) plus whatever the interest rate is on the loan. There is no way to get that revenue back, that month has come and gone. Loans will definitely help many small businesses stay afloat in the short-term but they are not a total solution and every business will not be eligible.
With the anticipation of this situation continuing for several weeks to 18 months, loans will not save the small businesses.
Beyond providing jobs and stimulating the economy, small businesses drive innovation, competitive pricing, reduce monopolies, provide culture, enhance the social fabric of a community. It is safe to say that all lives are impacted by small businesses.
Please Continue to Support Your Local Small Businesses!
Purchase Gift Cards
Purchase Services that can be redeemed in the future
Keep subscriptions running, if feasible
Tip more than normal
Donate supplies to the businesses that are still operating cautiously
Write positive online reviews
Recommend the business to friends
Share the business' social media pages and tell your story
AS A SMALL BUSINESS, WE APPRECIATE YOUR SUPPORT!
PLEASE STAY HEALTHY AND SAFE!