There are small businesses and human beings on Main Street trying to stay afloat. Despite the rhetoric, there are people suffering. This is not a game. We are open for business, yes, but being open is not the same as actually being in business and growing our businesses.
Perfectly good businesses are suffering. Closing. Worried.
Smart business owners who have done massive shifting because of this GLOBAL pandemic (and let’s face it, anyone who is trying to keep a business afloat during a global pandemic is a smart business owner), are watching their numbers and watching the winter season fast approaching.
It is not that we are not trying. It is not that we haven’t tried to reinvent, reignite, reengineer.
It is just so confusing. The news is confusing. Depending on the state you find yourself living in is confusing, (figuratively and literally),.
With almost 300,000 deaths in our country alone, over one million world wide, this crisis can’t be denied. And world wide is what we must remember. This is a GLOBAL crisis, not only a national one. This pandemic has become both divisive and politicized which has made this a national crisis on top of another crisis adding even more salt to an open wound.
This is not a game. The political disruption ‘out there’ is not what is happening on the streets of our small towns in our small businesses. I keep waiting for our politicians, any politicians, to acknowledge the real trauma small businesses are facing.
The immediacy of help in the beginning of this pandemic was a lifeline, but that was when we thought we would be opening up and getting our businesses moving again.
My particular business is the beauty business which is a broad label. My beauty business, the industry I have loved since I was a teenager, doesn’t have one booming voice like the restaurant or the tourism industry. It should for sure, but that would mean our industry would have to face the fact that within it we too are divided.
We are not a highly regulated industry, the way our businesses run differs from state to state, and business owner to business owner. There are so many varying degrees of compensation in our businesses that it is no wonder we have not a single voice.
And add to this, the moving parts of categories that go under the umbrella of “beauty” and “personal services,” it is not surprising that we are not a more focused association.
Hair cutting, coloring, braiding, nails, feet, med spas, facials, hair removal, eye lash extensions, massage, makeup, bridals and weddings, and on top of this any or all can be combined under one roof or many separate ones. Our gyms and fitness studios are running into an even worse situation with pauses and shutdowns in one state. Customers from the closed states are flocking to their neighborhood states to get their gym workouts in. It is maddening.
This leads to where we are right now as a service industry.
Tired. We are all tired. Like all small businesses doing shift after shift to get through increments of time so that when this is over we are all still standing.
So that our life’s work is still standing.
Politicians are so busy focusing on saying NO to the other side. They don’t appear to be losing sleep over being able to meet payroll or pay the rent to an unforgiving landlord. Politicians are still get their weekly paychecks. They don’t seem to be up at night worrying if they filled the requirements of the PPP loan so that it is money easily forgiven rather than become a burdensome loan.
Here is what I would recommend for immediate help for business owners and their employees who have seen their paychecks go from a good livelihood to a paltry paycheck.
Automatically forgive any business owner who borrowed less than 100,000 for a PPP. We are trying to stay afloat, the paperwork and time to get this forgiven could so easily make for a gesture from our government that could make our lives easier.
If any business was given an EIDL loan for less than 150,000, forgive that too. We don’t need more debt. We need more help.
Look at the w2-s of the employees who are back to work and who went from full time to part time not because they don’t want to work, but because there is less work than there was before. Make up the difference for them in their unemployment checks. Cap it at an amount and make this happen as soon as possible.
While the house and the senate continue to argue, and are headed off for their holiday breaks, while the current President of the United States brags about the stock market growth, while almost 300,000 people have died, Main Street is suffering. The stock market is not Main Street.
Sure, many of us will get through the holidays, but January and February lurk in our minds every day when we wake up and every night before we go to bed. For many of us who in our past lives tend to be optimistic, optimism almost seems vintage these days. Let’s just all be realistic and pragmatic here. I am confident that many businesses will be able to stay through this tsunami, but we need more help and we need to know that our leaders are seriously strategizing instead of playing us as pawns in some twisted political chess game.
The stress of trying to remain calm is real.
We need our government to help us. NOW. Not later. Later is too frightening. This is not a game.
If you know someone in politics, please share this with them.