Upon our founding last summer, we proactively condemned the extensive government mandates and regulations surrounding COVID, saying that such extreme measures did not remediate the virus to the extent they believed and also stressing the likely damage to the business community. Sadly, we were right. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 18.74% of establishments in the United States closed down due to government mandates and regulations related to COVID (2021, Business Response Survey to the Coronavirus Pandemic).
This is exactly why we advocate for the small business community. The writing was on the wall for this to happen upon the various governments passing and enforcing the overly burdensome mandates and regulations. These mandates and regulations hurt small businesses, they hurt the backbone of our economy. Just as we said from the beginning, yes, the virus was serious and using caution was the right decision. However, being safe/cautious and running a business are not mutually exclusive – they can and do go together.
First and foremost, decision makers and leaders should consult small businesses (with fewer than 20 employees) before passing any type of mandate or regulation. These small businesses are the ones that mandates and regulations often impact most and given their importance in our communities and economy, their views and insights should be sought before finalizing any major economic mandate. It is common sense. Too often the small business is ignored and this must end.
Moreover, as small business owners know, we must all be proactive in our efforts. When we are proactive, we have a higher likelihood of success, even in a pandemic. For example, in the midst of the shutdown in San Diego, California, a strip club managed kept its doors open, while businesses and churches shutdown, and the judicial system allowed them to stay open when governments confronted the club because this club took proactive action and had a detailed plan to keep their employees and customers safe (White, 2021). How did a club manage to keep its doors open while small, mom-and-pop businesses and churches closed down? This is the moral of the story: as a small business owner, take control of the situation and look into the future, not the rearview mirror. Patience is, in fact, a virtue, but waiting for vision and leadership is dangerous. As a small business owner, you have great influence, and it is up to you to look into the future and lead your organization into the vision you wish it to become. We are in the exact same situation with COVID and government mandates: be proactive and lead your organization into a system where you and your team will thrive.
In summary, it is an absolute shame that our own government forced a huge number of small businesses to close through mandates and regulations – it is an unacceptable tragedy. Being pragmatic, however, we small business owners must take the situation into our own hands. We need to set up the systems and processes so that when we are told to shut down to be safe, we can illustrate that we are, in fact, safe and thus free to operate. Indeed, doing so requires careful thought, time, and effort, but it is our responsibility as small business owners.
John M. Beaman
President, The McGraw Council Membership, Inc.
(2021). Business response survey to the coronavirus pandemic. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Bls.gov. Retrieved from BRS Charts : U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov)
White, J. N. (2021). Pandemics are the problem – church leadership is the solution. John-N-White.com. John-n-white.com. Retrieved from Managing Indoor Air Quality to Keep America Open – John N. White (john-n-white.com)