For many business owners coming to terms with the idea that their business has been deemed non-essential strikes at the core of their being. Some may feel it is a shot at the spirit of entrepreneurship. Others may feel a personal hit to their own self-worth. All are certainly taking a direct financial hit. Without question, this pandemic is a global crisis, a scary situation, and one that requires that everyone act responsibly. Business owners recognize the importance of complying with the law, following the orders from government leaders, and protecting customers and employees.
The reality is that small businesses drive the economy. Collectively small business employs more Americans than any other sector. Small businesses are taxpaying, community building, mission-critical machines that must be protected and allowed to prosper. Many have already been battered by an endless barrage of threats to their existence, including marketplace attacks from big-box stores, mass-retailers, and global e-commerce. The government hasn’t helped either. Although recent changes in tax laws were just starting to have a positive effect on the small business community it came too late. Through decades of bad policy, big-government spending, excessive regulation, increased profit and payroll taxes, and cumbersome health-care mandates it was arguably already the most challenging environment for small businesses in a generation. And that was before the pandemic.
Every small business is absolutely essential. The products and services local entrepreneurs provide, from hair salons to restaurants to art galleries, are essential. Every entity that opens its doors to serve the community and employ its citizens is essential. Small business owners discover the challenge in starting and running a business often initially means working more hours for less pay than being employed by someone else. Communities across America are just now starting to realize how important local businesses are. Many are coming to understand that locally-owned service and retail business might have been taken for granted. Government leaders are about to get a loud and alarming wake-up call when they realize there is no way to fund public services or keep government functioning without the payroll taxes and consumption tax dollars collected and paid by small businesses.
Right now the responsible course of action for every business owner is to follow the orders and directives from government leaders and experts in healthcare. However, it is clear that there needs to be a day where small business owners reconcile with those who have declared some businesses non-essential. Soon those who have made that declaration will discover just how essential all businesses are, both those deemed essential and non-essential. Soon it will be clear that any entity that was created in the entrepreneurial spirit to serve the community, provide employment, generate a return for the owner, and then ultimately pay taxes is absolutely essential. It must be recognized that any individual who has the passion and spirit to keep an enterprise going through this even when told they are non-essential is a miracle worker and a silent hero. Let’s hope that acknowledgment, like the end of this pandemic, comes sooner rather than later.