We’ve got a new report that says over 1.8 million of them have either temporarily or permanently closed in the second quarter because of the virus. That’s a big number. Not only almost nearly 2 million of them have closed their doors during the second quarter, but more than a third of small businesses have said that they don’t have but a month left of cash reserves. More and more are going to shut down.
We cannot afford as a country to lose small businesses. If you look at the Stanford report of the 2008 recession, small businesses led the economic recovery, especially minority ones. So here are two things, two tips that we can do for small businesses.
First of all, small business owners need to take out a blank sheet of paper and map out the new normal. What new requirements and hence new business opportunities exist now because of COVID. An example is subscription services. Who would thought that you could order a subscription service, have toilet paper delivered to your house by mail by Amazon by shipping once a month? It could be other products, food, fruits, whatever. Looking at going digital with your small business, if customers can’t come to you, you need to bring your business to them.
The second thing is that we, the rest of America, need to step up to save small businesses. As an example, the Global Entrepreneurship Network has teamed with a small business firm, and they are giving out their own $10,000 grants to small businesses to keep them alive. It’s not government money, and it’s not a loan. More people need to, especially our major corporations, need to step up. The private sector needs to save small businesses by doing programs like this. It’s incumbent upon all of us at this point to save these small businesses. We can’t afford to lose them.
We now have these mask mandates, especially on planes and pairing that with no business travel, you essentially get a dying industry. The travel industry is in deep crisis, and maybe it won’t ever rebound all the way back. The travel industry is facing three headwinds. First, is that surge in cases and the masks and especially down in the south. Second is the fact that even when you travel, there’s nothing to do when you get there at this point. More businesses closed back down in July than opened in June. These are serious issues. The third is that even when the airlines used to have the problem of trying to convince us to get on the plane. Now, they’re trying to convince us to get off the plane, because we don’t want to get quarantined on a trip. We didn’t know we were going to get stuck on and technology.
So many small business owners and big business CEOs are telling us that we will never go back to quite the amount of business travel we did before now that we have discovered online collaboration and tools like Zoom and Slack. It’s going to be a tough, long haul.