Small businesses have definitely had a lot to deal with over this past year-and-a-half. Since March 2020, many have suffered from lockdowns, stay-at-home orders and restricted gatherings. While no-one has managed to avoid challenges during this time, it seems financially that this particular demographic has possibly suffered the most.
According to a recent article on the subject, the first thing we have to remember anyway is that America’s business demographic is made up of 99.9% small businesses. Of those working in the private sector, a little less than half work for these firms. Closure of these businesses is currently 34 percent (compared to January of 2020) and San Francisco has been severely impacted with a rate much higher than that of 48%. Experts are now discussing a K-shaped recovery but with these numbers, that could be slowed down as well.
Despite all of this, people’s spirits are still strong and there is much work that is being done to turn this around. For example, while there is a national Small Business Day held in November, New Jersey had one last month. NFIB New Jersey (New Jersey’s leading small business association) held its Small Business Day on May 5 2021 and discussed a variety of issues relating to the devastation small businesses have encountered and what they need the state to do. One action is aid to provide the $1bn lost from New Jersey’s Unemployment Fund since the start of the pandemic. To do this, liability protection laws must be passed for small business owners and of course, re-opening the economy.
Joe Olivo, NFIB member and a local small business owner further explained:
“I know I am not speaking just for myself when I say that the past 13 months have been among the most challenging I have faced in the 33 years that I have been at the helm of my business. Many of the Executive Orders coming from the Governor have made the cure worse than the disease. Many of our political leaders and the media continue to lump all business together as though we are all multi-national corporations. Fortunately, NFIB provides us a way to collectively voice our opinion regarding legislation that is often detrimental to not just our businesses, but to the millions of people we collectively employ.”
According to New Jersey’s NFIB State Director, Eileen Kean, the recent Small Business Day provided a “wonderful opportunity for our small business owners to engage with their legislators…[who] need to hear from real people that are being affected by what they do in Trenton.”
Yes, much work still needs to be done but the fact that days like this are being held – in which legislators can really hear what the people need – is a good start.