December 03, 2020
December 03, 2020
It’s easy to forget, but small-business optimism was historically strong heading into 2020.
COVID-19, of course, changed things. Social distancing meant retailers and restaurants had to change how they did business. Some had little choice but to close temporarily, and some of those businesses will never reopen.
That’s why we need to shop local on Small Business Saturday and throughout the holiday season.
Small Business Saturday, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, was created 10 years ago in response to another crisis, the Great Recession. The goal was to get people to bypass the national chains on the first weekend of the shopping season and support locally-owned stores and restaurants.
And it worked. Last year, Americans spent a record $19.6 billion on Small Business Saturday, according to a survey from American Express and my association, the National Federation of Independent Business.
We need to try to keep the momentum going.
Small business owners are doing everything they can to get through this, but it won’t be easy.
NFIB surveyed its members nationwide last month and found that 19 percent of them think they’ll have to close in seven months to a year unless the local economy improves; 15 percent said three to six months, while 3 percent warned they might be able to last only a month or two.
And when we asked how long they thought their businesses could survive under current economic conditions, 19% said seven months to a year, while 15% said three to six months and 3% said they might have to close in a month or two.
We can’t afford to let that happen.
Small business is the heart and soul of Illinois’ economy, accounting for 99.6 percent of all businesses in the state and a net increase of 20,410 jobs statewide in 2019, according to the Small Business Administration.
We need small businesses, and small businesses need us.
NFIB is asking Congress to approve additional financial assistance for small businesses, but there are little things you and I can do that can make a big difference:
Supporting local shops and restaurants throughout the holiday season and beyond will lessen the financial impact this outbreak is having on our communities.
Small business is the engine that drives our economy, so, when we help small businesses, we help everyone.
Mark Grant is the Illinois state director of the National Federation of Independent Business.