Did you see the new employment numbers today? There’s some pretty encouraging data—although I share the sentiments of others when I say that we should never have had to wait so long and watch things get so bad before we saw this turn for the better.
One commentator said it well: “I don’t know whether to be happy or furious about this jobs report. To me it is absolute proof that this whole nightmare of the last three months was utterly pointless—a ghastly intervention imposed via violence. Now we have a bit of freedom and look what freedom can do.”
I was talking with my kids the other day about the effect that these lockdowns have had on small businesses. Did you know that just in the state of New York more than 100,000 businesses have been forced into permanent closure because of the COVID-19 related lockdowns? Governor Cuomo even admitted that minority-owned businesses have been hit the hardest and are the most at risk to never recover from the state’s forced closures.
The degree of disconnect with that guy just gets more and more unbelievable with each new crisis.
My kids and I were discussing the reasons that small businesses are especially vulnerable when some central authority takes it upon themselves to decide—and then mandate—which businesses are allowed to operate and which are not. Even with the government’s tens of billions allocated to help small businesses through PPP grants, it is expected that nearly half of all small businesses will fail to reopen once mandatory closure orders are lifted.
Part of the problem, of course, was the (unsurprising) failure of the PPP grants themselves. It will probably be years before we finally untangle all the ways that this particular program was mismanaged and abused, but what we have learned is that,
One [study], conducted by analysts from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, indicated that fewer small businesses had successfully obtained PPP loans in regions experiencing more severe ramifications of the pandemic than in others. The study used New York, New Jersey, Michigan and Pennsylvania as examples, noting that less than 20 percent of small businesses in New York had been approved for PPP funding compared to 55 percent in Nebraska.
This is just another example of government creating a problem, trying to implement a solution, and in turn creating more problems. No matter how many times they fail, those in government still don’t seem to be able to grasp the truth that the central planning of lives and economies simply cannot succeed. It never has. It never will.
Kids never cease to surprise me with their innate ability to absorb bad news and immediately find ways to make the best of it, or find a silver lining. And so it was as my kids and I wrapped up our lesson on paying rent and utilities and keeping supply chains intact, and the struggle that small businesses have in finding people who even want to work once they are allowed to open up again—because so many people are earning more on COVID-unemployment than they would be if they went back to work. Don’t even get me started on that…
One of them said, “Even though it’s awful that so many businesses were forced to close, it could be an exciting time for people who have new business ideas that they want to try out!” My kids are perennial entrepreneurs—their ideas for new business ventures are only limited by my willingness to provide transportation and sometimes some startup capital. Last year during football season—and despite the fact that we aren’t even a sports family—they made a haul going around to people’s houses and putting out all their gameday decorations in the mornings and then neatly putting it all away later that night.
As much as I wish that we weren’t even in this situation—that we weren’t actually faced with the reality of possibly millions of people not unlike me and my family being forced to accept that the government truly closed their businesses and forced them to lose it all—I also recognize that at some point we are going to have to get down to the business of planning for what we are going to do next.
It’s easy to look at all the massive failures and usurpations of rights and downright tyrannical actions of so-called leaders from the federal level all the way down to city commissioners and local law enforcement and get lost in the injustice of it all. After all, these actions can absolutely be viewed with righteous anger. They were—and continue to be—wrong, and those responsible should answer for what they have done. I hope as the dust settles and life begins to return to normal, that we will see citizens challenge the legality of what the government has done to their lives and their businesses.
I also know that no one ever got ahead by looking backward, and as hard as it is to think about right now, I think my kids might be onto something. When our cities and towns begin to open again, they aren’t going to look like they did before the shutdowns—maybe even less so now that so many businesses have suffered massive damage from riots which added insult to the injury of many already struggling to stay afloat.
If the dire projections are true, and we emerge from this with half as many small businesses in our communities, there will inevitably be those who decide that now is the time to finally try to make something of the business idea that they’ve kept tucked away as nothing but a dream for so long. Historically, as dark times draw to a close, a new era of creativity and enlightenment emerges.
Perhaps this can become such a time.
The other day I came across this comment on the Tuttle Twins social media:
My kids are reading these as part of their summer reading program. My kids chose the books, not the school, and after they read one on entrepreneurship (The Tuttle Twins and their Spectacular Show Business) my daughter and two friends started a business walking dogs in our neighborhood—they earned $65 the first day! My son and his two friends started a lawn care business, and they earned $120 on their first day. Great books!
The world is in upheaval. It’s easy to feel out of control or even hopeless, but I know from my own experience that sometimes when it feels like we don’t know what we can count on, or when we feel like we don’t have a clear view of what the future will bring, it is helpful to plan for how we want things to look—and then start taking the steps to make that our reality.
Sometimes I think of how cool the world would be if we never lost the ability to see the silver linings like we did when we were kids—to recognize how terrible something is, but then try to find ways to make it less-terrible. The world is going to come back into balance. Cities are going to rebuild, and new businesses—new dreams realized—are going to replace those that have sadly disappeared. I like to think that this Tuttle Twins community—possibly more than any other—is full of the kinds of people who are going to help fill empty buildings and storefronts with unique ways to serve their fellowman.
If you find yourself becoming more entrepreneurial minded, I’d love to hear your ideas. Are your kids doing awesome things with their time and talents this summer? Shoot me an email, or tag me or The Tuttle Twins on social media! It’s always inspiring to listen to people share their hopes and dreams—and heaven knows we could all use a little extra inspiration these days!