Despite Gov’t Obstacles, American Entrepreneurs Find a Way
The maze of restrictions, regulations, and lockdowns has killed small business. Yet there’s hope.
Several recent reports show just how much damage government policies in the age of COVID-19 have done to small businesses and American workers, but also the resilience of the American people to innovate and overcome obstacles in their pursuit of success.
It has long since become obvious that draconian government lockdowns and mandates have done far more damage to the American people than the coronavirus has, especially with the arbitrary nature of the restrictions. Democrat governors and mayors have shut down countless thousands of small businesses with their burdensome, expensive restrictions, while allowing the facilities of big corporations to remain open and running.
The unfairness of these policies was captured in a viral video of California restaurant owner Angela Marsden, who saw her business crippled by Governor Gavin Newsom’s restrictions on restaurants, bars, and other small businesses. In response, she spent thousands of dollars setting up an outdoor dining area, only to have government bureaucrats shut her down anyway.
Even worse, though, was watching a video production’s craft services (food provider) set up just yards from her restaurant, allowed to operate despite being set up in the same way as Marsden’s restaurant.
Hers was a microcosm of the problem. Small business revenue plummeted by more than a third in calendar year 2020, according to Harvard University’s Economic Tracker, and about 30% of American small businesses closed for good.
Even more worrisome is that, according to Alignable, a networking group for small businesses, at least 13.9 million U.S. small businesses, about 44% of America’s 31.7 million total, are at risk of shutting down by April 1 as projected revenues fall short of covering expenses.
As one business owner surveyed by Alignable explained, “Customer confidence in their future cash flow is low right now. … And so discretionary spending, which our business is based on, is significantly restricted. We need customer confidence to elevate to bring them back and make them feel comfortable spending their money.”
Thanks to these overbearing restrictions, the U.S. economy contracted by 3.5% in 2020, the worst economic performance since the 1940s.
Small businesses are being crushed by government lockdowns and forced to make expensive upgrades to facilities to meet new COVID mandates and restrictions, all while government continues to actively discourage Americans from going out in public.
And at a time when small businesses are barely staying afloat, Democrats continue to push their economically illiterate $15/hour minimum wage, which would devastate small businesses where profit margins are already thin. For these businesses, where labor costs make up a large portion of their expenses, such an increase would be a death knell.
Of course, huge corporations like Walmart and Amazon are making record revenues and profits, willing and able to absorb increased labor costs, knowing it will eliminate smaller competitors. It’s no coincidence these huge corporations are both big political donors and support the proposed increase to the minimum wage.
Yet through it all, the American entrepreneurial spirit perseveres and finds a way to stay alive.
Since March 2020, when widespread lockdowns began to be implemented, an astonishing 4.4 million new businesses have been started in the U.S.
That might seem counterintuitive, but for many it is a matter of necessity. Millions of Americans suddenly found their employers forced to close their doors, prevented from operating, or allowed to operate in theory but only under restrictions so burdensome that in reality they could not continue running.
Faced with mounting bills and reduced or no income, these American entrepreneurs took their talents and started their own businesses, often turning hobbies into money-making ventures.
One 27-year-old San Diego woman taught herself how to make scented candles last summer during the city’s lockdowns, but what started out as a hobby making gifts for friends and family developed into a new business.
She was able to find legal and marketing materials online that allowed her to get her business running in less than a month. “I still have so much to learn,” she admitted, “but I think it is amazing that with very little entrepreneurial or ecommerce background, anyone can start a business if you have the drive, the resourcefulness to find the technology that works for you.”
The number of businesses created to sell goods and services online has doubled in the last year.
Even in the best of times, starting a business is a challenging proposition. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 20% of all new businesses fail within their first year, and 50% of new businesses fail by the end of the fifth year.
Add to that the ongoing, draconian, and largely unscientific restrictions and mandates by know-it-all politicians and bureaucrats, and the uphill climb becomes even steeper.
All the more reason for us to support our friends, family, and neighbors in these start-up ventures, 35% of which the U.S. Census Bureau categorizes as “likely employers.” If those predictions come to fruition, it would mean millions of new jobs added back to the economy to offset the current 9.5 million job deficit as compared to pre-pandemic levels.
What would also be helpful would be for government to end the lockdowns, lift unnecessary regulations and restrictions, stop threatening to double labor rates on small businesses, and, most of all, just get out of the way and let the American people do what they do best.
Overcome. Build. Innovate. Thrive.
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