“Crisis!” Before this week, what thoughts did that word conjure up in your mind? I never thought about a nationwide pandemic that would reach into our own little part of the world, but, none-the-less, here we are.

As a Business Coach, Motivational Speaker and Economic Development Professional I am, by nature, a positive person. I see your cup as “half full” in every interaction you and I have and then I will encourage you to be diligent in your efforts to fill your cup even further! I would like to see you spending time working ON your business so that when tough times present themselves to us you are ready to handle the adversity.

I have had many, many, conversations over the past couple of weeks about the COVID-19 virus and the current slowdown that we are being forced to endure and I must tell you that I am worried!

I’m worried about our community and I’m worried about YOUR business. It’s hard for me to even share these words in a public setting but I want you to understand how I feel. My worry doesn’t stop at bars and restaurants either! I’m worried about all of the small, local, businesses that sell retail products, provide lodging and perform services for other businesses. These businesses are suffering and not by any fault of their own. So, yes, I worry every day!

I worry about your business because you are letting employees go and you are not earning enough business to be sustainable in even the slowest of times. Your business has been cut back so drastically that you are reinventing a way to continue to serve your customers by depending on services (takeout & delivery) that previously represented a fraction of your overall operation.

I worry because you ran your business on margins so slim that you left yourself little wiggle room when it came to your ability to absorb increases in your costs. These margins are supposed to be what you put in the bank, or the rainy day fund, just in case you needed to dip into it and now you don’t have enough to dip into… if you have anything at all!

I worry because I know that some businesses, dare I say many businesses, won’t survive this downturn. Coming back from a slowdown like this will take weeks or months. Heck, we don’t even know how long this downturn is supposed to last! Each time our Governor or President steps up to the lectern it seems like they leave a trail of bad news in their wake. I worry because we are left to pick up the pieces and keep it all together! But, how do we do that?

If you haven’t started doing this yet then you must start right now. TAKE THIS PANDEMIC SERIOUSLY! This is real stuff folks and the sooner we realized that the sooner we can get over it. Stop over-buying and just get what you need from local stores! If we just buy what we need then there will be enough for everyone.

Then we take action by doing everything we can be done to support ALL local businesses. When you spend your money in LOCAL companies your money stays in our community. Local money means local benefit! It doesn’t take much to support a business but the little thing you do will make a huge difference.

Business owners. What are you doing to make your online presence visible? Can people find you online? Have you checked your website lately? Do you have a website? Can I purchase a gift card from you? Help me help your business. Take this time to look inward at your processes and adapt to the new normal.
I remember when I was a child and my mom would send me over to our next door neighbor, Dona Gabriela, to borrow a cup of sugar or to give her some fresh tortillas she had made. We were neighbors and we helped each other out. Today is no different. If some nefarious character had climbed Dona Gabriela’s back fence and tried to get into her house we would have done anything to protect her. COVID-19 is that nefarious character but he has already gotten in.

Let’s work together to help our neighbors remain safe from any further harm. Shop local, stay healthy, #dontgetitanddontspreadit, and help your neighbors. Neighbors helping neighbors is the only way we get through this.