There’s no doubt about it. 2020 has been a very bizarre year so far. We only have two months left, and who knows what those two months will hold for covid and small business.
Covid and Small Business
We started out our year taking a little time off in February. After a busy Christmas season, we thought we deserved it. Little did we know how much our life would change when we left.
Our blog entry “Coronavirus and Living With Our New Normal” talks about our experience during the early covid days and our return home from that trip. We had no clue how covid would affect us and our small business.
An October 9 article from the Wall Street Journal states that “Covid is crushing small businesses.” We are too small to have received help from the small business “relief” provided by the government. We’re just a mom and pop business that gains contacts only from our website. We don’t advertise. The business is created from word of mouth and Google searches. It has worked fairly well so far in our 8 years of existence. Until covid hit.
Initial Upswing in June
Once we returned from our trip in March, we settled into a slight increase in business. People were staying home and spending more time searching the internet. This was a good thing. Or so we thought.
May gave us a slow uptick in sales. Then June exploded. Mike was working non-stop to get orders out. This might not be so bad after all.
Then July came and went. And August. Orders had dropped like a rock. The only thing we can figure out is that reality hit. People realized this was going to go on for a really long time. Time to tighten the belt and not spend money on “nice to have” things.
Shipping and Holiday Season
People have changed the way they shop. Covid and small business don’t really mix when it comes to shopping for essentials. Small businesses tend to provide products that are outside the normal use items. Amazon, Wal-Mart, Target, and the rest have now replaced the niche types of business. At least it seems that way.
We really feel for all of the small businesses out there that rely on in-store purchasing. If you aren’t one of the big guys, you’re going to find it harder to compete. Shipping around the holidays used to be pretty predictable. Now with the flood of on-line shopping taking place for both essential purchases and holiday shopping, it’s going to be dog eat dog. No promises for shipping under a week any more.
We’ve received some orders for Christmas presents, but the price tag seems to drive more of the decisions. Before it was easier to spend a little more for a custom piece of metal art. Now people are having to choose their gift giving more selectively.
Close Your Doors or Tough It Out
At this point, we’ll just keep toughing it out. We’re lucky. We don’t rely on the business to put food on the table. It’s a creative venture that provides us with more options for non-essential items. We have definitely cut back on those non-essential items though. As have many people. We know many business though that aren’t that lucky. Our local restaurants, breweries, service industry, and more are closing their doors because of Covid. Living in a cold climate only gives you so many options for some businesses in the winter.
All we can do is look to the future. And hope that things will change within a year. We don’t have much hope that it will be sooner than that. We know people are tired of the limitations we’ve had to deal with.
But we do know this. Someday we’ll look back at this time as a memory. We spent more time with family. We’ve done projects at home that would have not been done before. We learned how to be patient. All we can do is hope that this never happens again in our lifetime.
So, put your masks on when you go out. Wash your hands. Be conscientious about how you live your life so you don’t put others at risk. This too shall pass.