Entrepreneurs and business owners tend to be self-sufficient – “get government out of the way so that we can innovate and grow.” We here at the CBJ are filled with admiration for that independent spirit, which also fuels much of free enterprise.
The same independent spirit, unfortunately, might make business owners reluctant to seek the help they need in times of crisis, and this coronavirus pandemic is indeed a crisis. What it has shown us so far is unlike anything anyone has seen in generations. It has sent shockwaves through financial markets, the economy and our medical system.
We encourage small business owners and their managers who are feeling stressed and desperate to seek the help they might need from a medical professional or, at the very least, from a peer. Keeping stress bottled up is not a healthy way to get through something as foreboding as this.
When a natural disaster or severe weather takes place, neighbors are encouraged to check on the elderly and homebound individuals.
As this calamity is bound to grow over the next several weeks, we’re hopeful that small business owners whose business model is under strain will use and accept this same approach.
Government’s vital role
As much as we appreciate the self-sufficiency of private enterprise, government has a vital role to play in times of economic distress and natural disaster. This is one of those times.
We were heartened to see our federal leaders working in a somewhat bipartisan manner to provide relief to individuals, small businesses and a variety of industries, because few will go through this crisis unscathed.
We need to do everything to prevent this calamity from devolving into a prolonged economic downturn in which businesses fail because markets dry up. To each of those businesses are linked livelihoods, hopes and dreams. When they fail, personal tragedies and social maladies are sure to follow.
What you can do
What can be done during this dark period when you can’t go dine in at your favorite restaurant, see a play or even interact in person with colleagues?
The first step we suggest is to stay informed, so that you can make decisions based on complete and reliable information. We at the CBJ will be doing our best to help shed light on what’s happening in the Corridor and share some of the great stories like the partnership between Eco Lips and Cedar Ridge Winery to provide free hand cleanser to the public or Integrated DNA Technologies’ herculean efforts to create millions of coronavirus test kits.
We were also impressed with the Iowa City Area Business Partnership’s effort to work with one of its members, CHOMP Delivery, to provide unlimited free delivery from all restaurants on CHOMP in the Iowa City and Cedar Rapids area through the end of April. This could be a life raft for struggling restaurants if restrictions become prolonged.
The next several weeks will be challenging. Let’s do what we can as a business community to support and be there for one another. •