What Would Happen If Every Small Business Closed Its Doors?

by Dawn Fotopulos on November 13, 2012

It's so easy to assume you'll always have a place to send your shirts that need dry-cleaning.

How many of us assume the corner deli open 24/7 will always be there to grab that quart of milk in a pinch?

What would happen if the the long-haul truckers, heroes willing to drive cross country in every kind of weather so grapes were available in the dead of winter, decided to call it quits?

What would happen if, one day, all these small businesses simply closed their doors?

What if every, single small business owner in the U.S. threw in the towel because it just wasn't worth it anymore. The risks were too high, the costs and taxes were way too oppressive.

  • You'd have no one to unclog that drain in your bathtub. A friend of mine living in Versailles, France is still waiting for a plumber after six weeks. No I'm not kidding. Few in the U.S. can imagine that. We are so spoiled.
  • Gas stations would not exist for you to fill up at will. That's right, most gas stations are owned independently by small business owners, not large conglomerates. The gas lines after hurricane Sandy would feel like a vacation when faced with a  permanent shortage. Just ask the Russians.  
  • If your car broke down, there would be no one to repair it. Most car repair shops are owned by small businesses. When your car breaks down, that's it. It stays where it drops.
  • Your accountant wouldn't be available either when you needed to file with the IRS.
  • Tooth ache? Too bad. No dentist will be around to relieve your pain. Dentists are small businesses too.

A dear friend recently exclaimed that the new  tax levied by the "Affordable Healthcare Act" should be shouldered by small businesses out of their profits.

Why does anyone assume profits will always be there? For the record, profits don't appear by magic.  

Let's look at grocery stores

Guess how much your grocery store makes in profit for every dollar you spend there.

Go ahead. Guess.

ONE PENNY. That's right. One percent. They go through all that hassle, inventory, staffing, insurance, facilities management to bring you and me food for one, lousy, red cent. And that's without hurricanes!

Many restaurants in lower Manhattan closed their doors for good after hurricane Sandy.

Why? When the lights went out, all their raw food inventory spoiled and they were never able to recover financially. No they didn't need loans. They couldn't get them even if they wanted them.

Loans are extremely tight for small businesses. If these small businesses were large profligate banks, it would be different. But if you're a small business, there's no room for you at the inn.

Don't assume profits will always be there. Don't assume small business owners are martyrs who exist to make your life easier.

Small business owners are amazing people who take risks and make sacrifices most could never dream of. They have families to feed and bills to pay too.

Cheer small business owners.  Recognize the pressures and high risks of running a business. Celebrate small business success.

Whatever you do, don't take them for granted because one day, they may very well be gone. 







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