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How has COVID-19 impacted your ability to launch or sustain your business?
Welcome to the AARP Online Community! In conjunction with the Make Your Move entrepreneurship contest, now through September 30th, we are joined by Business Leader Keith Hall @KeithH119895. Please ask your questions by reply post below—all are encouraged to participate!
COVID-19, and the resulting impact to the economy, has affected all of us in some form. From job losses to business closures, the impact has been devastating for many. Our first topic of discussion is meant for participants to share the challenges and opportunities they have experienced as a result of COVID-19. Our goal is to identify similar experiences, solutions to challenges and explore best practices to opening and growing a business.
How has COVID-19 impacted your ability to launch or sustain your business?
I am 65 yrs old with over 35 yrs medical experience on many areas.
My desire is more help for the elderly or geriatrics.
We assume are elderly population are up on technology, esp in regard to their health.
Based on many years of caregiving, and teaching adult students this is not the case.. I love education.
The more information the patient knows and can share with their health care provider, the better end results for everyone..
Thanks for your post and thanks even more for your long term commitment to providing qualify health care. I know you have made a difference for thousands of people. I agree with the challenge of technology for older adults who grew up without the level of emphasis that we have today. Many of us began our careers without a computer on our desks and the challenge of keeping up continues to be difficult.
It is weird to say these days that "this new technology" will change everything since we are living in a time that it seems like each day brings a need for an "upgrade". We continue to see new options that we never even imagined. I choose to take at least one positive from this pandemic in that it has forced many of us to embrace some of these new technologies. Only 6 months ago many of us thought "Zoom" was just the word you used with playing Hot Wheels with your grandson, but now it has become a standard for communication and staying in touch. It is my wish that we will look back on this time and see a marked change in the universal acceptance of new and improved technologies for all of us, including older Americans. (Like ME, by the way)
The increased availability of health care and health care related communication is an area that can greatly benefit from that new awareness. It is my hope that your influence and your expertise can be more readily shared in this new America.
Thanks again for your post, and keep up the good work.
My name is Rill and I'm in the process of creating a digits campaign. I believe as a business owner you have to adapted to current situations, execute a plan (test) and keep moving forward.
All the best,
Designer/Intimacy Coach, Author
Rill Nice/ Seductive Art/ Quickie
Thanks for your post and I so so so agree. Building a plan and then sticking to it, even if you have to pivot and adjust from time to time, is critical for long term success. One of my favorite things about small business owners in general is that level of commitment and perseverance that sets them apart from the average American.
I think your message to small business about "moving forward" is also critical. Thanks for taking time to post your thoughts and keep up the good work. Never forget that over 70% of all new jobs come from small business owners just like you!!
Hey @ShawnT466735 :
It certainly doesn't help, but you are not alone. So many small businesses are struggling to keep afloat. I so so hope that the lessons we learn though this process will be worth the price we all paid.
I would be interested in your opinion on the "outdoors" industries. I have heard from many small business owners who have attempted to convert to more "outdoor" meetings and services. Those that were already in the outdoors are still struggling as all of us are. Do you see your markets recovering faster than others??? I guess there is some logic in that presumption, but "logic" is another of those relied upon factors that seems to be in question these days....Hahaha.
Interested in your response.
All the best,
The pandemic has definitely had impacts. On the positive side, I've had more time at home to devote to my business (a pet supplies online business I started in mid-February right before the pandemic hit hard) and more potential customers are now at home and online, too. I do some email prospecting and have an admittedly small presence on eBay, Facebook, and Instagram plus a registered domain name for direct Internet access. Sadly, many of my suppliers are located overseas, resulting in an uncontrollable drastic increase in elapsed time between product order and delivery (pandemic, the tariffs imbroglio with China, the EU pandemic restrictions on shipment to USA, and now, the USPS meltdown resulting in delayed or lost shipments from ports of entry to customers' homes). Plus, I've suffered the slings and arrows of a learning curve for new business owners and have not as yet made an outrageous fortune! But, by opposing, I'll eventually prevail against every manner of setback! Unfortunately for us all, this virus will linger for a long time and may cause further unforeseen costly disruptions to small business owner circumstances.
Hey @dt324 :
Thanks for your comments and congrats on your positive attitude in facing each new challenge. I totally agree that this environment and the lingering effects of the pandemic will be with us for a good while. I am confident that small business in general shares the traits that you have exhibited here including creativity, opportunity AND perseverance. The supply channel is overlooked by many and the adverse impacts on that supply channel are undeniable.
It sounds like you are a leader in plowing through many of these unknowns. Keep plugging and it is my expectation that those small business owners like you are the ones we will be reading about in the years to come in how to effectively deal with a crises like Covid.
Keep up the good work. Thanks for sharing and keep us posted on your success.
All the best,
@KeithH119895 I wish everyone well and Daymond has some very salient points on raising revenue/sales and decreasing costs associated with your business. You know your cycles in business if not research your industry. Be careful with what/how much you borrow. Many years ago I had low sales and I had to live in a small corner of my business studio. I learned to keep money tight and cut out all frivilient expenses. Do you truly know your numbers? We tightened our budget when we bought a car this year. I said that's another bill!!! how can we utilize the money we already have to pay for it. Cut back on cable, expenses on our cell phone that were not needed, line by line and we actually found $500 we could utilize. So we bought a car and have an extra $100. Covid actually made my practice busier I wish everyone much success
Hey @KevinD809283 :
Cash flow management and "knowing" your numbers can probably be considered priority #1..especially when there is a general economic downturn or a specific threat to your business. I am confident that we will come out of this challenging time with more information, more knowledge and hopefully more opportunities for the future. The lessons we learn during this downtime can be critical even when things are going better.
Taking time to review your numbers, to evaluate expenses, reduce those that are unnecessary or are no longer adding value is a great idea every year. I hope we keep this lesson to heart even when things are better that it is a good idea to stop and review all that we are doing. Stopping each year to do what you guys have done is healthy and beneficially even if there isn't a formal crisis.
Thanks for sharing your story and keep up the good work. Don't forget that over 70% of all new jobs come from small business owners just like you.
All the best,
@KeithH119895 I will discuss how my ability to sustain my small business has been affected. I am the owner of a DBA called ToyMasters. It is not a new business because it was started in 1986. I was the mom of two small daughters and decided that I wanted to explore something that was new and that I felt passionate about. I decided to start a businesss that focused on selling antique and collectible toys. This was an outgrowth of a love for these interesting objects. My husband and I both love antique toys and he loves toy trains also. We began by attending every auction, toy show, estate sale, garage sale, etc. that had toys and/or trains to sell. We continued to research information about each item and amazingly amassed a huge number of books on the history and manufacturers of these items. Over the years we have become somewhat experts about toys. My husband is a genius when it comes to repairing items or replacing missing parts. This is a good example of how a shared interest can strengthen a relationship and besides it's fun. So for about 34 years we've totally enjoyed this small business, met many friends and had lots of interesting experiences. COVID has devastated the antique business however. Our sales were made at first with just a printed list of our toys advertised in Antique Toy World. Gradually we began to sell via Antique Shows, Toy Shows, in two Antique malls, via Ebay, word of mouth etc. During the shut down malls were closed, shows and auctions near stopped, estate sales and flea markets shut down. Our income from sales nearly disappeared and certainly our ability to find these rare items. I think that passion is a key component for any small business owner. It helps if you love what you do to weather the down times. During the years we have shared our collections with children in Rochester by setting up train displays during the holidays and participating in other youth festivals with the toys and trains. It's important to instill the fun of collecting to youth. As we begin to open up, we are looking forward to more fun things to do with our toys. Stay the course is my advice -- if you love your small business
What a great post, Grace! I really enjoyed reading about how you got started, how you progressed, and how much you love owning your own business! Being a small business owner
myself for many years, I can sympathize with how Covid has reduced the bottom line for so many of us who are not deemed "necessary" for people's survival. But I agree with you in regards to staying the course and holding fast to what you love with optimism. I sincerely wish you and your husband the best in the future! Viva the small businesses!!!
Hey @gracegirsch :
I love this story and your passion is indicative of what small business should always be about. This lesson in near the top, if not the very top, of all the key life lessons I have heard over the years from successful small business owners. It seems there is always another hurdle to clear whether that be access to capital, short term cash flow issues, finding qualified workers, managing production, etc, etc, etc....The issues we all have faced with the Covid crisis is another factor that many of us did not foresee.
The passion you guys have for your business and the awareness of wanting to pass that passion on to the next generation is not only heart warming but also, I believe, critical to the long term success of small business and by extension the overall economy of the United States of America. That is probably a little over dramatic for this on line post, but that's what came to my mind.
Keep up the good work and thanks for sharing your story!!!
Using my background in applied behavioral science and the time honored metaphysical healing practice of Reiki, my practice has evolved from traditional counseling to include energy healing. (Reiki is offered to patients in over a third of the hospitals in the country by practitioners at no cost...not woowoo!) But most counseling is expected by potential clients to involve face to face dialog, and touch in the case of Reiki healing. While Reiki as energy travels any distance, I've experienced a real reduction in client sessions and in people attending Reiki training because of social distancing and scepticism about distance work being effective. I've kept up email contact, have a website, and Facebook personal business page. The part time jobs I've taken haven't proved to be a good fit.
Thanks so much for your comments and I can certainly see your points. I have heard many of the same comments from other small business owners in many industries. So many people have actually seen an uptick in activity in those areas that are already widely accepted as on-line activity but those like your industry still seem to be on the initial edge of acceptance. It is my concerted opinion that the awareness and acceptance of on-line service even in stereotypical "hands-on" services will continue to grow. I think this is one of those things that we will "never go back" on after we have somewhat controlled this particular pandemic.
Keep the Faith and keep plugging. As ALWAYS, the pioneers and those on the ground floor are always those that end up reaping the largest benefits.
Keep up the good work.
Keith Hall is the President and CEO for the National Association for the Self-Employed. He previously served as the National Tax Advisor for NASE where he offered tax advice to persons self-employed and micro-business owners. He is a certified public accountant and has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post and Good Housekeeping.
About the Contest: The purpose of the 2020 Make Your Move Contest is to help both business owners and aspiring business owners navigate and succeed through these difficult times. In addition to the chance of winning a meeting with Shark Tank's Daymond John and cash prizes, you'll have the opportunity to discuss key areas of business ownership and get advice from peers and leaders. Enter today! Ends 09/30/20. See Official Rules.