There are business owners who may see some short-term benefit to staying open in defiance of the lockdown rules. This is a bad business decision, especially in the long-term.
It is true that some people will applaud your defiance and will support you in your decision. But many more will see your defiance as evidence that you value your personal income over the value of human lives. You might profit in the short term. But your social capital will suffer, and you will likely end up paying dearly, even in the short term.
You won’t even know who your detractors are, because without a budget for market research and focus groups, most of your former clients will not want to confront you directly. They will simply think less of you, and go somewhere else for their business. You will be a lonely business with a much smaller filter bubble.
Lobbying for support from the government or the community will be far more productive than declaring war against it.
I, as someone who has experienced the collapses of businesses over the years, know the pain of losing all you have worked for. I know the toll it takes on not only your own family, but also on your employees, landlords, tenants, creditors, debtors, and the community at large.
Small businesses are the lifeblood of the economy and the community.
But just as blizzards and icy roads require us to stop all non-essential travel to let essential vehicles navigate safely, so does this latest wave of infections require us to take the economy off the rails.
When the snow is too deep, we slow down or pull over, even if it means missing a job interview, or a wedding, or delivering the baby yourself in a car or a roadside diner. To attempt to drive in hazardous weather will only risk pile-ups, worse traffic jams, and the chances that the baby will never know its parents.
When a pandemic wave hits, and ICUs are filling up with Covid patients, and nurses are performing multiple resuscitations at once, and loved ones are dying alone in field hospitals, no one will appreciate my valiant effort to teach martial arts, or my fine haircut, or my manicured toes.
I may lose my business (again), and experience financial woe. My family, friends, clients, and community may be worse off for my failure. But I have been in this pit before, and I have faith in my chances of climbing out of it (again). Compared to the suffering that happens in most of the world, this is a small price to pay for the society that we depend on.
I will not put my business, or even my family’s prosperity ahead of human lives, or the health of the front line workers, or of those who work in truly essential services.
Those I care about will depend on the long-term success of a functional society long after I am dead and gone.
Of course, there are things that I think the government could do better. But I do not expect leaders to be perfect. (Not even close.) So I don’t get too angry at them when they screw up, for whatever reason, or do things that I oppose. But for every misguided, errant, or disagreeable politician, there is an army of smart, well-meaning, and dedicated experts working their butts off to get us through this. We owe them our support.
For myself, I will not have in-person group lessons until August or September. I might offer private lessons to vaccinated clients before that. I intend to get vaccinated as soon as possible. I might even do it twice for those who are unable to receive the vaccine. I have family, friends, and many clients who are at high risk. Many have immune systems that are compromised and cannot get the vaccine.
I don’t expect things to approach normalcy until the Autumn, depending on how successful the vaccine rollout is. I hope to still be in business by then. If I am not, then I will just have to fold and start again (again).
No plan survives contact with the enemy. No dream lasts a day in its original form. The path that mortals walk is neither enduring nor unchanging. We are all learning as we go. We change our opinions when we get new information.
In business, as in life, there is a time to be a rebellious warrior, and there is a time to be a soldier. Soldiers don’t always admire their senior officers. But they know that winning the war depends on the ability of soldiers to fall in line.
A soldier who acts out of self interest, or who rebels based on a limited short-term understanding of the tactical situation, can undermine an entire campaign, and lose the war.
If you choose to be a rebellious warrior, remember that a warrior, even a rebellious one, is the first to suffer for the ills of the world, and the last to benefit from their own success.