The Business Landscape – A Drastic Shift, and Great Uncertainty

Close your eyes for just a moment and take a few deep breaths.

Over the past months, we have grappled with government directives (e.g., Wisconsin’s Safer at Home Order), initiatives (e.g., FFCRA, PPP loans, expansion of unemployment), and mixed messages. While most businesses have survived, many have not (e.g., as many as 2,400 businesses in Chicago have already announced they will not reopen). Some industries have been hit harder than others. For instance, a recent Yelp Report indicates 15,770 restaurants across the United States have permanently closed, along with 2,429 bar and nightlife businesses (as of July 10, 2020).

The future for business is all about uncertainty (which is, in and of itself, terrible for business). While some of us have thrived (e.g., Amazon and other online businesses, as well as manufacturers of PPE and other essential goods, including some local manufacturers), others of us have looked to government programs for support (e.g., PPP, the revised work-shareprogram). For those of us who have been lucky enough to see a rebound of sorts, we remain unsure as to whether “it’s for real or not.” 

As of this writing, questions remain regarding what shape further government programs might take, and if and when they might pass into law. While we have now heard several proposals from Congress (e.g., HEROES and HEALS Acts)—including potential changes to Unemployment Insurance, a second stimulus check, and additional PPP loans—still nothing is for certain. At the same time, COVID-19 trends have left many coming to terms with mask mandates and wondering whether there will be further restrictive measures. Reports of worsening numbers and negative economic predictions raise the stakes even higher. 

Business Takeaway: Many businesses have not had the time or resources to do any long-term planning as they are simply trying to stay afloat. Are you looking ahead and, if so, how far? Please respond to (Responses will be held in confidence).