COVID19 U-ECONMOMICS &(“NUMERBER Üks} Number 1 in Estonian



As we stare down the barrel of another lockdown gun, we cry out, “Thank God, we better take it seriously this time”, or “Oh God, another BIG hit to Susan’s mom at her care facility, what about my livelihood, will I be able to care for my ailing mother”. You’re either a “masker” or an “anti-masker”. And no matter which you are, we live in a free society…don’t we? I’d say that all of us are scare about the health of their elderly family. What about my small business owners? As one of those that drive the economy (they keep saying), I am scared out my wits. No matter which way one looks at it.

But then there are those that rest somewhere in the middle. Me? Why am I so afraid to voice my opinion, either way?

Huh? What does Estonian “ETTEVEVÕTTED” have do with this? Because I have a small business, an interpreting and translation agency who is wading through the never-ending COVID war. People are dying! Who cares about anything else? Are you going to stone me, burn me at the stake, issue me a fine or an order to self flagellate? Here’s a notion for you, I care about both.  

While I was born in Canada, my mother wasn’t. To be clear, Mom was actually born in a refugee camp in Copenhagen during WWII. Only because my Vanaema (grandmother) from Estonia escaped the savagery of the Russian army who had invaded the tough but tiny little nation. So, why mention this in an article about small business and COVID-19. Because this is a “global” pandemic. A war for which we are all fighting. And one, that all nations face, even the one’s that don’t know it. Yes, there are those that don’t. This is it folks, world war three, WWIII.

The uncontacted tribes of the Antilles, Papua New Guinea, Brazil….but they won’t get it, nor do they care about their business, until that BIG business ploughs through their land and leaves them nothing for which to rebuild…..but they do.  

“There are companies with tremendous amounts of resources and capital and staffing power that have experienced significant challenges through this. So, for small businesses, it’s been particularly difficult in some cases,” says Doug Stephens, founder and president of Retail Prophet, a retail industry consultancy.

Mr. Tyler Ray, Strategic Marketer, Craft Beer, says the business is moving forward carefully, acknowledging it’s “a bit of a roll of the dice,”. Re-renegotiating contracts, tapping into government wage- and lease-subsidy programs.  Mr., Rygus is someone to follow, a forward and creative thinker.

Out of COVID-19, new business models and innovative thinking and policy, just as they during the economic meltdown in 2008. At the end of the day, as difficult and deadly, this pandemic is for families and small business, it has broken new ground in stimulating innovation and creative thinking. From a deeper study of virology and some ingenious ways to creating business plans, preparation, and health crisis prevention.

“Crisis really does prompt a tremendous amount of innovation and creativity,” Mr. Stephens says. “As difficult as it is, they do tend to produce exciting new ideas at the end of the day.”

For larger companies, and even smaller companies who had more business savvy work models, or other sources of income, the door to business is still part way open. 

But for the start-ups, the “little guy” who have worked in an industry for years upon years and wanted to take advantage of the opportunity that our great nation has afforded them. To work for themselves, provide gainful employment to experience or to give a student or someone with talent an opportunity to be part of a bigger picture, an unforeseeable event, a pandemic, one that even their grandparents had not experienced, the door slammed shut.

Your life’s work is closed for business. You have to lay off staff who have learned and gained skill which, as a group, just slowed or stopped their ability to help drive the economy. 

We all know that small businesses “drives the economy”. It can’t be just a handful of business that you trust solely. There is enough business out there where we can share, we can spread out the work and not let this horrendous pandemic, COVID-19 stop the “little guy” in its tracks. Competition is good, it’s essential and, guess what? It is compelling. For all the hardship families endure just fighting off, or taking care of sick friends and relatives, showing compassion. Thinking twice when that cashiers says, “would you like to donate $2.00 to your local foodbank”, you are now almost irresponsible if you don’t.

So, what can I, “the little guy” do? How am I going to pay my mortg….oh that’s right, I had to sell my house? So, how am I going to pay my rent? What about my employees, the one’s who have stuck to me, sometimes, at little to no cost? I wasn’t taught about RSP’s, does that make me a “backward thinker”, a bad person or worse, a horrible boss who really wants all of us to grow big together? No, it makes me a start-up, a person who wanted to put my life’s work and the capitol earned into all our pockets.

So, here I am, in Lockdown, on the 21st floor of a condo I lease. I went from a three bedroom, but modest Townhouse in a wonderfully “blue collar” community, with a local watering hole, a place I fondly refer to as the “neighbourhood den”, to a tiny “room with a view”.  A delightful and inspiring view of the Toronto skyline, the CN tower brightly twinkling reminding me that, the lights are still on. As they will remain to be. A large corporation and symbol, that with every night, a different colour, a new idea and ironically pointing to the sky. With every passing night, there lies new hope, that this big company in the sky can share it’s colours of optimism that when all is said and hopefully done, soon, we should all share our colours, pass them along to our friends, our clients and even our competition. 

I guess the point is, it’s there, it exists and every night it shares, it opens doors and dreams for the “little guy” and why we should never give up. The colour of life, even if it feels grim, we can only stand, if the guy who flips the switch, is given the same chance as the girl who flips it the following night.

To the person who decides which small business or start up a chance, is there enough room to share that with others, because it takes a crew to keep us all a float.

Share your ideas. I spent hours scouring the net for ideas about business get through this global health crisis. About what would happen of we didn’t share the work. Most of us would sink. All I ask of any business who uses small business to seal the cracks, is to be fully staffed, diversify and the crew who keeps us healthy, is the only thing that keeps you running. The economy doesn’t have to come to a grinding halt if we share in health, wealth, and creative new ideas. Coveted them, is not just bad karma, it’s the worst thing you can do to seal the cracks, find the solutions to stop this historic pandemic and pass along the information you scrubbed all night for. We shine together. I leave you on that note. The following is information that is going to help me, I am sharing it with you, so you have time to expand, share and help the “little guy”. Or my case, the “little gal”. Maybe we can share and broaden our knowledge together.

Ailie Bikaunieks (Ails- Small Business Owner, Toronto)

TIGI Associates Inc.

Toronto Interpreters’ Go, International

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