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Perspective: Kentucky Small Business Deserves Dollars

Public programs and private choices impact local paychecks and families

Due to COVID-19 safety measures, Kentucky’s small businesses are hurting and need help—fast and in every manner feasible. Public policy steps are needed, public agency and private business purchasing choices are needed, and individual buying choices are needed: Vote with your wallet, as the phrase goes, to support your state and local economy.

It makes a real and almost immediate difference, and could be what keeps an operation in gear.

Too many Kentuckians’ paychecks are reliant on businesses and organizations that are hanging by shoestrings. They are working too hard to be left without any help that can be offered. One paycheck means everything to many families. Every business certainly does.

It took too long to happen, but the third round of federal paycheck protection program loans is a $284 billion godsend—if businesses can get applications filed and approved. Banks, other financial institutions, law and accounting firms, company bookkeepers and anyone else involved in the application, documentation, compliance fulfillment, etc., processes for PPP loans can be viewed as the business equivalent of the frontline medical worker “heroes” in our hospitals.

Local and state government grant and loan programs for small businesses are important, too, no matter the size of individual aid packages.
Dollars spent locally usually go quickly into active circulation and are re-spent, likely locally. The smaller the business, the more that is the case. We all do business with those we trust and know when possible, and by price of course.

Consumer spending is some 70% of the U.S. economy. Prime the pump locally with your choices.

All things considered, that money spent close to home is more likely to come back in the door to you. It is a smart investment to spend a little more with a local business or vendor rather than with someone out of state or around the world in the best of times; more so now.

The COVID-19 pandemic and our efforts to control it and protect ourselves have slammed activity and revenue at many businesses. The wide-ranging hospitality and entertainment sectors have been slammed; many operations have closed. Restaurants and bars are operating at a third to half of normal capacity and small fractions of typical revenue.

In response to lower cash flows, many businesses are being cautious, cutting costs, conserving cash and restricting spending on anything they can. That’s reasonable. But it pushes revenue and cash flow lower across the wider community and can create a vicious downward spiral.

Some sectors, such as those connected to e-commerce, are doing well. Kentucky’s geography, infrastructure and business climate have brought us a bustling logistics sector, for example. Its members should look now to steer their business to clients in their community and state.

You know your local business community and it knows you—which is why customer service is so important. I can not count the number of times I have interviewed men and women who said their great business success was built on good customer service. Time spent on good customer service is time well invested.

Now is the time to reach out to your neighbors. Give them business. Ask for their business. Market specifically to them (The Lane Report can help you do that!). Encourage your employees to Buy Kentucky. You will be helping yourself. ■