Diary of a Small Business Owner (3/14/20) - How Bad Can it Get?

Diary of a Small Business Owner (3/14/20) - How Bad Can it Get?

I slept in. I felt like I deserved it.

Most mornings, my inbox feels like a Saturday morning cereal box. I know I'll need to sift through the stuff I need to get to the thing(s) I really want. But somewhere there will be a treasure. 

These days, treasures are few and far between. It's hard to see a silver lining when it's night. And a lots of days feel like very dark nights. 

I asked my wife today if it would be okay for us to talk about how bad things could get. Not just for Batch, but the entire economy. When you look and see that France and Spain are shuttering stores and Seattle is a ghost town, smart money is that we're next. If not now, soon. (Maybe in like 10 minutes.) After all, when Apple closes, which has the highest revenue per square foot, you figure things could get very bad very quickly. 

We talked on our drive to the market about how some folks are predicting mass deaths - maybe 1 million or more. You can't get much darker than that. Comparatively, I'm wondering how to sell jewelry in a recession. Hashtag small business problems. 

Community Health Statement - COVID-19

Today was the day we actually and finally issued one of those "what we're doing about COVID-19" emails. I was hoping we'd fly under the radar enough that it wasn't necessary, but at the prompting of Rob we wrote it. And it felt good to. When you realize you don't have any control it can be cathartic to put words on paper. At least you can control the clicks of a keyboard.

You can read our full statement here, and none of it is groundbreaking other than the fact that we'll never stop believing about the power of and need for connection. As we say, just because the birthday trip canceled doesn't mean your sister isn't turning a year older. We all have to celebrate the best way we can.

We went to the Farmers Market this afternoon so I could deliver some hand sanitizer to our team and see what foot traffic was like in and around our store. It was good to be in a crowd even though common sense tells me that doing so isn't a wise choice. But soon it won't be a choice so I'm trying to soak in all the being-around-people I can, as messy as it is sometimes. 

Hot Sauce Nashville

It was good to see two of our purveyors out and about - Kristen Faircloth of BUBO and Chris and Chelsea from Hot Sauce Nashville. We talked about how crazy things are, cancelled travel, and the curious wonderings of how bad things could get. Misery, especially co-misery, loves company.

I think a big reason people start small businesses is to be in control of something. You can avoid being laid off if you don't work for a big company that uses that tactic to juice a stock price or keep executives aloft in private jets. But control, even as a small business owner, is a myth when you confront something that you - or anyone else - hasn't ever seen. At that point, you can't hope to control what you can control. You just have to hang on. 

And that's what today felt like. Hanging on. We made it through March 14. We'll do it again tomorrow, gripping reality as tightly as we can and clinging on for another ride.