SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah congressman says not only will small businesses in the country and state survive the COVID-19 crisis, they will thrive in the post-coronavirus world.
Republican Rep. John Curtis, representing Utah’s 3rd Congressional District, joined Boyd Matheson, opinion editor at Deseret News, on “Inside Sources” to discuss the importance of assisting small businesses amid the global pandemic.
Rescuing small businesses
“I always say when we talk about the Founding Fathers, we talk about them in these glowing terms as these wise, inspired individuals, which they were, but at their core, they were really just a bunch of entrepreneurs and small-business owners who were tired of being overtaxed and over-regulated. Tell me what you’re doing in this current pandemic to help those hardworking, heart-and-soul-of-the-nation entrepreneurs and small business owners?” Boyd asked.
“I actually believe that we’ll come out of this, and the secret will not be the government. It will be the small business owners who lead us out of it. That’s how much confidence I have in them,” Curtis said.
The House passed a $484 billion bill last week to help small businesses and hospitals survive the coronavirus pandemic.
Own your destiny
“What’s your message for small business owners today? What should they be doing? How should they be engaging as we start moving into this next phase during this pandemic?” Boyd asked.
“My advice, for what it’s worth, would be own your own destiny,” Curtis said. “The governor of Utah has been very wise in not putting out mandates and given you a lot of room to wiggle. As a small business owner, I would use all the creativity and hard work that you’re famous for to find ways to keep your doors open and to be safe at the same time.”
Boyd said often that option is presented as a false choice: either your business is shut down or you’re open but being irresponsible about possible transmission of the virus to others.
“What should the small business owners be thinking about as they try to navigate this really tricky needle to thread?” Boyd asked.
“If I were a small business owner today, I would figure out how to keep people 6 feet apart. I would figure out how to encourage them to wear masks in my place of business. I would figure out away to keep a watch on my employees: take their temperature. And then I would let my customers know that if you coming into my place of business, you will be safe,” Curtis answered.
Crisis is a time for opportunity
Curtis recalled as a small business owner flying across the country to persuade a client to pay his bill so Curtis could catch the next return flight to distribute payroll checks to his employees.
“I think people underestimate how often small businesses live in that realm. Every day they’re using their hard work their ingenuity, their creativity to make it to the next day,” Curtis said.
“Most of the great innovations, the great breakthroughs, the great companies often are founded in really tough economic times. What’s been your experience, and again what is the message to the entrepreneur today?” Boyd asked.
“This crisis will present opportunity. And the thoughtful, innovative and hard-working entrepreneurs will actually — not in the short term — but in the long term come out ahead and be the ones who not only survive but thrive,” Curtis said.
“In many ways, as difficult as this is, the silver lining is it will present opportunities. It will get Americans to create new patterns and think differently. And every time that happens, there is tremendous business opportunities,” Curtis said.
“I have no doubt that the Utah small businesses will be the ones to lead the way in figuring out that new tomorrow, that new reality and figuring out how to monetize it,” he said.
Inside Sources with Boyd Matheson can be heard weekdays from 11:00 a.m to 12:00 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app.