I recently met with the owner of a medium-sized manufacturing business located in a small community. The company has been in business for over 35 years. You would think they’ve survived the test of time. However, 2009 has been one of the toughest years this company has ever experienced.
2009 revenue will be down from the previous year–down 50%. The company has had to left a number of valuable employees go. The owner is not sure what to do or where to turn. It has the potential to be a tragic tale.
Unfortunately, I think we’ve grown immune and almost accustomed to hearing about these stories. The initial reaction is usually a little bit of sadness, followed by disappointment. But we recover pretty quickly. While sad, another company struggling doesn’t really affect us, does it?
It does. The story above is happening all over the country. When businesses struggle, communities are affected. There is a symbiotic relationship between a community and the businesses that call the community home. But I don’t think “we” understand this. Why does a business that has been in existence for 35 years need the help from the community?
Communities need to know and appreciate the businesses within their community. Businesses help pay taxes. No businesses, less tax revenue–unless residents are expected to shoulder more of the load. Businesses that are successful will grow, which likely will lead to more jobs. Businesses are more inclined to stay in communities that embrace and support them. Success breeds success. One successful business is likely to lead to another.
However, one struggling business is also likely to lead to another.
What are our communities doing about this struggle? How are we reaching out to the businesses within our communities? What are we doing to ensure these businesses stay and survive through difficult times?