The Freedom of the Entrepreneur: Creative Strategies for These Tough Times

The Freedom of the Entrepreneur: Creative Strategies for These Tough Times

Among the many reasons for taking the risk to start your own business were the time and money freedom to be with those you love doing the things you love to do. You wanted your businesses to reflect your own values.

Large publicly owned companies with far more lobbying opportunities, have benefited with recent flu season regulations while many small, owner-operated businesses were ordered to close their doors and are now required to operate under restrictive and expensive rules. Many business owners have had to deal with unsympathetic landlords and have dipped deeply into savings and even gone into debt to keep their businesses alive. Some have had to close their doors and others may have experienced personal bankruptcy.

While visiting a privately owned Thrift Shop in Duncan recently, which advertised clearance prices on used books, I found a shopkeeper who was torn between what the government suggested be done for public safety and his own idea of how to best serve the customers. He said he was confused about what was the right thing to do. He had not been aware of Rocco Galati’s lawsuit challenging some of the COVID19 “Emergency Measures” on constitutional grounds so I shared a YouTube link with him for which he was very grateful. Incidentally, the masks for my friend and me cost him $2 and in the end, we only found one book on our wish list and the price turned out to be only 25 cents.

It’s time to consider how you will conduct business going forward. Especially now, it’s important to know two things. First, many business owners have found hidden opportunities these past months and you can do the same. Secondly, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms is on your side.

Some Outside The Box Thinking

In Ontario, one couple was able to negotiate favorable private terms to buy a complementary business without knocking down the asking price or having to go the banks to finance it.

Concerned about the quality of education their children would receive in government schools, they collaborated with a mother who is a certified early childhood education teacher to provide classroom space where she could “homeschool” all four of the children from the two families. Her teaching model builds on the individual strengths and interests of each child where their curiosity will provide a greater incentive to learn their ABCs. They are currently working on how to fulfill on a vision of making this kind of education available to others in their town and to provide a model for others in other parts of the country.

Another from Kelowna, whose salon was closed because it was initially deemed a non-essential service, plans to organize other estheticians to join with her in a much larger space so they can all serve their clients with lower overheads and better options for sharing costs.

Challenging the Status Quo

And then there’s Dave Shearer who with wife and partner Susan, are owners of The One-Eyed Budgie Gift Shop in Keremeos. They have a sign on their business entrance that says “Mask wearing is prohibited in this establishment ..” and have dedicated a wall in their business to provide research papers, YouTube links, books and other materials for those who are also concerned that our Individual Rights and Freedoms will disappear if we don’t do something about it now. They’ve gotten two single stars on Google from a disgruntled customer and her friend but say they are experiencing about 80% customer agreement for what they stand for.

The Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees, among other things, freedom of expression and the right of assembly both on common property and in private spaces. These Rights trump any rules imposed by any level of government in Canada, even though Bill 19 has been passed in BC granting the ruling party exclusive powers to declare a state of emergency as long as they wish. All they can do constitutionally at this point is recommend courses of action, which we can choose to take or not. The Freedom Rallies in Kelowna and Vancouver have tested these constitutional rights and found police are acting to defend their right of assembly, and many lawsuits are in the courts defending those rights.

But what if the government extends their emergency controls for another five years or more? What if this is the intended “New Normal?” What can we do about it as individual owners?

While there is significant and well-warranted fear among business owners that they might be fined or ordered to close if they don’t obey, there are a few who challenge that assumption and many more who are looking for ways to express their own values if they disagree with those recommendations. If you are one of them, you might lose a few Google stars, but you will be exercising your right to your own opinion and to setting your own rules for your enterprise.

Do your own research and ask yourself, “How much do I value my own freedom?”. Collaborate with others of like mind for ideas, joint projects, cost savings and to have a voice and support in the midst of all the scary “news” out there. Speak out. Write letters to the editor. Join the Canadian Tax Payers Federation. And send me your stories and ideas so I can include them here to help inspire others.

Thank you.

~ Mary Lou

© 2020 Mary Lou Gutscher, Success Mentor