Small business clients want governments to find new COVID solutions

Doing the same thing over and over is the definition of insanity, says iA Private Wealth advisor

Small business clients want governments to find new COVID solutions

Allan Small, the Senior Investment Advisor of Allan Small Financial Group with IA Private Wealth, is hearing more rumblings from small business as it moves further into the pandemic.

Many wonder why the stock market keeps moving higher, even though businesses are struggling.

That’s due to two reasons, he told Wealth Professional. First, the market tends to look beyond six to 12 months ahead, and we now have vaccinations and the COVID pill.

“What the market has been telling us is the issues we’ve had with COVID will, at some point, disappear or slow down,” he said.

“The stock market is also usually made up of large, publicly traded companies, whereas the small business owner tends not to be public,” said Small, noting big corporations, such as Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, and Facebook, drive North American stock markets. “The mom and pop shops are having more difficulty. Walmart, Amazon, and these larger corporations have been able to thrive with their online presence. These companies may have had some issues and slowdown, but not like the pizza joint or hairstylist on the corner. So, you could have a lot of small business closures and still see the TSX at all-time highs.”

Businesses are also feeling the current inflation could have been avoided with a different COVID response.

“These are numbers we haven’t seen in decades. And what do we do? We shut down schools!” said Small, who is in southern Ontario, where some schools just reopened this week. School closures impact working parents, which can cause labor shortages and then supply chain issues. “That’s a lot of what’s causing the inflationary pressures, so we have to start to change the rules regarding COVID.

“People don’t really know the end game here. They wonder, where are we going? How is this going to end? Some find it hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel because of that. Like, what happens next year? We thought the Delta variant could be the last and, hopefully, things would get back to normal. Now we have Omicron. So, what happens in November? What happens when the next period comes?”

Small said business owners are asking who’s going to pay for the government subsidies, loans, and support programs. They know it’s the taxpayer, so wonder if it means higher HST or income tax

While he’s had a couple of clients move to the U.S., where there are less restrictions, more are grumbling that they didn’t get the Conservative policies they expected. Others are working through their business associations to pressure the government for change. 

“What’s frustrating for some business owners is we keep doing the same things. We keep using the same instruments to blunt the spread of the virus. I think a lot of people are saying, ‘we keep doing the same things over and over, and it’s not working. We need to come up with something new’.

“I guess everybody’s hopeful that we can somehow come to some conclusion and just figure out how to live with these variants because there may be another. But we can’t just keep doing the same things that we’ve done for the last two years.

“What do they say? The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over with the same results. I think a lot of people feel as though that’s the case here.”