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David and Goliath: Why small business must reject fear to survive

I remember reading about David and Goliath as a child and wondering if such bravery was real. At the time, my world was vast and unexplored… the notion that the impossible could be made possible was motivating and energizing.

As a boy, Goliath was a giant in the literal sense. As I’ve grown and meandered my way through this life, I’ve come to understand that Goliath is really a euphemism for anything that appears to be insurmountable and quite scary. Today, Goliath may be masquerading as a pandemic. But, let me assure you that what lies beneath is the fear of something we cannot predict or control. Lest we forget David. 

The protagonist in the Old Testament story, David, is the antithesis of fear; he is the hope. We have all heard the expression “it’s time to fight for the little guy.” But I refuse to accept this. Small business constitutes more than 99% of all business in the United States. That translates to approximately 30 million small businesses in this great country. 

Statistically speaking, such numbers hardly constitute the little guy. In fact, I would argue that the very existence of small business is the only reason why the United States has become such a viable place for the ideation, application, and realization of our business dreams. 

So, perhaps you’re saying to yourself, “tell me something I don’t know!” Well, if you insist. Fear does not erode from the outside. That would be too easy and extremely visible. Fear is too smart for that. It burrows to the very core of what drives us and plants small seeds of doubt. Our current economic condition and the volatility of the stock market is proof of this. 

However, it is not, insurmountable, as the story of David and Goliath has illustrated time and time again. It can be beaten. 

There is solidarity between those holding on for dear life and the behavior with which we approach this impending season of tumult and uncertainty. Fear often paralyzes us. It works to separate our interests and pin one against the other. It brings about descension and distrust. Yet, we are all still here and breathing. And, while it is easy to spout off figures suggesting why everything continues to worsen, the reality is that we have grown more connected despite all that surrounds us. 

I have seen the rock that strikes the Goliath of today and it has nothing to do with flattening curves and predictive modeling. That rock is the local sandwich shop that operationalized itself over the summer, went mobile, and visited each neighborhood to promote and sell their goods. And, you know what? David grew stronger as a result. Each week I witnessed a new food truck on the curb just down from my home. The lines were long. And, while socially distanced and covered in masks, we began to look past the circumstance and continued to unite in support of one another. 

Well, round two is just around the corner. The winter of this pandemic is going to continue to push and work to move us away from one another. It will attempt to find ways to disenfranchise small business. We know this. We’ve seen the approach and it will not deviate from its previous angles of attack. Remaining strong… together… and encouraging one another to keep an attitude of confidence (and not fear) is how we beat Goliath. 

Find ways now to empower local economic modalities and refer to others who own and/or run small business. Do this now. The farther ahead of it we can get, the more hope we will feel and the less relevant fear will be. 

Brandon Rogers is vice president of finance” for Verber Dental Group, in Camp Hill, Pa. His past experiences include roles at Giant, Highmark, and JPMorgan. 

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