Fellow Small Businesses,
Ben Coli, Sally Traynor and Erin Millar here. We’re three small business owners (brewery, salon, and local news, respectively) involved in Save Small Business. Over 32,000 small business owners and individuals have joined this grassroots coalition since we launched just over two weeks ago!
We’re writing today to ask you to join us in expressing our frustration with the emergency aid package announced so far using the hashtag #TooSlowMorneau on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
We’ve made some real progress amplifying our stories via media and putting forward constructive policy solutions to government. But if we want to see real action from politicians to save our small businesses, we need to make our anger clear to Finance Minister Bill Morneau. We need to become a political problem. (More on why and how below.)
Why we’re trying to make #TooSlowMorneau go viral
For all the billions the government has announced so far (Canadian Emergency Relief Benefit, zero-interest, secured loans, wage subsidy), most of our businesses are still facing an existential threat.
We believe the federal government is sincerely trying to help small businesses, but they’re moving at the glacial pace of big bureaucracy, not at the lightning pace of the catastrophe that is befalling many of our small businesses.
Minister Ng said last week that she expects the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy to be open to application in 3 to 6 weeks, and we can’t even apply for the $40,000 loan in the Canada Emergency Business Account until mid-April — two weeks after April rent was due. The measures we’ve been asking for, such as subsidies for rent for businesses that have been ordered to close, aren’t even on the horizon.
How does a wage subsidy help us retain staff if we have to cover their wages for a full six weeks before we can even apply for it? And how does a loan application in mid-April help if we’ve already defaulted on April rent because we’ve had no revenue since early March?
Do they not understand the urgency of this cash flow crisis?
The government needs to be made to understand the urgency of the need. That’s why we want to dial up the pressure with a #TooSlowMorneau campaign focused especially on Twitter (the preferred platforms of our leaders and journalists).
We’ll be collecting the stories and emailing them directly to Ministers Morneau’s and Ng’s offices so they can’t miss the message.
Post your stories on Twitter and help #TooSlowMorneau go viral
Please tell your stories about what has happened to your business as a result of aid coming too slow. Use #TooSlowMorneau and tag Ministers @Bill_Morneau and @Mary_Ng. Use photos where you can to make these stories as human as possible.
We had to close our doors and lay off all of our staff because I can’t wait 6 weeks to find out if my business qualifies for the wage subsidy. #TooSlowMorneau @Bill_Morneau @Mary_Ng
The government ordered us to close our business and we defaulted on April rent. I’m worried my landlord will lock me out and I’ll lose everything before help comes. #TooSlowMorneau @Bill_Morneau @Mary_Ng
Search for the hashtag #TooSlowMorneau and like and RT each other’s tweets. With more than 30,000 people on this email list, we can get this trending.
A lot of people have left Twitter in the last couple of years, but believe me, politicians and journalists still use Twitter and they’ll notice if 30,000 of us are expressing our impatience with the same hashtag. And using that hashtag, they’ll have all of our stories brought together in the same place.
Starting immediately, let’s get on to Twitter and let them know that they’re not moving quickly enough! Get on Twitter, share your stories and RT #TooSlowMorneau.
Send us your photos and stories to share on Facebook
We’re also sharing stories with photos via our Facebook Page. Please like our page, share the stories you find there and share your own! You can email us at (firstname.lastname@example.org) with a photo and a few lines about your story, and we’ll share it with our growing community.
Questions to consider: Will you have any access to the funding through the current relief stimulus package? Will you have to make the hard decision to close permanently in the coming months? What impact has your business situation had on your personal life/family life? Have you defaulted on your April rent? What does May look like for your business? Have you been able to arrange any relief or agreement with your commercial landlord?
Thank you so much to those of you who have been bravely sharing your stories. Articles like this one in the Globe and Mail are definitely putting our challenges on the national radar. Now we need to dial up the pressure.
The aid offered is already too little and too late. We were asked to close our businesses to protect the health of Canadians and we did it. Now we need real help from the federal government, and we need it fast, or thousands of small businesses will fail. The government needs to act now to avoid a depression. #TooSlowMorneau
United in frustration,
Ben, Sally, Erin
P.S. We’ve linked to a helpful and comprehensive guide on the programs announced so far shared with us by accountant Tania Lo from Tandem Consulting through SheEO, a network of women supporting women-led businesses. We hope it’s helpful: https://docs.google.com/document/u/2/d/e/2PACX-1vQ7uY0FrL0kBuav2qr1f23GtBRrwaTgAI2-cw6st4txM8sMtR0VVN_MpbIdNl_W-DUnDC60F9aKBbCo/pub
P.P.S. If you’re new to the list, and you missed the first update, read it here. It includes details about how we are using the information you shared with us to advocate for our cause. There’s also a link to unsubscribe at the bottom of this email, if you don’t want to hear from us again.