Mobile Electronics Magazine

Switch to desktop
29 May

ME-Mag Editors Forum: Open for Business

Read the on the digital platform for Mobile Electronics magazine [Click Here]
 
As we all adjust to new safety guidelines and precautionary measures, this should be the message from every retail store.
 
After speaking at the Car Media Convention in Germany on February 16 of this year, I found myself wondering if this virus could affect our industry and our nation. If so, what kind of disruptions could it cause? Just a few weeks later on March 11, I spoke at the GoFast event in New England. I noticed great trepidation from exhibitors and attendees as to how they should interact with one another. Some greeted each other by nodding from a distance. Others offered a fist-bump, and some just embraced with a firm handshake or brotherly hug as if nothing had changed. This was my first real indication that something was seriously wrong. That night after the New England event, I had a long dinner with some well-respected members of the mobile electronics industry. Much of our conversation focused on what might happen next. For me, this marked the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Each day, news reports sounded worse. The future began to look bleak with little information to allay our worst fears. Stock markets reeled, the medical industry panicked and the news media did little to provide perspective. It felt like a swift kick in the gut. I am sure we all have a story to tell of how this nightmare left us feeling a bit more than unnerved. Long days turned into even longer weeks. Months have gone by.
 
Then Came the Waiting
Day after day, I listened to the news looking for bright spots and pitfalls. The latter was more prevalent. The frustrating part for me was the lack of good information and the wealth of disinformation. Then can the closures of non-essential businesses. That was a watershed moment that required us at MEA to start gathering information on what was deemed essential. Once we understood it, we could share information with the industry to help businesses stay open if they wanted to.
Next came the potential of getting Small Business Association loans, both Economic Injury and Paycheck Protection. This seemed to hang in the U.S. Congress for an eternity. And once it was approved, MEA acted and provided several webinars to help understand a process none of us had ever experienced. I felt extremely disappointed at the first round and the mishandling by some financial institutions. The second round of funding seemed to be more focused on those in need. As of this writing, many of you have received funds to shore up your business. I am happy we were able to help.
 
Is Your Business Essential?
Finding out what defined an essential business led us to understand the Department of Homeland Security Identification of Essential Infrastructure. We reviewed each state and province to understand their interpretation. Here’s my personal take on “essential businesses.” Governments and thus politicians have a way of deeming businesses essential that has nothing to do with how I feel about the topic. Essential, to me, is any business that produces income for you and your team to provide for them and their families. What is non-essential to others has little to do with what you need to fulfill your obligations and live your life. I hope we never again see a day where any of us are deemed non-essential. For those of you who listed your business as vehicle repair, you had proof that met the criteria. For those of you listed as such, I recommend you take the time to update your listing with your state to make sure you never have to deal with this again. While I know business may have been down for many of you, I was happy to see a large majority were able to stay open and keep doing business.
 
The Next Phase: Reopening
The Federal Government set out an approach for reopening that provided guidelines which some states followed. Others made more cautious plans, while still others took the opportunity to oppress many struggling businesses with restrictions based more on fear than facts. I get that we are all learning through this. I do not suggest throwing caution to the wind, but I do think all voices should be represented and heard in a free society. I fear we have become complacent in allowing social and traditional news media define what is appropriate. I hope one day we can all feel free to speak our minds without hesitation and fear of retaliation.
Today, I am glad to hear many retailers are having an experience similar to Black Friday due in part to stimulus checks and pent-up demand, coupled with seasonal uptick—and, I believe, a desire to drive rather than fly this summer. Hopefully, we all experience this rush. It will go a long way to making up for losses suffered over the past couple of months. Stay safe and healthy. I look forward to seeing everyone in person at out next event!
 
Read the latest issue of Mobile Electronics magazine [Click Here]
Last modified on Friday, 29 May 2020 09:28
Rate this item
(4 votes)

Copyright - Mobile Electronics Association 2020

Top Desktop version