The COVID-19 situation has created a significant amount of hardship and heartache.

Many of the very small business owners I know are wondering if they should apply for funding from SBA and other available programs because they don’t want to take money from other small businesses that might be struggling more.

I used to think that way and not take advantage of those benefits that were created for people just like me: veterans; women; people of color; and African Americans.

For many years, I wouldn’t take advantage of these programs – programs with my statistics, my demographic written all over them – because I didn’t want to be greedy or take from someone less fortunate. Yet, I watched in dismay and righteous indignation as big-name companies, universities with huge endowments, and those much more fortunate than I was used the system to their advantage.

Did this make them wrong and me right? Now, I say, “no.” It may have seemed unfair and maybe it was, but as the saying goes, “Life isn’t fair.” They were obviously eligible for the program; and I didn’t take didn’t even apply.

Was I really helping anyone by staying small and not attempting to take advantage of those things that were available to me?

Was I more moral?

More spiritual?

More compassionate?

More woke?

I think our desire not to step ahead, not to avail ourselves of what is available and rightfully our opportunities, keeps us small. And keeps us behind the curve.

We do more good by taking advantage of everything available to us and then paying it forward.

If you have a small business, whether you have lost all of your revenue, a tiny bit of it, or you are actually making money during this pandemic lockdown, take advantage of the stimulus packages you qualify for and apply for every company grant you see.

Continue to grow your business, then you will be in a position to help other small business owners. One day you may be able to offer grants to those less fortunate.

Remember when on an airplane, the flight attendant always reminds you to put on your oxygen mask before helping others put on theirs.

Stay safe! Stay well! And if possible, stay home!