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Was it just me or did 2020 fly by? Well, if it did for you, like it did for me, then we are in the same boat, and hopefully, like me, your optimism for 2021 is sky high. We have a vaccine that could possibly return the world to the way that it used to be – or slightly resemble it. The stock market, despite skepticism and one of the largest downturns in recent history, continues to climb to record levels. Plus, the potential for solving severe social issues across the globe has never been higher. While this is all fine and dandy, there are still significant risks to be aware of in 2021, especially for small businesses.

With the election of Joe Biden as the United States’ 46th President, one glaring issues arises. It is no secret that Republicans and Democrats alike have done everything in their power to discredit the legitimacy of the current and upcoming Presidents’, but it has reached a new level. According to a Eurasia Live article, “the occupant of the Oval Office will be seen as illegitimate by roughly half the country”. Regardless of who sits in the Oval Office, we can expect that progress toward a better economic stimulus packages and healthcare reform will be stunted. The increasing rigidity of US politics and more stringent COVID policies will likely result in severe damage to both small and medium sized businesses that desperately need assistance.

Is there not a vaccine that could alleviate all this damage to middle class business owners? Well, there is, but do expect COVID-19 to go anywhere. Countries struggling to achieve complete vaccination of their population, viral mutation, and increasing unemployment rates are just a few issues that cannot be mitigated. Reflecting on 2020, we can see that the global pandemic hurt the global economy, but, despite incredible adversity, business continues and the markets sore to record breaking levels. This is scary because COVID-19 is not going to disappear – sorry. Investment in global markets and even the US stock market must be handled with care. Due to increasing financial debt and the recession of 2020, there is a lot for the markets to grapple with. Expect to see the vulnerability of several markets to show in 2021.

Yet, life goes on: people continue to wear their masks, take social distancing seriously, and listen to their health professionals. Some on the other hand are going above and beyond to ensure that the COVID-19 does not destroy this wonderful world we live in. Dave Portnoy, the President and Co-founder of Barstool sports, a major sports media platform, is one of those people. Portnoy, realizing that the stalemate in Washington is having real, lasting consequences has started a charity fund that provides cash flow to small business – mostly family owned – to help them continue to operate. Many criticize Mr. Portnoy for his blunt delivery and stance on Washington, but the “Barstool Fund” has good intent. No matter how dark it gets, there is always light.

Like I stated in the beginning, I expect 2021 to be a better year than 2020, but that does not mean that it will not be without trial. Washington needs to figure itself out because there are people expecting them to perform, not continue to push partisan agenda. COVID-19 is not going to disappear, and we need to set realistic expectations. As a species, humanity must see actions like those of Dave Portnoy and expand upon them, no matter our differences. Small business will struggle they are the backbone of the US economy and have been since its creation; they will prevail.

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