Business minding 

By | May 26, 2020

I guess I have to admit I am becoming less optimistic about this Covid deal. I was all in when it began. The government was projecting millions of deaths if we didn’t do “something.” However, now we have done “something,” but if you look at the backtrack, it weaves like a midnight highway on Canada Day. Shelter in place, social distance, quarantine, shut down churches, open up pot dispensaries, masks, no masks, wear gloves “properly….” Everybody is an expert. 

Kerry Knudsen

Now, some are advocating for no return to work unless a vaccine comes out. The problem is, there is little likelihood of an effective vaccine. By “effective,” I mean a vaccine that provides immunity. Measles vaccines give immunity. So do rabies vaccines, polio vaccines and smallpox vaccines. But flu? At the best of times, a flu shot provides limited immunity, and there are no vaccines for other such coronaviruses as MERS and SARS.  

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a medical doctor or a wanna-be. I just try to research and understand. For example, one thing I have not heard discussed is the “challenge dose.” In brief, a challenge dose in the amount of pathogen necessary to ensure infection in a lab animal. You can give an animal a little virus or a little bacteria, and it it’s not enough to kill it, it may provide immunity. That shows a distinction between a dangerous dose and a non-dangerous dose. The way it’s being reported, it sounds as if one particulate in 10 billion can kill you if you don’t follow enough rules. 

I just wish they would tell us they don’t know if they don’t know. I imagine the big secret has to do with blame, since all sides are locked and loaded to use germ warfare in the next election here, or south of the border. Everybody’s fault but ours. 

 

There are, however, reasons to be worried. A favourite restaurant down in Burlington, Ont., on the lake shore is gone. Dead. Out of business after 30 years of supporting a family. 

I always wonder what happens to families that lose their businesses. I know there is no hard-and-fast rule. Some start new ones. Some go to work in the same business they once owned. Some commit suicide. 

One acquaintance has a couple of gyms. On one, the TMIs (taxes, maintenance and interest) are $6,000 per month, not counting the lease, and the landlord has to apply for assistance, which had not happened last time we spoke. We don’t know how this one ends out, but the business is on the ropes. 

Canada’s largest banks yesterday reported prospective losses of $8.9 billion in bad loans that will “wipe out more than half their profits.” Hard to tear up. Banks get paid while they sleep. 

Of course, the bank employees also get paid, the government workers get paid, the out-of-work teachers get paid, the pensioners get paid…. Maybe you get paid. 

The government says small businesses can open up with restrictions. Restaurants may soon open at 25 percent capacity. This is what the government thinks of small business. Open up, pay your overheads and make a profit at 25 percent turnover. Politicians know nothing of business, and thinking they can help is remarkably unbrilliant. 

Your customers, our readers, may not make it. Some will; some won’t. But the government is encouraging us to suck it up and be ready for an extension of the lockdown — for some. Please be quiet, they say. Bigger businesses need more help sooner. Anybody that has lived on a farm knows you don’t make scary noises on the way to the abattoir.  

Some of your customers won’t make it. A $40k government loan with a $10k treat if you pay back within 18 months is sort of disheartening. We each have our own budgets and burdens, but $10k will barely cover one mail bill from Canada Post on a slow month for us. And there is a kickback on wages, but for us that has been on and off. Mostly off. It depends. Some months the spreadsheets recommend suspending publication just to pick up the subsidy. One of the weirdest things I have seen. 

 

What are we doing about it at W.I. Media Inc.? We will give you the best access to your market in the country, bar none. Now, more than ever, this is critical. An industry must have a way to communicate. Self-isolating in business is remarkably unbrilliant. Folks need to know you’re alive. 

Of all the magazines in our sector, we provide the most deliberate, reader-focused, original material. Period. I will likely never understand why information resources got bullied so badly by special interests. Weakness and greed, I guess. But our readers tell us time after time that we are the best. We don’t spam them on a daily basis as our competitors do, even though we have the addresses and we could. And we don’t rely on heavy-handed suppliers to take their turns at being propaganda columnists. 

How many times have we pointed to our countries’ professional standards to try and teach those that never learned? According to the Canadian Code of Advertising StandardsAdvertising’andadvertisement(s)are defined as any message (other than those excluded from the application of thisCode), the content of which message is controlled directly or indirectly by the advertiser expressed in any language and communicated in any medium (except those listed under Exclusions) to Canadians with the intent to influence their choice, opinion or behaviour. 

Does everybody get that? Any column, new product release, news item, profile or feature that is supplied by an advertiser is an ad, NOT original content. 

This is not some silly rule thought up by a committee of out-of-work writers. It is the result of decades of studies and trials. Germany tried its version of propaganda based on what it believed to be the American (Bernays) model back in the mid-last century. It works up to a point, then people get irked. People that actually know publishing know this. People that know bean-counting both don’t know it, and can’t get it. Believe me. People that know neither just kneel for the meanest bidder. 

Of course, it is common in trade magazines to sell out the market. Monkey see/monkey do. I see Quebecor yesterday announced it is launching a new “native ad” format on 15 of its sites. I wonder if any of those geniuses ever went to school. I’m betting not. 

To them, the market is replaceable. Business abhors a void, they will say, and if they suck the blood from their sites and magazines, as for which there is such a long history, they figure another site or magazine will pop up and they can suck on that one, too. 

But that leaves the market swinging in the wind. Nobody to trust. Nowhere to turn. Politicians know nothing of business, and hoping for them to help is also remarkably unbrilliant. 

Take a look at our content, our photos, our standards and our credibility with the readers.  

If you have an idea how to help your customers survive this barrage and come out standing, we’re here to help. It’s the way a proper campaign wins ground. If our readers liked abattoirs, they would have owned delis. 

  

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