America’s small business sector is currently on an emotional roller coaster. Let me tell you a story about how far back we have to go – over 240 years – to find comparable unprecedented circumstances imposing similar anxiety on Main Street.
During the Revolutionary War (1775-1783), colonial business owners, who were also American Patriots, were up against that conflict’s ebb and flow as it overlaid their marketplace. In any given month, the Continental Army would be dominant in a region, allowing the Patriot’s business to operate with its owner’s politics on display. But when the British later occupied that region, patrolling Redcoats would create a different atmosphere, as the King claimed military and political dominance.
During that unprecedented period, the life of any Patriot entrepreneur became extremely complicated. As they attempted to claim liberty, they simultaneously had to balance the risks of their business with a very real threat to their lives and beloved families. And as they contemplated these factors, surely they had to allow for the possibility that the revolution might fail. On the subject of risk management – more safety or more liberty – Franklin offered this immortal truth: “Those who trade liberty for safety deserve neither.”