Physician-Entrepreneur Viewpoint of COVID-19 as It Relates to Business

The world is changing fast, and yet at the same time it has been a VERY LONG 2 weeks while we slowly transition to a "Safer at Home" mindset. If you are anything like me, I try to accomplish as much as possible with the time I am given so that I can have a positive impact on the world, but the past 2 weeks have been a real struggle due to the vast number of changes that are occurring. Today is the last day of Q1 (March 31) for most businesses and these are my thoughts from both a business mindset and a medical training.

In 2015, I started my post-residency medical career as a Hospitalists Physician in Milwaukee, WI. On the other hand I will be celebrating 14 years of running my own businesses in the Temporary Staffing Space; but more specifically, we will be having our 10-year anniversary for USA Staffing Services in May 2020. The past 4 weeks have dramatically changed the way I see and approach both areas of my life. The physician part of me says, "This is a virus that efficiently spreads and infects people of all ages throughout the globe." However the entrepreneur in me says, "The is a virus that effectively shut down the entire global economy over an 8-week period. What opportunities will come as a result of this dramatic shift?"

This virus has already affected small businesses in a dramatic way, and after a few short weeks we are seeing the businesses who can adapt and change compared to the businesses who have clearly not kept up with the changing economy. As a business owner, I have a duty to my employees to constantly keep the business healthy and up-to-date on the latest technology and advances while also ensuring a financially stable business model. Just like a virus attacking a body, if the business is fundamentally stable, constantly up-to-date with the latest trends and always looking ahead to improve, then it will survive this infection both literally and figuratively.

The stimulus money that is being injected into the economy will specifically help the medium-risk businesses and allow them an additional 4-6 months to adapt, but my gut tells me we will see the majority of the over-leveraged, fundamentally weak and under-performing businesses fail due to lack of adaptability. This period in our world is a make-or-break period for businesses, and the strong will survive just like most of the medical patients I care for in the hospital.

The economy is being brutally attacked by both the virus and the "safer at home" approach that has been taking over most states throughout the nation. While I understand that "flattening the curve" will allow hospitals to manage the flow of patients better, it does not mean that the "area under the curve" will change, which means we will be seeing infections for a long time. I struggle on a daily basis with the idea of "safer at home" because while I understand it has the potential and possibility to save lives in the near term, the medium and long-term affects on personal, mental, physical and emotional well-being of people and the economy will definitely be something we will need to deal with down the road.

We have to keep in mind that millions of people are now unemployed due to nothing more than a state-regulated mandate as a "preventive measure," and many sectors of our economy have come to a shutdown for the foreseeable future without a good plan to restart. Small businesses and the economy have a long road to recovery and as the next few weeks unfold, I am going to be looking for the vital signs of survival in the form of new hires, restarting of factories and opening of restaurants. Just like many medical infections, this virus quickly infected the economy and now it is on the shoulders of businesses to survive and ultimately thrive.


Matthew Kolinski