It’s estimated that upwards of 9.4 million businesses closed, either permanently or temporarily, during the COVID-19 pandemic. So what does it look like to navigate impending economic challenges in the current economic climate?

Host, Jim Matuga, sat down with Jonathan Board, Chairman of the Board of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce; Anna Carrier, Co-owner of the Cupcakerie; Booker Walton III, President of MTC LLC; Brooke Glover, CEO and Founder of Swilled Dog; and Jill Scarbro-McLaury, CEO of Bright Futures Learning Services.

Recession is a word that’s picking up some steam in the mainstream and is generally defined as a fall in the gross domestic product over successive quarters. Add onto the several apocalyptic prophecies things like record inflation, gas prices, and lackluster consumer confidence; the economic downturn seems to be just around the corner.

“The whole world is in chaos right now,” said Scarbro. “It’s best to operate by the golden rule and [say] we’re all doing the best we can, and that’s all we can do every day.”

The panelists offered the golden rule or ‘grace’ as a critical motivator for economic flexibility as products, services, and distribution have been down over the last several years.

The business world is an ecosystem, with other businesses aiding one another in their success. For example, the cupcake business suffers when the Cupcakerie needs sugar or flour, but the distributors are behind on products due to COVID-19 regulations.

“You get to the point of frustration where it’s just not worth being frustrated anymore,” said Carrier. “Everyone’s fighting the same battle, and we all need a little grace until we can get out of this funk.”

The Marion County Chamber of Commerce has attempted to navigate the overall crisis by attempting to increase the bottom line.

“Marion County just announced a huge project on the northern side [of the city],” said Board. “It’s not always a bad idea to carry a little debt. It might help you know where your money is going, when it should go there, and how you [should] hire.”

The way out of a potential economic crisis will be through teamwork, creativity, and grace. It’s one thing to keep your business afloat; quite another to thrive and help others in the process.

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