As we continue to navigate the challenges of the COVID health crisis, we need to keep moving forward, one step at a time. A good place to start is supporting local business. When we help our local businesses move forward, we move our communities forward, which then moves Montana forward.
During the month of November, we will be celebrating small businesses across the state. At Stockman, every Saturday is Small Business Saturday!
Here are some financial tips from Bill Coffee to help small businesses as they work to move forward.
- First and foremost, don’t just automatically run out and borrow as much as you can. The State of Montana, US Small Business Administration and other agencies have helpful programs. However, it may not be best for your situation to borrow the maximum from each eligible program. Make sure you understand the parameters (eligibility, costs, payback/forgiveness, reporting/monitoring, etc.) and your anticipated use of the funds.
- Give serious thought, with realistic expectations, to how long it will take you to get back to pre-COVID levels. I believe it will take most small businesses a year from now to get back to these levels. Some will never get back to pre-COVID levels.
- Do strategic planning about your business needs. Don’t just go back to what you were previously doing. Plan how your business will operate during this restart period and then the next phase after restart (it may be one step forward one step back). You will need to scale your business, plan your budget, inventory, work force, and other aspects accordingly. Unfortunately, it is not, and will not, just be business as usual. Many business models are permanently changed.
- Flexibility and nimbleness are key. Change continues to come quickly. Some current trends, such as working and shopping from home, are becoming more long-term. Being positioned and prepared to adjust to changes that can occur instantly has never been more important. Make sure you’ve got not only a Plan A but also a Plan B and a Plan C for several possible scenarios.
- After this thorough soul searching, planning and projecting, contact your banker to discuss the available options. Focus on your specific needs and what you anticipate the future holds.
- At Stockman Bank, we have cash management tools and lending products available to make you more efficient. Stockman’s uniquely Montana focused services allow you additional time to be strategic, so you can focus, plan and prepare for what lies ahead. And for your personal banking needs, our robust online platform provides free tools for helping you budget and manage your finances, cashflow and credit score.