How Can Small Businesses Endure the COVID-19 Crisis?

How Can Small Businesses Endure the COVID-19 Crisis

Dawn Desmelyk, Commercial Lending Portfolio Officer

The ongoing COVID-19 crisis is impacting nearly everyone in the country, and the world. But among those hardest hit have been small businesses – both their owners and employees – who can’t afford to simply furlough workers, shut down operations and wait until the pandemic passes. Small businesses depend on continuous cash flow to survive day-to-day, and a mass failure of local enterprises would have devastating consequences for communities nationwide. That’s why the government is now providing emergency aid and loans to small businesses1 aimed at covering employee salaries as well as utilities, mortgages and other essential costs. But for small business owners with bills and mortgages to pay, kids to send to college and basic lifestyles to maintain, this may not be enough.

There are no easy answers in such an unprecedented crisis. But there are a few things businesses may be able to do – depending on their industry, location and circumstance – to ease the financial toll and set themselves up for recovery and growth.
Person holding business paper

Maintain as much cash flow as possible:
Though small businesses have seen their normal operations enormously curtailed by social distancing and stay home orders in states throughout the country, there are still ways to continue providing services – and promoting them. Restaurants, for instance, can still provide take-out and delivery in many places. A local restaurant owner can take to social media and advertise their establishment is still open for business, just not for in-house dining. Promotions, discounts and even giveaways can spur more people to patronize your business, so far as state and/or federal regulations allow. And for businesses with mostly online transactions, making it possible for employees to work from home, helps to keep some revenue coming in. It’s not business as usual for anyone right now, but before you cut your staff or close up shop, consider ways you might be able to keep operations open during the shutdown. And in conjunction with possible government loans, you won’t have to see your revenue and customer base dry up completely.

Reevaluate – and reduce – your spending:
Sometimes a crisis is a good time to focus on things you’ve “been meaning to get to.” One of those things is taking a good, hard look at expenses to see what can be trimmed. The demand of day-to-day operations can make it easy to lose sight of services you’re paying for that you don’t need, vendors that are charging more than competitors, and various other line items that can be cut or curtailed to save some money. Take this period of slowdown to thoroughly audit of expenses and make adjustments. When it comes to business expenses like payroll services, insurance and employee benefits, look into what Affinity offers over the products and services you’re currently paying for; it could be a good time to change your financial institution if you’re not already an Affinity member.

Put money into a business savings account:
If you manage to preserve cash flow with the help of government loans or subsidies,2 move some money into a business savings account – consider it cushion for when the stimulus ends. It may seem counterintuitive to put cash away in an account you shouldn’t touch during an emergency, but it’s sound advice to shore up money in the short-term, as it’s increasingly likely the economy will be in a downturn for some time after COVID-19 peaks. Affinity offers three types of business savings accounts – traditional Business Savings, Business Money Manager and Business Certificates – that each have competitive rates. The traditional Business Savings account has competitive dividend earnings, no service charges and no minimum balance fees, meaning it won’t cost you money – and can actually earn you money – to save.

The COVID-19 crisis is like nothing we’ve experienced in recent memory – and the impact on small businesses in particular is enormous. But the principles of sound personal and business finance remain true, even during times of uncertainty. If you’re a small business owner, you’re likely worried about your future, with good reason. Following these tips can help to reduce some of the stress and anxiety, and ultimately set you up to rebuild.

For additional information and updates from Affinity about COVID-19, please visit https://www.affinityfcu.com/banking/we're-here-for-you.aspx

                                                   

This information is for informational purposes only and is intended to provide general guidance and does not constitute legal, tax, or financial advice. Each person’s circumstances are different and may not apply to the specific information provided. You should seek the advice of a financial professional, tax consultant, and/or legal counsel to discuss your specific needs before making any financial or other commitments regarding the matters related to your condition are made.  

1 Retrieved from https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/26/success/small-business-economic-stimulus/index.html

2 Retrieved from  https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-to-apply-for-small-business-loans-under-the-coronavirus-stimulus-bill-11585235059