5 Ways Charlotte Businesses Can Be More Resilient During A Crisis
The general economy is booming right now, but things aren't looking so well for individual firms.
By the way, if that describes you and your company (not so rosy), there are a slew of grants, tax credits, and low-interest loans available – though navigating them effectively can be difficult.
Allow us to assist you: https://calendly.com/saragonzalez
According to the most recent federal figures, roughly 200,000 more businesses shuttered permanently last year than would have happened in a typical year.
And I genuinely hope that your business has reopened, will reopen soon, or was never fully closed in the first place.
However, regardless of which class you belong into, there are a number of “best practises” that management consultants, business counsellors, and MBA “thought leaders” have proposed for how major organisations should reopen.
As a result, I felt it would be good to condense some of those lessons into practical advice for small Charlotte businesses to become more crisis-resistant today.
First, a few of reminders...
- About $40 billion in PPP loan finance is still available as of this writing. The deadline for applications is May 31, but funds will most likely be given much sooner. Make sure you apply for the first or second draw if you haven't already. (As a reminder, this is done through a lending institution, such as your bank or Paypal/Kabbage or similar services.)
- Businesses can deduct some expenses paid for with PPP loan funds on their 2021 business return if they weren't deducted on their 2020 tax return, according to new IRS guidelines released last week. If you live in Gastonia, talk to us about it so we can make sure you get these deductions on your 2021 tax return when we submit it next year.
- The IRS is delayed on removing estimated tax payments from accounts for the first quarter. Don't worry if you haven't yet received yours through an automatic bank withdrawal... They assure us that everything will be taken care of and that there will be no consequences. (However, it's preferable to keep your powder dry just in case.) If necessary, we'll assist you.)
Now, as the events of 2020 begin to recede into the rearview mirror, let's dive into some recommendations for getting your Charlotte business back up to speed...
5 Ways Charlotte Businesses Can Be More Resilient During A Crisis
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
As the economy recovers and life returns to normal, one thing becomes clear: normal ain't what it used to be. Because I cringe every time I hear the phrase "new normal," I'm not going to use it. Oh, no, I just did it. I swear, that was the only time!
So, as lockdowns are lifted, vaccines are distributed, and people emerge from their caves for the first time in a year to see sunlight, what can Gastonia business owners do to not only smooth the transition back to full-strength operations, but also to make their company more resilient in a crisis?
TIP #1: Make a Plan You Can Trust to Be More Resilient in a Crisis
We don't discuss politics in this house. We recognise and respect the fact that everyone has diverse perspectives on important issues. Whatever your personal feelings are about certain actions taken during the past year, the fact is that they were done. That is simply the reality of our situation. As a result, your Charlotte business re-opening strategy must account for this reality.
You must be comfortable with how you operate as you reopen your business, expand offerings, and so on. Your staff and consumers feel the same way. Employees will not show up for work if they do not feel secure engaging with your company, and customers will not give you business if they do not feel safe. Have a sensible discussion with your employees about their (and your) expectations for things like sanitising surfaces, using personal protective equipment (which is tax deductible! ), social distancing, and other issues. Everyone should be on the same page, and you won't get there unless you have a talk with your employees.
Above all, don't forget about your customers. As things return to normal, have an idea of how YOUR customers will want your business to appear and feel. It doesn't even have to be about whether or not you force customers to wear masks. No, this is about the big picture, and I want Gastonia residents to be big picture thinkers.
Home delivery, for example, has spoilt a lot of people. This has become an inextricable component of the commercial landscape. Is this something that Charlotte residents anticipate? Is it possible to enhance revenue by providing this service if you don't have it already?
Consider the many items and services you provide. Will some people be able to sell more quickly than others? For example, because demand is so high, this is a terrific moment to be a homebuilder. Determine what your clients will be most interested in, and be prepared to accommodate that demand with more inventory or extended service capability.
What are your customer needs for your personnel if your business requires you or your employees to physically visit Gastonia job sites, conduct deliveries, or provide other on-site services? Some firms, for example, require that visiting service staff be vaccinated. You'll have to figure out how to handle this within your company and with your employees.
TIP #2: Strengthen Your Supply Chain to Become More Resilient in a Crisis
The price of lumber has more than tripled as a result of sawmill closures (due to a combination of government orders and sick staff). Computer chips, which are required to create everything from cars to talking children's toys, have caused shortages and price increases in other goods. The global supply of motorbike parts was disrupted by a single little watercraft driving into the sand.
Supply chain interruptions occur frequently. I've always done so, and I'll continue to do so. However, as the economic standard has evolved to "just in time" delivery in recent years, these minor snafus inflict more harm than they used to.
You're not immune to them just because you're a little Charlotte business. Several of our clients have already told us about their experiences.
Here are some basic recommendations to assist ensure your supply chain's long-term viability:
- Use a variety of vendors. Never rely on a single supply, material, or inventory source.
- If at all possible, source locally. You'll save money on shipping and customs, and you'll avoid the interruption created by worldwide events, in addition to supporting local Charlotte businesses.
- Increase your own storage capacity. Yes, this will increase prices, but it will also reduce disturbance. Have enough storage space to keep a little extra product or raw materials on hand to keep your business running longer if your supply chain breaks down.
TIP #3: Embrace the Digital to Be More Resilient in a Crisis
A increasing reliance on all things digital is another permanent development in the economy. It's time to stand up to the plate if you're a bit of a technophobe or if you know your company is technologically behind the times.
There have been significant developments, such as certain positions becoming permanent work-from-home opportunities. If you work in a firm that has roles like this, you've already had to adapt. If not, consider whether roles can be done in this manner and accept the adjustment. Some employees may require it, and it might help you save money in other areas, such as the amount of office space you need to lease.
Certain sales and service products should also be moved online. Modern consumers demand these modern digital conveniences from even the smallest of enterprises, from arranging service calls to placing orders to making payments. It will have a negative influence on your firm if you are unable to meet these consumer sentiments. This trend began well before the recent economic downturn; the epidemic just expedited and solidified consumer expectations.
TIP #4: Create a Disaster Response Plan to Become More Resilient in a Crisis
Floods, fires, hurricanes, and pandemics (...toilet paper shortages) are all possibilities. Natural disasters are unavoidable, and all of my Gastonia business owners must be prepared for the next one. It's not a question of "if," but of "when."
Nobody wants to think about what will happen in a crisis, but it is the only way to prepare for it. More than 40% of local small businesses that are harmed by a natural disaster never reopen, according to FEMA. Make contact with local emergency management authorities to explore local contingency plans for disasters that occur frequently in our area. Use this knowledge to create your own emergency response strategy to safeguard your company's long-term existence.
TIP #5: Build a Cash Reserve for Your Business to Be More Resilient in a Crisis
Most financial advisers recommend that most people have at least three months' worth of spending in their emergency fund. For businesses, business experts will usually prescribe something similar.
Regrettably, the majority of companies never create such a fund. Most firms had less than a month's worth of expenses in the bank a year ago. As a result, when the economic bombshell landed, many firms were caught off guard.
If you haven't already, make the most of opportunities to boost your bank account from outside sources, such as:
- Loans from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
- Directly from the SBA, Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL).
- SBA 7(a) loans are “regular” loans.
- Grants for economic development from the state
Get imaginative with creating cash flow from within your company in addition to these external sources. This is a great opportunity to hold sales, adopt new recurring income tactics, and provide service pre-payment incentives.
In order to enhance your personal cash flow, this can be a good moment to negotiate credit and payment arrangements with vendors.
Finally, if you normally give credit to your customers, factoring allows you to quickly transform portion of those accounts receivable into cash. You may not want to factor all of your receivables because factoring can be a costly source of income. But don't dismiss it as a contingency plan for bolstering financial reserves.
Returning to normal is a good thing, and everyone in Charlotte is looking forward to it. However, we must all acknowledge that “normal” is no longer what it used to be. As the economy recovers, it's a good idea to prepare your company, both financially and otherwise, to operate in this new economic environment. Let's talk about how to make your company more crisis-resistant:
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