Last week, we provided you with some guidance on dealing with the current financial disruption caused by the Coronavirus. This is intended to supplement, not replace, last week’s guidance.
We’ve suggested our clients establish a banking relationship, including a business line of credit. If you don’t have a LOC, or if your LOC doesn’t represent your current business size, you should be contacting your bank to either establish, or increase your business LOC. If you need assistance, we have a number of banking contacts that can help.
The SBA has approved emergency lending to small businesses and you can get information at their website. Later today, the SBA is hosting a conference call with information.
Here is a link to the disaster loan application site: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/
Here is a link to the conference call/roundtable: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/637285041691413261
One note: Maryland has applied to be recognized as a disaster area to make businesses in the State eligible for these loans, but the application has not yet been approved/certified. You can not receive emergency funding as a Maryland business until Maryland is approved. We expect this to occur today or within another business day or so.
You should be making an effort to cut costs, where possible. Consider contacting your landlords, and other payees and asking for abatement on upcoming payments. We’re suggesting you ask for 3-4 months of abatement to be either due upon the resumption of normal business, or tacked onto the end of the term of your business obligation.
Certainly, one of the toughest areas of discussion. One mistake small businesses make is waiting too long to lay off employees. History is littered with failed businesses that did not act rapidly enough to downsize during financial stress. Cutting your employees is a kindness to both you and them. You, in that you can save the expense now, and prolong the continuity of the business. For your employees, we’re giving them the opportunity to have a business to return to once the crisis has ended. If your business does not survive, your employees won’t thank you for hanging in there for an extra 2 weeks to 30 days.
If you have employees that are not essential, or you have more capacity currently, than clients… you should be strongly considering layoffs.
Hours of Operation and Locations
For those of you that have clients who come to your location (or locations) you may consider cuts to hours, shifts, and individual locations. Look at the patterns of your customers. If your busiest time is 1pm – 6pm, consider shifting your hours around only those times. If you have clients with the ability to access multiple locations consider temporarily shuttering one or more locations. For example, if you have offices in Towson, Timonium, and Hunt Valley or Columbia, Maple Lawn, and Beltsville, or Severna Park, Annapolis, and Pasadena…. Consider how you might combine these locations. This will assist you in downsizing / rightsizing employee levels while also serving those clients who want/need your products/service.
At GST we’ve been (as you likely know) working to launch on-line platforms for you to get information, communicate, plan, and later – should this situation continue for a protracted time – to have business development meetings virtually. We expect this to be running and have your groups and individual meetings returned to your normal schedules within the next week. Meanwhile, continue to reach out with questions, or should you need assistance.