It’s fairly obvious that “business as usual” no longer applies to any of us. That’s why, for the next few weeks I plan to focus on things we can do to keep moving forward—even in uncertain times. I plan to take a look at essential thinking, planning, and execution—in light of some of the challenges we all currently face. I’m also very aware that there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution. While we’re all affected by the spread of COVID-19, not everyone is impacted in the same way. I hope that the principles I’ll be sharing will help you move forward in a way that’s appropriate for your specific situation.
Scaling Up in Uncertain Times: Consider New Cash Options
The Coronavirus pandemic has turned a lot of things on their heads. Nothing seems to be the same. Interestingly, when it comes to scaling your business, some things never change. The way you go about business may be radically different, but many of the principles of business remain the same. Whether we’re in a time of crisis or not, businesses need cash. How do you address that need when there is so much uncertainty all around? It may make sense to consider new cash options.
Scaling Requires Cash
We all know that nothing kills growth faster than running out of cash. Scaling up your business means being able to operate at a higher level. That may require additional employees. Perhaps you’ll need more equipment or upgrades to your hardware and software. It could also mean you need more infrastructure. All of those things require cash.
How do you keep moving forward and scaling up your business when your customers are hesitant about buying, are late paying their bills, or are simply sitting on the sidelines with their checkbooks closed? Let’s explore some of the options that are now (or will soon be) available to you.
Different Times Require Different Resources
Uncertain times such as these may force you to look beyond the traditional sources you consider for finances. In Colorado Springs, where our offices are headquartered, a local incubator/accelerator for startup technology businesses has launched a $1 million fund to make immediate emergency loans of up to $25,000 to local small businesses to help them survive the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. They are offering three-year, low-interest- rate loans designed for local businesses that were viable before the pandemic hit, need immediate financial help and may not be able to qualify for traditional emergency financing.
The Economic Development Officer for Colorado Springs said the fund is the first of several business loans and grant programs the city plans to announce in the coming weeks. That’s just one small example of alternative funding available in one area. Start doing searches for what’s available where you operate. Even if you don’t need the cash immediately, it’s good to have sources in mind and have your “ducks in a row” so that you can move quickly.
Protecting Employee Paychecks
Keeping your employees paid takes up a significant amount of cash. If at all possible, you want to take care of your employees. Not only is this the right thing to do (if possible) but providing for your employees’ needs also builds trust and loyalty. When things finally turn around (and they will at some point) you’ll want to retain your best employees.
Click to check out the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) specifics. Click here to download the PPP application. Because different states have different requirements, you’ll want to gather the information that is pertinent to your situation. Here’s a site that allows you to find the financial relief information for small businesses in your state. Inc.com offers a list of free tools, resources, and financial help for business owners from a wide variety of sources.
Hope is Not a Strategy
There is no doubt that cash is a significant concern for any business looking to scale up. But doing nothing and simply hoping you can make it through isn’t a strategy. Without knowing more specifics about your business and your financial needs, I can’t tell you which course to take. However, availing yourself of the information highlighted here is a huge step forward. If you want to talk about where to look—or to get some help evaluating your current situation, click here to schedule a free 30-minute phone or Zoom conversation with me.
The Coronavirus Isn’t Your Only Challenge
In times of uncertainty, it’s easy to focus exclusively on current concerns. Of course, you need to do that, but you also need to keep a long-range perspective. The current crisis will pass. Keep in mind where you want to be down the road. Focus on the essentials of scaling. Avoid the traps that can sidetrack you when things finally settle down. I encourage you to download our free How to Avoid the Growth Traps eBook to help you do that.
Stay safe and keep scaling!