The pandemic has affected the global economy and our region alike. Many of our small businesses have faced challenges to their revenue and profitability. They’re worried about covering today’s overhead and expenses, and even more worried about what that means for the ability to finance the business in the future. It’s not all doom and gloom, though. With some flexible thinking and careful planning, you can position your business for success on the other side of the crisis. Here are three things to consider as we move toward a post-pandemic economy:
Cost of Goods Sold
The COVID-19 pandemic’s disruption to the supply cycle has resulted in increased costs across the board. While minor fluctuations in your cost of goods sold can be expected, this widespread increase may have a significant impact on profitability. Is it time to raise prices for your goods or services? Do you need to revise your menu or retail selection? This is not “business as usual” time, so do not be afraid to take an unconventional action to ensure profitability.
Staffing shortages have hit business owners throughout the COVID-19 public health emergency and are at an all-time high. The employee shortage coincided with the return of travel and tourism resulting in a perfect storm for business owners during the busy summer season. Tough decisions have had to be made, such as reducing hours, closing certain days of the week, or shifting from full-service to a take-out operation. Three years ago, a business owner may have thought the idea of not being open seven days a week during the height of the summer was preposterous. In today’s climate, nothing is off the table.
Financing Through Lean Times
The winter is the right time to get a solid plan in place for financing. Do you have a plan for paying your overhead, yourself and your staff if needed? Do you need a short-term cash infusion to get through the quiet months?
Look at your books now and project just how much you’ll need to get through the winter. Then talk to your banker, who you ideally already have a strong relationship with. We hear from too many business owners that they didn’t think they’d qualify for a loan, so they didn’t ask. And oftentimes that’s just not the case. There are myriad options available, even beyond the traditional programs you may be familiar with. You may qualify for a specific program for women-owned businesses, veterans, minority-owned businesses, and others. Tap into your banker’s knowledge of all the options available to you.
Also consider that lenders take a broad view of a business’s credit assessment when reviewing risk. So, for a business seeking help today, a lender will take into consideration 2018 and 2019 numbers, along with current sales figures, which for some have rebounded to near pre-pandemic levels.
As you continue to navigate the challenges ahead, remember that there are no “one size fits all” scenarios. Our Business Banking team at The Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod is here to help you create a custom plan for your business’s success today, and well into the future.
Allyson Brainson is a Vice President and Small Business Relationship Manager with The Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod. Contact Allyson at 508.568.1205 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article will be featured in the November edition of Cape and Plymouth Business.