A Checklist for Small Manufacturers and Distributors.
Right now you are in an alternate universe and the only priority in your life is the survival of your business. While each Black Swan Event is different, the survival steps are not. I was a CEO during “Black Friday”, “9/11” and the “2018 Financial Meltdown” and my small manufacturing companies survived. Here is a list of steps I would take now to help your company survive during the current crisis:
The first step is to read about the SBA programs . While limited in amounts there are various loans available, some of them have a forgiveness clause. If you have a SBA loan right now, the SBA will pay both principle and interest for the next six months. If you do not have an SBA loan, get one now, just in case. However keep in mind that any SBA or FEMA funding will require a personal guarantee.
2) Your State and Local Government
If your business is in Florida, the best list of resources is available from the Florida League of Cities , but be aware that at this point, states do not give direct financial aid. What they are doing is waiving fees and changing regulations that can reduce your fixed and operating costs. If you are in another state, the best way to start looking is at the Secretary of State Web page.
3) Your Employees
If you are a non-essential business, you have been closed down and your revenue has come to a dead stop. While you may be able to carry your employees for a short time, the payroll costs will eventually kill you.
Your priority should be to participate in whatever help trickles out from the Stimulus package just passed by Congress. The New York Times article gives you some background on what is available for you to cover your payroll expenses.
Once again, a personal guarantee may be necessary. What helps with SBA loans is to have a great relationship with your banker. This is a good time to talk to him or her, especially if you have a line of credit or a loan from them. They can use the existing paperwork for a new loan.
4) Your Facility
If you already own a facility, there is help getting more time to pay your utility bills and mortgage. If you are renting, this is the time to make a deal with your landlord for either a reduction or a temporary suspension of your rent payment, and pay him back over time once business returns to normal.
5) Your Inventory
If it is not perishable, you will need to maintain a skeleton staff to fill orders that will continue to trickle in.
If it is perishable – donate it locally. In the long-term, the goodwill you will earn by doing good (but try to get some publicity out of it) will be worth much more than dumping it for a tax loss that you may never need.
6) Your Customers
During this time do not forget your customers. When things go back to normal, and they will eventually, you will need them. Call each one personally, if possible, not to sell, but to see how they are doing. Reaching out will make both of you feel better.
Do not underestimate the need for speed. Reading the SBA program should be done tonight. Seeking financial assistance needs to be a constant activity. With the massive shut-down, all help from the government will be on a first come, first served basis and their websites and phone lines will be overwhelmed. Do not lose your cool. Be patient but persistent.
8) Take Care of Yourself
Lastly, make sure you take care of yourself. Take time to appreciate your family, take time to appreciate nature, take time to appreciate the community you live in. Your family, employees and community are looking to you for leadership. Be kind, be generous and be in control of yourself.
Remember – this too will end!
If you would like to discuss your situation on a no-obligation basis please contact us .