FILE PHOTO: A delicatessen is closed due to the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Brooklyn, New York, March 26, 2020. REUTERS / Stephen Yang / File Photo
May 14, 2020
By Beatrix Lockwood
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Small businesses are hardest hit as the coronavirus pandemic continues to cause economic uncertainty in US communities.
When some of the national economies reopened, we invited a group of small business experts to return to a subsequent discussion as part of our #AskReuters Twitter chat series.
You can find edited highlights below.
Why and how are small businesses affected by this pandemic?
“Many small businesses are disproportionately affected because they do not have cash reserves and borrowing to keep them going, and their business models are not always designed to generate monthly recurring earnings.”
– Bob Chalfin, a lecturer in management at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
Many small businesses are still waiting for government aid. Any tips on cutting red tape and surviving?
“I hear that the processing time for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan has improved significantly recently, so there may be hope. Also consider local and state funding. Many cities offer grants and other support to local businesses. ”
– Janet Alvarez, editor-in-chief of Wise Bread
What can political decision-makers, financial institutions and even consumers do besides the federal aid programs to respond to the needs of small businesses?
“If there ever was a time when lenders, landlords and credit agencies broke, suspended and reconsidered rules, now is the time to do it. See what all of the above can do to help. ”
– Michael Sherrod, entrepreneur at the Neeley School of Business at Texas Christian University
When it comes to help and loans, there is some confusion about what needs to be repaid and when. How should small businesses deal with their repayment plans?
“Careful! Keep an eye on the ups and downs (and seasonality) of your working capital when planning cash flow. Don’t be afraid to ask your bank to slow down your repayment schedule if you can show that it is necessary – but it is crucial that you have your numbers under control to ask this question! ”
– Tom Schryver, lecturer at the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University
What are the biggest mistakes small businesses have made since the crisis?
“The biggest mistake I’ve seen is panic based on rumors. The situation changes so quickly that there are many rumors. Stay up to date and find out about rumors in your network. ”
– Tom Sullivan, vice president of small business policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce
What are some of the smartest steps small businesses have taken in the midst of the pandemic?
“Some of the smarter small business owners have quickly adapted to messaging, for example, by contacting customers through social media or cold calling so they are still open, for example, for home delivery.”
– Kashif A. Ahmed, founder and president of American Private Wealth, LLC
For many small businesses, the reopening is comparable to the first opening. What advice do you have to plan – and pay for the reopening?
“Open again in stages. Set a schedule for the startup. The business is likely to be sluggish at first. It is better not to have a product anymore than to have too much too early. Coordinate with suppliers and suppliers to get the product you need at each stage. Concentrate on the cash flow. ”
– Carl Peterson, vice president of small business interests at the American Institute of CPAs
What are the key changes small businesses need to make to be successful when the economy reopens?
“Understand your customers and adapt them to their needs, including providing a safe environment for employees and customers. Focus on customer satisfaction and quality – the volume may be less, but there is an opportunity to make every transaction more profitable. ”
– Mark West, national vice president of business solutions at Principal
What are you optimistic about at the moment when it comes to small businesses?
“Ingenuity and hard work determine the characteristics of small business owners. If we give them the tools to rebuild – a new deal for small businesses – they will create jobs and economic activities on our main roads and lead the country out of the big lockdown. ”
– Jacob Haar, managing partner of Community Investment Management
(Edited by Lauren Young and Richard Chang)
This article originally appeared on www.oann.com