Earlier this month, the government declared that the COVID-19 state of emergency is over. While a relief to many that the immediate concerns of this health crisis have appeared to subside, there are still some lingering challenges, originating from the onset of the pandemic, that businesses will continue to maneuver through over the next several years. As in most cases, not all of these lasting effects are necessarily good or bad — rather, they are awareness points that, as entrepreneurs, we need to be cognizant of and manage appropriately.
- Small Business Association (SBA) Lending Programs: The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) provided much needed funding to the Small Business community at a time when it was definitely needed — and this funding helped businesses survive. Although funds were fully forgiven for the vast majority of firms, there are companies who need to pay back the low-interest loans within the prescribed 24-month period. More significantly, many companies received EIDL loans between $500,000 and $2 million as a result of the pandemic. These low-interest 30-year loans will start to require payments 30 months after the disbursement of funds, but interest began accruing on these loans upon receiving them. For those that received 2 million dollars and have not started repaying these loans back, you can have almost $200,000 added to your outstanding loan balance. These repayments will greatly impact cash projections going forward. And don’t forget, there are certain required filings that have to be completed regarding monies received through the SBA.
- Supply Chain Diversification: As the raw materials and products are transacted on a more global scale, the SMB community needs to continue to scrutinize its partners and vendors to ensure the best price and the most efficient distribution. The pandemic taught us that manufacturing difficulties in foreign countries impact delivery time and sales. All small businesses need to be diligent and strategically diversify vendors to mitigate the risk of production slowdowns.
- Mobile Worker: Hybrid work environments continue to be a lasting trend/conversation in the workplace. Over the last few years, employees have enjoyed a great work/life balance, using technology like Zoom or Teams. As companies and urban areas start to urge workers back to the office, many entrepreneurs will need to weigh the importance of having employees in a central location and its impact on their ability to both attract and retain top talent in its organization. There is no real right or wrong answer to how best manage this new hybrid work culture; but, business owners need to view this decision within the context of how to most effectively provide top-notch services and products.
Although the health impact of COVID has largely waned, its impact on the business community will have a much longer, sustained impact as illustrated in the aforementioned examples. All members of the small/medium business (SMB) community are known for our toughness and ability to adapt — certainly the pandemic put these skills into daily practice. To persevere and thrive, it’s important to continually adjust our business model to the world around us.
Take-away: If you are examining your business model and questioning whether you are optimizing your cash flow or profitability, contact Brian and Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free diagnostic.
Co-founders & Managing Partners