Recently, Turnaround Management Association held a webinar, “What is Going to Happen to My Favorite Restaurant,” to discuss the challenges restaurants face as a result of COVID-19. The webinar featured a ‘virtual’ panel of experts, including KLC Financial’s Lesley Farmer. Takeaways from the webinar included the general uncertainty in the industry, the importance of pivoting, looking for strong partnerships, and supporting local businesses. While the webinar focused on the restaurant industry, these themes apply to every business and industry when facing crisis, whether it be Covid-19 or something else. Read on for a deeper dive into these ideas and learn more about managing economic uncertainty through a crisis, and beyond.
There’s one thing most people can agree on right now, and that’s the fact that times are uncertain. Through these uncertain economic times, some industries are fortunate to navigate through unaffected, some come out better than before, and sadly, some never recover. With so many factors out of your control, focus on what you CAN control, and confront the uncertainty head-on. Remember, the way in which you react in these times of crisis is crucial.
As much as experts want to predict where everything will land during times of economic uncertainty, the truth is, no one knows. There are no easy answers, but finding ways to manage the uncertainty and controlling what you can, definitely helps.
In Turnaround Marketing’s webinar, the ability to pivot was discussed. What does that mean? For restaurants in the age of Covid, it meant changing their offerings to include takeout friendly options. Many establishments showed immense creativity by offering specials, theme nights, one-time menu options for holidays, etc. For retail companies doing business in-person, many implemented online ordering, curbside pick up, etc.
It doesn’t matter if you are a B2B or B2C company; the ability to pivot is essential. If your business experiences a slowdown in uncertain times, get creative and leverage your network. Brainstorm ideas for products or services that expand or complement your current business. Conversely, is there something your company can offer that utilizes your current equipment, products, expertise, etc, but may not be related to your current work? These new ventures could be something your company takes on temporarily until things turn around, or decides to continue with permanently, depending on its success.
An inspiring example of a company pivoting their business to offer additional products is our customer, Woodchuck USA. Woodchuck manufactures and sells customized wood products, with the mission of ‘putting nature back into people’s lives.’ When the Corona virus pandemic hit and PPE was in short supply for front line workers, Woodchuck pivoted their daily manufacturing line to produce face shields. This led to an entirely new division of their company, Woodchuck Medical. This new division created hundreds of new jobs and now produces not only USA face shields, but also face shield attachments for hardhats, protective shields for the workplace, Safehooks (to open doors safely and contact-free), and care kits.
The ability to pivot is definitely not always easy. And it can require a lot of upfront capital which is difficult for a struggling business. Don’t let lack of funds be the reason you close the doors- that’s where equipment leasing and financing become an advantageous option. More flexible than many traditional bank loans, equipment leasing and financing through an alternative lender is the perfect choice for many businesses, and by financing your equipment, you are saving your capital to fund other operational expenses to keep the business open.
Deal with the uncertainty by coming together with other businesses in your industry or area. Reach out to these businesses and brainstorm ways to work together to keep everyone afloat. This process looks different for every business, location, industry, etc, but the basic principle is the same- two (ore more) heads are better than one. By banding together to provide specials, events, incentives, webinars, etc, you benefit from new ideas and a larger audience.
KLC Customer Minnesota Ice is a wonderful example of a company thinking outside the box and partnering with other local businesses. Their Director of Sales had the idea to use their ice trucks to deliver products from local businesses. During the Safer at Home order, the State of Minnesota deemed Minnesota Ice an ‘essential business,’ making it possible for them to deliver food and products for local restaurants and businesses that would otherwise likely face extreme financial hardships, or close altogether.
Forming new partnerships and branching out is important. But before you reinvent the wheel, take a look at your existing relationships. Can any of them help you get from point A to point B? Find ways to strengthen these relationships and explore ways you can help each other.
The relationship you have with your equipment leasing and financing company could turn out to be one of the most important. They are indeed a partner you can rely on during difficult economic times. As we mentioned earlier, they have more flexibility than traditional banks. What this translates into for you is securing exactly the right fit for your financing needs, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. Every business has different needs during an economic downturn and an equipment leasing and financing company can handle many different options. Whether it’s debt restructuring to lower monthly payments, a working capital loan to help pay immediate operating costs, or even taking advantage of market conditions and upgrading equipment, rely on your equipment leasing and financing company to come up with a solid plan, tailored to your company’s unique needs.
KLC Financial Inc. has been financing equipment for businesses like yours since 1987. We take a consultative approach with our customers, providing years of expertise in the equipment financing industry. We can finance deals up to $5,000,000 for both new and used equipment.
KLC lives by our mission statement: To bring advantageous equipment finance solutions to our clients with integrity, depth of knowledge and speed, and treat our customers and partners in accordance with our values.
If you would like to have one of our Sales Representatives contact you and discuss what financing options are best for you and your business please fill out this form and someone will be in contact with you shortly.