In Times of Crisis, Your Response Matters
POSTED: April 28, 2020 // BY: Lindsey Gunstad
Despite the most responsible planning, unexpected circumstances can pop up at any moment and disrupt the best laid plans. There’s no way to predict major catastrophes, natural disasters, or worldwide pandemics. And there’s no way to predict the impact they will have on your business and the worldwide economy. The only thing you have control over is how your business chooses to react to a crisis.
Your Reaction Sets the Tone
The first thing to keep in mind is not to panic. Your response to the crisis directly affects how your employees react, and how they react to customers, and so forth. Remaining calm and maintaining a consistent message is essential.
Plan Your Communications
When dealing with a crisis, always err on the side of over-communicating with your staff and customers on a regular basis. The more information you can give, the more confident your staff and customers will feel in your ability to handle the situation. In a crisis, throw out the old adage ‘no news is good news.’
Include the following in your communications:
- A grounded perspective. While it’s true that your business could experience some challenging financial times ahead, remember that people’s safety comes first, business comes second.
- Action items to reduce risk. Communicate the steps you are taking to reduce risk for your employees and customers.
- Action items for continuing business. Give your employees and customers confidence with a plan of action to keep things running as seamlessly as possible.
- Transparency about changes ahead. If there are things you know will have to change, such as office hours, working remotely, services and products offered, etc, be sure to communicate these items in a timely manner to avoid even more surprises.
- Ways in which you will continue to serve your customers. Remember that when a crisis occurs, your business isn’t the only one affected. Give your customers some peace of mind by letting them know how you plan to help them.
Take Advantage of Current Market Conditions
Depending on your business and industry, a time of crisis could be the right time to make necessary adjustments, upgrades, etc. Some things to consider:
- Has a recent economic downturn lowered interest rates? Depending on your company’s financial health, it could be a good time to take advantage of those low rates and restructure your debt.
- Does your company need to upgrade any equipment? Check for sales, discounts, and incentives that may be offered during this time. Getting a good deal on the equipment, coupled with a low interest rate, could be a great opportunity for your company. Often, banks tighten up their lending during these times of crisis, but lenders like KLC are not beholden to the regulations of a federally-backed bank, thus having more flexibility.
What to Do When Additional Resources Are Necessary
If you find yourself experiencing economic challenges as a result of a crisis, be sure to fully explore the options available.
- Deferment options: Check with your current lender to see if they offer any deferment options. Deferments are a temporary solution that essentially buy you time and allow you to put money towards business critical expenses.
- Working Capital Loans: Use these loans to finance a company’s day-to-day operations. These loans are not used to obtain new equipment and long term assets, but rather, used to cover a company’s short term operational costs, like rental costs, debt payments and payroll. Check with your lender to see if this is something they offer. If not, reach out to other lenders, like KLC Financial, to see what is available.
- Small Business Administration (SBA) Aid: The SBA is a federal agency fully dedicated to small businesses. During times of crisis, the SBA may offer some special aid specifically aimed at keeping people working and small businesses from closing their doors. These loans have very low rates with long payback periods. Additionally, often much of the loan can be forgiven. While these federal aid options are a great resource for businesses, be aware that these programs are very stringent and lack the flexibility of a non-government backed lender.
SBA loans are offered through local banks and approved lenders; you will not interact with the government agency directly. Please note, the loan application process can be cumbersome and confusing, if you are having issues, reach out to your lender and they will generally be happy to help you through the steps.
During times of crisis, it’s important to remember to stay calm, pragmatic, and focused. Develop a solid plan early and communicate it with your staff and customers, clearly and regularly. While challenging times may lay ahead, there are many resources available to help you and your business get through the rough patches. With a well designed and executed plan, your business can weather the storm and even come out better on the other side.
About KLC Financial
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 $10,000,000 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.