Guest Column: Business owners should stay optimistic amid pandemic

Published 2:30 pm Friday, March 20, 2020

Guest Column by Matt Benda

Matt Benda


Tips for small business during the coronavirus outbreak:

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Be proactive: While you cannot directly control the trajectory of the COVID-19 outbreak or the government response, you do have control of how you respond. You must advocate for yourself and your business to make the best of the situation.

Communicate and collaborate: This is a critical time to rely on the team of advisers that you have assembled. Open communication with your banker, tax adviser, insurance professional, financial adviser and attorney are crucial to help you make decisive and educated decisions.

Preserve cash-flow: Consider negotiating deferred payment terms with your key vendors, bank loans, landlords and others. You may also need to develop a careful bill payment strategy. If you expect cash flow to be short, it Is important to be thoughtful whether certain bills are paid or deferred.

Watch government actions closely: Most recently, Gov. Tim Walz issued an executive order that provides a stream-lined process for terminated employees to receive unemployment benefits. This order softens the blow for employers who need to terminate employees and provides a better than normal outcome for the employee and business owner. More government action is expected in the days and weeks to come.

Relief is on the horizon: The ideal outcome for a business needing to temporarily shudder their business is to hold out long enough to be ready to restart their business. From all appearances, relief will be coming from the federal, state and local levels. Business owners should stay optimistic and nimble to be ready for the next opportunity.

Matt Benda of Peterson, Kolker, Haedt & Benda Ltd. has provided legal services in Albert Lea since 1996. He works with business owners and farmers to help protect and grow their business operations.