For many business owners, the end of 2020 can’t come fast enough. What started out as a strong beginning to a New Year and a new decade quickly changed into dangerous, uncharted territory for all businesses regardless of size, industry, or geographic location.
In March, the exploding pandemic triggered a large-scale shutdown to flatten the curve. When the curve didn’t flatten, the shutdown was extended, and Federal Government relief was provided in the forms of PPP and EIDL loans. The summer months saw many businesses reopen, but there were significant regional differences, and the virus continued to wreak havoc on our nation’s economy.
As we approach the final months of 2020, there is still much volatility and many unanswered questions. What is the best path for your business to finish the year on a strong note and get ready for 2021? We asked four business experts for their best advice to business owners. Here’s what they had to say:
1) Build Trust - Finish 2020 strong and get ready for next year by helping your clients with what matters most to them. It may be outside what you sell, but people care about people who help them. Make an introduction to someone, send them a resource, give them an unsolicited reference or referral. People repay generosity with trust. And trust is the foundation of strong business relationships every day of the year. Carla Johnson, Marketing & Innovation Strategist, Author RE:Think Innovation
2) Get Your Financial Ducks in a Row - It is critical for business owners to have their financial ducks in a row right now. There are too many obstacles between now and 2021 that could derail even the best of businesses. Keep an eye on credit terms with customers, and make sure receivables aren't running too far behind. Have you negotiated the best terms with your creditors for 2021? Do you have clear options for access to capital if you should need it for opportunities or emergencies, such as Wheeler Financial from Pitney Bowes? Whatever plans you have for your business over the next 3-6 months, one thing is for certain, they will change! Andrew Sherman, Partner at Seyfarth Shaw, LLP
3) Have Your CPA on Speed Dial – In a recent podcast with Barbara Weltman, a noted tax expert and author of the JK Lasser Small Business Taxes, she said, “business owners must regularly communicate with their CPAs for the final two months of the year. The government will make several key decisions affecting small and midsize businesses, such as PPP loan forgiveness and expense deductions associated with PPP loans.”
4) Nurture Customer Relationships – Focus on your customers. Focus on your customers. Focus on your customers. So many times, we attempt to go after new customers so much that we forget to focus, care for, and nurture our existing customers! Call them. Text them. Email them. Send a post card. Keep in touch with them and let them know you care! Ramon Ray, Founder & CEO of Smart Hustle Media
Whatever decisions you make, and whatever path you choose, make sure you continue to have options and backup plans. There is no straight line to success as COVID continues to wreak havoc on our economy and personal lives. Be smart and #Finish2020Strong.