This article was written by Ben McCulloch, Chairman, SCORE Orange County.
As I write this, the House is considering the Senate’s version of the financial ‘rescue’ package. Maybe by the time I finish – and hopefully by the time you read this – we’ll know whether the bill passes. If so, some of the historic uncertainty in the marketplace should be lessened. ‘Should be lessened’: the problem is complex and one bill won’t remove the uncertainty plaguing the markets.
Of course you’re following these events closely, too. As citizens, business owners, and entrepreneurs, you are the ‘Main Street’ that so much of the deliberation has focused on helping. On that, there is no dispute: small business is the core driver of our economy. A report released just yesterday by the Kaufman Foundation underscores the public’s view notion that you are ‘the answer to the current financial crisis’ (http://www.kauffman.org/items.cfm?itemID=1175).
That may be gratifying, and it’s definitely the philosophy that underpins our mission at SCORE. But, until we get beyond the crisis, you have some realities: how do you make the lease payment, make payroll, and keep the shelves stocked? You’re not alone. Take a look at this California business owner (found at Donny Deutch’s ‘The Big Idea Blog’) as she puts a face on the problems being experienced by so many of you.
Though we don’t have money to lend, your SCORE counselors are here to ‘lend’ you something else of value: experience running businesses during previous, difficult economic times. We do not claim to have your solution, but we can give you ideas on managing AP and AR, preparing for meetings with your bankers, other options (and risks) for accessing temporary cash, and – as with the business owner in the video – preparing for your expansion when the cash and credit markets begin to recover. And they will!
In the meantime … what are your concerns and the problems you’re facing? Please comment below and share with us any solutions that have worked for you. We look forward to helping you until we – together – get past this crisis.