It‘s Time to Restart. Begin the Fight to Win the Future

Written by Gene Wright. Posted in COVID 19 Get Help for Small Businesses

The PPP and EIDL loan programs are not even a month old and yet somehow it is hard to remember our lives before it. During that time we have banded together, seen Congress initiate the first PPP program fully subscribed in a week, introduce a second PPP program that was much more friendly to smaller business owners, sought fairness from banks, and seen a great deal of press highlighting the plight of small businesses. There have been successes and failures, but the bedrock of our small business community is still hanging tough.  

A month in, almost everything about our lives has changed in some way because of COVID-19. As business owners tentatively feel their way to reopening, resolving to win the fight and reclaim their future is real.

The fight phase is critical because it creates the opportunity to win the future. It will be protracted and expensive and will vary greatly by community and segment. The adequacy of economic policy will determine how fast we can recover to normalcy and avoid a future lockdown. No one knows how long the crisis will last, but already we are seeing innovation in small business owners beginning to fight back.

I don’t see any way business activity returns to pre-virus level before the public regains it confidence to venture out again, but we must begin the fight now. Create a mindset of sales growth based on what your customers need now. Start or expand your online presence and begin thinking about potential sources of advantage you can build on during the fight.

How will you transform your business to win the fight and the future?

Is the Boomer Cowboy Culture Over for Small Business Owners?

Written by Gene Wright. Posted in COVID 19 Get Help for Small Businesses

Baby boomers are the second largest population of small business or franchise owners and make up 41% of small business or franchise owners. 10,000 of us turn 65 every day. Before COVID-19, most ran profitable businesses. In our DNA is an entrepreneurial spirit, a sorely needed attribute these days.

Boomer owners are also fiercely independent and none of us like to be told how to run our business. Larger competitors are defining new rules for customer service; reduced operating hours, contactless delivery/pickup and limiting customer counts instore. There’s new safety measures  for employees and a visible emphasis on sanitation instore. Who knows how the 6 foot rule will work but the new standard is customer safety and a renewed confidence in your brand.

Reopening successfully may have as much risk as staying closed, whether or not you have our governor’s say-so or SBA funding. Opening will mean lower revenues initially and increased operating costs as customer expectations are met by larger competitors. Operating costs will rise to comply with customer and employee safety. Taxes and insurance costs certainly rise sooner or later.

No one knows how long this crisis will last, but It is time to start thinking about the new normal. Your customers are visiting your websites to see if they can do business online and whether or not you have changed your messaging to embrace to the new normal.

Neither you nor the governor are in charge, your customer is. Time to adapt and overcome.

$6.7B in SBA PPP & EIDL Funding Approved in Georgia

Written by Gene Wright. Posted in COVID 19 Get Help for Small Businesses

Last week we were all in a state of frenzy helping clients try and understand the rules of engagement from banks and the SBA to get loan applications submitted while insisting that small business owners get applications in quickly.

As we thought, demand for funding through the PPP program has been huge. As of April 13, just 10 days after the program opened, the SBA reported that over $247 billon has approved more than 71% of the total funding for the program.

Although more than $247 billion in funding has been approved, many owners have yet to see a penny. The SBA had indicated lenders have to fund an approved loan within 10 days, but with so many applications in the pipeline, we understand why many loans haven’t funded yet.

Georgia has seen 29,423 loans approved through April 13 worth $6.7 billion, or about 2.7% of the total allocation. The leading sectors getting funding so far are construction, and manufacturing. Further, PPP applications for self-employed workers opened on April 13, which will add to loan processing time.

It is unclear if Congress will make additional funding available given the continuing political dysfunction in Washington. If you haven’t applied yet, get it done quickly!

Small Business Winners. Losers and “Reformulators” after A. C. (COVID -19)

Written by Gene Wright. Posted in COVID 19 Get Help for Small Businesses

I’m a baby boomer business broker trapped at home and trying to figure out what to do to help small business owners impacted by the coronavirus stay alive. With all small businesses not classified as urgent now closed in metro Atlanta, we’re all together hoping we can flatten the curve as soon as possible. Business owners I’ve talked to in the home health care and commercial cleaning businesses are worried about fulfilling unprecedented demand and keeping their employees safe while an owner of a small medical clinic is struggling to get testing kits to keep their clinic open. Everyone has seen their business change in ways none of us could have imagined six weeks ago. Lost revenue can never be recovered. As I think about what happens after what happens next, there will be winners, losers and “reformulators”, companies who adapt to change and survive. I believe we’re already reached a tipping point that may fundamentally change the way many business owners will operate A.C. (after COVID-19). Larger employers utilizing video conferencing with employees working from home may find that all that office space may not be needed later and impact the commercial real estate market A.C. Restauranteurs are learning how to start a customer pickup business and the importance of mobile marketing. Local retailers are learning how to operate with reduced hours while turning selling space into warehouse space to pick orders for customers. Small businesses can pivot much faster and are more entrepreneurial than larger ones, and owners who can figure out ways to stay in business will become even stronger A.C. Some won’t survive. With 10,000 boomers turning 65 every day, the small business landscape will change rapidly. Those business owners and franchisees who have a job (solopreneurs) versus a business are at risk because they are undercapitalized and won’t be able to secure financing because they simply can’t repay the debt and won’t get loans approved. Others will fail because they are debt averse and don’t want to pledge homes as collateral if their business eventually fails. I’m convinced help will arrive from our state and federal government, but when? Who will get the help? Will it come in time to help save a large number of small businesses in Atlanta? Delays and confusion will be the order of the day as they too become overwhelmed, frustrated and exhausted as they try to help. If you’re a small business owner and would like to share with us what you’re doing to stay alive, send them to me and I’ll pass them along to others in the same boat.

Owner’s Quandary- Sell Your Business or Stay in Business?

Written by Gene Wright. Posted in COVID 19 Get Help for Small Businesses

Small business owners in Georgia have seen life as they know it change in ways they could have never imagined just six weeks ago. Even you own an “essential” business it’s far from business as usual. Employee work dilemmas, reduced operating hours and operating cash are top of mind for businesses still open. Others forced to close by state or municipal order for an undetermined time are in serious peril with no end in sight. Governor Kemp declared the state an economic disaster area in all counties in Georgia just last week, enabling the SBA to make available interim relief rough its Economic Injury Disaster Loan Declaration. Congress is working on additional economic assistance as well. Help is on the way.

But will help arrive in time? The current timeline for loan processing by the SBA is already 2-3 weeks, and the process for approval while easier than before is no walk though the park. You will need to provide personal and business historical financial information, authorization to past years’ tax returns and a good business case on your business impact thus far. And if you don’t have enough profitability to service new debt, its not clear you’ll get loan approval. We need additional financial options quickly.

For businesses operating profitably before the virus, falling revenue forecasts and no end in sight to COVID 19 will make dramatic changes necessary. Managing cash flow, employee safety and retention are prerequisites to survival until help arrives.

I believe we’ve already hit a tipping point in the fundamental way small businesses will operate going forward. Innovative use of video and telephony are keeping owners in touch with customers, and reduced hours could remain after the virus fades. We’re here to help you. We’re constantly looking for the BEST sources of operating capital for our clients while helping them find ways to reduce costs and optimize revenues.

If you are in need of help. please give us a call at 404-908-5561 or email me at

Three Steps Georgia Must Take To Encourage Non-Accredited Investors

Written by Gene Wright. Posted in COVID 19 Get Help for Small Businesses

Now that the legal barriers have been removed to allow non-accredited investors to participate in equity crowdfunding initiatives in Georgia, we should address the practical roadblocks that are keeping people out of the market. A recent article in the Harvard Business Review addressed some of these areas and ways to prevent financing bottlenecks.

Rebuilding the American Dream: Small Business by the Numbers

Written by Gene Wright. Posted in COVID 19 Get Help for Small Businesses

Former President Ronald Reagan called them the “forgotten heroes of America”: small business owners who make up a startling majority of job creators, employers and exporters. But these local, home-grown companies often meet huge financial challenges as they try to get their businesses off the ground. From legal advice to proper underwriting, entrepreneurs are facing many challenges raising the equity they need to make their American dream come true. That’s where crowdfunding may help. Simply put, the promise of crowdfunding can help small business, and small business drives the American economy.