TULSA, Okla. — As the nation's economy continues to feel the effects of coronavirus, small businesses are hit as hard as any. Many Green Country businesses are fighting to stay open, and the Tulsa Regional Chamber is offering advice on how to do so.
Barbara Pinkerton’s store RunnersWorld Tulsa has never faced a challenge quite like this one in the 42 years it's been open. Pinkerton, who co-owns the store, says right now it's more important than ever to support local businesses.
"It’s the dream to want to own your own business, and it’s scary to think if we were to have to shut down for two weeks or four weeks what’s going to happen to all the small businesses,” Pinkerton said.
Because of the pandemic, Pinkerton's shop has had to cut back on staff hours, so its owners have had to adjust accordingly.
"Cathy and I have tried to cut back our hours some to allow our employees to keep the hours they would normally work,” Pinkerton said. "This is their livelihoods. We went into owning our own business because we wanted to help the community."
The store has also increased its cleaning efforts, and has rolled out curbside delivery, local home delivery, and free shipping to keep from spreading any viruses.
Those efforts are common among small businesses, but they're still fighting to draw in customers. Now, the Tulsa Regional Chamber is partnering with the Tulsa Area United Way to come up with ten key suggestions to help businesses stay open. They include:
- Ask your bank for deferment on existing loans for three to six months
- Ask large suppliers for extended terms
- Try to pay small suppliers as soon as you can to keep them running as well
- Eliminate all non-essential expenses
- Cut out any practices you can live without
- Maintain constant contact with your team, suppliers, and creditors
- Ask for help and don't be afraid to take it wherever you can
- Meet with your team, both in-store and at home, via a virtual platform
- Take the time to reset; go over last year’s income and revenue and take a close look at cash flow
- Create a weekly forecast, and even though sales are slow be ready for a ramp up in demand when the economy goes back up
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