On Tuesday, we completed our 7th webinar in our “Navigating Our New Reality: COVID-19 and Beyond” series. Andrea Ehresman from 1st Source was our featured expert. We’ve been focusing on topics that are helpful to small business owners in the midst of the reopening phase of the pandemic and Andrea helped us to gain a better understanding of banking as it relates to lending and moving our business forward.

The phrase that seems to ring clearly in my mind from Andrea’s presentation is “Be Prepared”— particularly appropriate given the unprecedented times we have been in. Specifically, Andrea outlined the different types of information that a small business owner will want to have ready when meeting with their banker to investigate financing options.

First and foremost, it is important for a small business to have and develop a relationship with a local bank — a point made by Gus Wheeler, our Accounting/Finance expert during our 3rd webinar. Establishing a good relationship with a banking partner is very important. A good example was in the struggles many of us experienced seeking approvals for the PPP (Paycheck Protection Program). Small businesses with strong ties to a local bank were more likely to receive funds that they applied for. You are more likely to be a higher priority with a bank when a close relationship is in place.

The good news is that banks are still lending—although this looks different now than it did prior to COVID-19. Banks are looking for great creativity with their small business patrons. They want to see the focus, strategy, character, planning, and collateral that could be helpful in securing the loan; demonstrating the business has the resources and the know-how to succeed.

Andrea explained various types of business loans and lines of credit options that are available including SBA (Small Business Association) programs. She also helped us in understanding how to find and select a Preferred SBA Lender. That’s not all. There are also non-traditional financing options to consider including the City of Fort Wayne, City of Bluffton, Brightpoint, and Bankable — to name a few. If a small business owner is looking for helpful resources, Andrea suggested considering SCORE and Indiana Small Business Development Center (ISBDC).

In a time when small businesses may need additional financial resources as they try to find their footing during the reopening phase, Andrea’s information was timely. You should watch this one if you missed it.

Coming up on Thursday, June 11th, I will be thinking through the topic of how to Work Securely and Effectively from Anywhere. If you or others in your business are working from home during the pandemic, are considering to continue this practice moving forward or want to be confident that you are taking proper security precautions when connecting to a public WiFi at your favorite coffee shop, airport or other hangouts, you won’t want to miss this next session! Come join us!

Click here to see the webinar line-up and schedule for each focused topic—and to reserve your seat for the entire series and gain access to webinars in the series you may have missed.

Come join us. Together we’ll discover better ways to share information while operating more safely and productively as we move forward.