Good morning Team!
I know we are all dealing with important personal issues and the world is up-side down; still, SCORE National and SECT SCORE leadership will do all we can to keep our volunteers informed and connected.
As is our custom, attached below is the March Chapter Meeting presentation.
Some information of interest, re: the health of SECT SCORE at this time:
- Chapter mentoring and workshop performance through Feb. 28 demonstrates the serious commitment of this volunteer team to serving our communities.
- YTD Fund-raising efforts have been outstanding — thank you Tony and team, and Thank You Tony for the generous donation you made to our Chapter in your mother’s name! We appreciate you!
- Sandra provided a March Treasurer’s Report — our Chapter is in good financial health at this time.
- Executive Team members continue to communicate frequently, and decisions are being made almost every day on how we can adapt and proceed to keep SECT SCORE relevant in our communities during these stressful times.
Client Mentoring: Going forward, let’s stay connected to our clients any way we can, as it is clear we can still be of value. For example, I had phone sessions with four clients this week, three existing, one new. I wanted to share the highlights:
An existing client thanked SCORE for pushing him to create a business plan before rushing out to open a new business. That patience was rewarded — had he opened in January, he’d be in deep trouble today. Instead, he will continue to work on his business plan while at home with his kids. He learned the lesson of not opening a new business without sufficient liquidity to handle unforeseen risks (thank you Barry LaVista — our client listens to and appreciates your counseling!!).
The three other calls were with people who have been in business for several years and now face serious business challenges. They went from open one day, to 100% closed the next. They were prepared for a 10%, 20%, 30% drop in revenues, as has occurred in prior recessions, but not 100%. They can probably get through a 2 month shut-down, but after that, their liquidity will be stretched to the breaking point.
So, we shifted gears from discussing growth ideas, social media strategy, online selling, etc. (one is a clothing retailer and just now figuring out how to offer her products online — too late for this crisis…), and moved to crisis management advice.
I sent them SBA Disaster Recovery loan program information, and contact information for the CIC and every agency in CT that might be able to help them. If they had a bank loan or equipment leases, I advised they proactively reach out to request payment relief/moratoriums. My friends in banking tell me they are already getting these requests and will entertain payment relief options.
One client already got back to me yesterday — she has two major creditors, as she just purchased inventory for her Spring season. Capital One Business Card told her she can skip her April payment and to check back with in May. Chelsea Bank told her to pay interest only for as long as she needs. Her landlord is accepting half-payments for now (a landlord doesn’t want to lose a tenant in a crisis; typically they will waive the rent and put it in the back-end of the lease; same with equipment leases and bank term-loans).
Debt payment relief of this kind will not negatively affect her credit rating; it is helping her conserve liquidity while her store is closed. She is glad she made these calls. A follow-up phone session to discuss “next steps” is set for Monday. (I also recommended she call her business attorney to better understand her legal options.)
If store closures continue, many clients will have to make these calls. The earlier they make them, the better. My $0.02.
Government stimulus programs: we’ll track government stimulus programs as they come out, as some will be aimed at small businesses. Of note, a litigation attorney I know said to watch out for phone and text scams pretending to be associated with these economic stimulus packages, especially the “cash payment” proposals — they will request personal information that should not be provided. It is a good warning to our clients — if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. "Forewarned is forearmed."
We have been communicating with our workshop clients via social media. The Executive Committee agreed we will post existing SCORE webinars online, piggy-back on webinars hosted by other chapters, and post helpful guides on our website (e.g. see “Ways to Stay Engaged & Educated with SCORE” posting). Mark Cutler is communicating regularly with his Chapter Chairs and has been very helpful in sharing Best Practices among us; and SCORE National reaches out regularly with updates.
The next scheduled SECT Chapter meeting is Thursday, April 16th. I look forward to our next opportunity to "socially mingle"! In the meantime, I will keep you posted on all things SCORE as information becomes available.
If you have any questions, or would just like to share what is going on in your world and in your SCORE area, please feel free to call me at any time.
And, as always, Thank You for your service to SCORE and your community. You make a difference!
Frank LaMonaca, Chapter Chair
<SECT SCORE Chapter Meeting March 19th.pptx>