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What You Need To Know About Operations & Finance Right Now

With the world in a state of economic and organization uncertainty, you can't afford—literally!—to ignore your finances and operations as a business.

We know the majority of the readers of our blog visit it for tips on creatively engaging with their customers or employees. We're a creative agency, after all. But with things as chaotic as they are globally, even the "creatives" among us need to at least consider the operations and finance sides of their business.

With that in mind, we were joined on our April 1 Catalyst Coffee Chat by Anthony Rosen, CFO at Propeller Industries, where he guides a stable of over 30 startups on their path to profitability. Anthony, as well as by Abbie Eatherly, our own Director of Operations at CatalystCreativ.

(Want more insights into navigating remote work and keeping employees engaged? Check out recaps from our first and second Coffee Chats!)

Anthony and Abbie shared some insights into tools that can help teams streamline their operations, governmental resources available to small businesses in moments of crisis, and strategies for keeping cash flow positive when many businesses are finding it difficult to do so.

You can listen—or re-listen—to the entire 35-minute conversation, moderated as always by our CCO and co-founder Robert Fowler, here. And we've shared some links to resources and tools mentioned during the chat below:

  • We received a few questions about SBA loans. Depending on the size and structure of your business, these could be a good option. You can learn all about—and apply for—these loans here. Small businesses can apply starting April 3, while independent contractors and the self-employed can apply April 10. There is a funding cap so it's recommended you apply as quickly as you can. For a more thorough rundown of the SBA loan application process, here's a wonderful resource.
  • Zenefits is the all-in-one HR platform that Abbie raved about on the call.
  • The HR tool we discussed that provides your team a sounding board to share their experiences and navigate potentially challenging workplace incidents is called Speakfully. We love this tool and their team is amazing! Plus, Speakfully gives your HR team data and insights into company culture, even while you're all remote.

Additionally, here are a few of the more immediate steps companies who are struggling can take right now, per Anthony and Abbie:

  • Contact your bank or credit card company. Given the deluge of extenuating circumstances, many of them are offering deferred payment plans, adjusting late fees and interest rates, and even offering guidance on navigating government programs.
  • Regarding rent—if you lease office or retail space—talk to your landlord. Many landlords are willing to work with tenants to keep them on long term, rather than risk losing you and having to fill a vacancy during a recession. Just be upfront and try to reach an agreement (think: "blend and extend"—defer payments to later in the lease) rather than resorting to legal measures. That said, many municipalities are introducing or considering legislation placing a moratorium on commercial evictions. 
  • If members of your now-remote workforce have relocated to a different state, you should research state laws surrounding taxes and residency. It's unlikely them being there for a month or two will matter for those purposes, but if it becomes a semi-permanent arrangement it might require changes to your tax filing system.

We hope you'll join us for our Coffee Chat on Wednesday, April 8 at noon EDT (9am PDT). We'll pivot a bit from operations and finance, and will instead focus on the power of looking inward for inspiration. Our very special guest will be none other than songwriter, spoken word artist, speaker, and author IN-Q. Add the session to your calendar now.

Lastly, if you have any questions about anything covered during these sessions, or would like to propose a topic for our next one, just send us an email at coffee@catalystcreativ.com!

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