The Trek Financial Expert: Reassess Your Business, Don’t Give Up on Loan Guarantees
WATERLOO, Wis. (BRAIN) – Sound financial advice is essential these days for bicycle retailers trying to survive the COVID-19 pandemic, and Andrew St. Clair has it to give.
Take this time to reassess your business and maximize what you can control: service, delivery, curbside pickup, cleaning your store, and making personal shopping appointments.
“Don’t ruin a crisis,” said St. Clair, global director of financial services for Trek Bicycle. “Focus on what matters and what you can control. Keep the hope and optimism that we’re all going to come out together.”
Of course, optimism is currently lacking for some, especially for retailers struggling to secure government loans. The Small Business Administration’s paycheck protection program went live on April 3 with much fanfare, but has seen application delays and at least one major lending institution limiting the number of applications.
“Communication from the SBA and lenders has fluctuated and there doesn’t seem to be any experts in this process,” St. Clair said. “The general confusion, constantly changing information, long waits on the SBA hotline, and conflicting information made this process very difficult.”
Wells Fargo stopped receiving P3 loan applications after just one day, causing some concern. St. Clair said it was successfully directing retailers to other lenders.
“After all of this, we start to hear uplifting stories,” he said. “The vast majority of us hear that if you can get into the system, it works. Several of our retailers have been approved for SBA loans and some have started to be funded. On top of that, more local banks, Credit unions and non-bank lenders are starting to offer PPP applications to customers. ”
St. Clair recommends that retailers apply for both PPP loans and economic disaster loans. Both can be accepted as long as there is no duplication in the use of funds. He said that while the PPP is 100% forgivable, it is unlikely to cover all fixed expenses. “We want them to be on the front line for funds that are available as soon as they become available,” he said. “EIDL allows you to use funds to pay for other expenses, especially your trade payables.”
Some retailers are receiving the $ 10,000 advance on EIDL loan financing, St. Clair said, who added that others said they were approved for a P3 loan.
“We hope they will receive funding within the timeframe set by the federal government of two to three weeks after approval (PPP),” he said.
St. Clair’s final tip for retailers: be bold and be a strong leader.
“It’s not the season we planned, but it’s the season we have, and now is the time to take the lead and win it.”