Tough times bring tough choices for Brampton’s business community. This week, the Brampton Board of Trade has checked-in with more than 500 companies regarding the impact of the global pandemic. More ‘check-in’ connections continue. What we are hearing is that the choices business are making are difficult, but necessary to keep viable.
About a third of business owners we speak to are choosing to temporarily close their business. We welcome their re-opening as conditions allow. These business owners are relying on corporate reserves and personal savings to weather this storm. Others are taking on additional debt through lines of credit or other loans in order to continue their business. Some, although hesitantly, are making the tough decision to layoff staff.
It is important to note that even though many owners have chosen or been ordered to close their workplace, business continues. There is no provincial ban on making money – some may be doing it from home, and we all have an obligation to do it safely. Keeping businesses going is important to not only feed your and your staff’s families, but to keep our economy going.
To summarize, the advice that companies are sharing with one another is three-fold: Don’t Wait; Communicate; Innovate.
Don’t rely on government to pull you through this. Your advocacy has meant that there have been many positive actions taken by governments. City Council has deferred property tax for five months; the province has reduced electricity prices; the federal government has established a number of programs to increase employment insurance flexibility and open up credit. Our local Brampton elected officials are working hard for you – the harsh reality is though – government support is only part of the solution.
When you can’t pay your bills, some might feel ashamed. Don’t. We are in extraordinary circumstance and we are all in this together. If you have the ability to pay, pay. If not, start now to have the tough conversations you need with your banker; landlord and staff. Talk about partial payments – a plan to get your business and theirs through this together.
Think back to the start of your business. You have valuable products, skills and services to offer the world. Reset, and have faith in yourself. What needs to happen now, is finding a new way to deliver. Restaurants have pivoted to take-out; some businesses are asking customers to pay forward with gift cards and others are adopting e-commerce platforms. Have confidence in yourself, your customers, staff and suppliers. You will find an innovative way to continue to add-value and serve your customers.
Lastly, please know you are not alone. Visit bramptonbot.com/covid19 for resources and please, let us know how you are managing. The Brampton Board of Trade is here to help and to help government to prioritize actions that can help you during these challenging times.
CEO, Brampton Board of Trade