Crisis Toolkits for Businesses

There’s nothing like a crisis to sharpen the mind and create focus. Here in Montana’s Golden Triangle, every single business is important to our communities. Our business coaches have put together a few ideas that you can work through as a business owner to help ease some strain on your business. Please let us know about other things you’re doing to survive this unprecedented challenge so that we can share them with fellow entrepreneurs. We will get through this by helping each other.

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Crisis Toolkit for Businesses

Five Ways to Control the Things You Can

Managing your cash is always important, but during a crisis it’s more than important – it’s a necessity. In this section, we address:

  1. Expenses 
  2. Debt
  3. Rent
  4. Vendor payment terms
  5. Lines of credit
  6. Cash flow

Five Alternatives to Bring in Cash

Now is a good time to evaluate additional revenue streams to generate cash. In this section, we address:

  1. Existing company assets
  2. Leveraging technology. 
  3. Merchandise
  4. Invoicing
  5. Offering discounts

Five Marketing and Promotion Options

During these crazy times being transparent and speaking to your customers is as important as ever. In this section, we address:

  1. Communicate strategy.
  2. Calls to action.
  3. Gift certificate offers.
  4. Pre-Payment for goods/services.
  5. Shifting focus to existing customers.
Download the Crisis Toolkit

Hibernation Toolkit for Businesses

In the Crisis Toolkit we suggest focusing on protecting your cash and adopting weekly cashflow management procedures. In the Hibernation Toolkit we offer tools that will aid you in dealing with immediate needs and preparing for the future.

Preparing to Hibernate your business your first step will be to reach out to your BAIL team: Bankers, Accountants, Insurance Agents, Lawyers, and other key business advisors.

Your second step is to map your productive assets: Physical Assets (land, buildings, machinery, computers- things you can touch); Human Capital (your employees, yourself, your business team, etc); Financial Assets/Liabilities (your bank accounts, lines of credit, short/long-term debt, A/R). Identify what is required to shut them down and start them back up. Relying on your team of experts.

Address your supply side KEYS. Identify your: key suppliers and key service providers. Communicate with these Keys.

Address your demand side KEYS. Identify your key customers and communicate with them.

Ensure sound financial management. Plan weekly cash flow statements. Run detailed scenarios. Perhaps utilize a 13 week rolling cash flow, link to resource provided.

Some Things to Ask Yourself About Your Cash Flow

  • How sound was your business before the pandemic downturn (be honest)?
  • If your business was producing sound cash flow and was profitable, what will need to be done to return to that profitability?
  • If your business wasn’t producing sound cash flow and was not sufficiently profitable, what needs to be done to improve your business cash flow and profitability?
  • Were you focused on driving profitability before the downturn?
  • Who were/are your customers?

Curious to see how these projects pencil out?For each of the vision projects we have project analysis that includes Project Descriptions, Cash Flow Projections, and Rent Roll Summaries.

Embrace the change and begin to understand the new how things have change using a design thinking approach.

Our complete Business Hibernation tool kit is 13 pages but includes the exercises and a deeper dive into the concepts above to walk you through a healthy hibernation and focuses your attention on preparing for the future. While there are no magic bullets, we hope that there are a couple of ideas that resonate with you in developing your own solutions.

If you need help applying some of the concepts to your business or are looking for other generalized business help, please contact one of our business advisors at Great Falls Development Authority.

Download the Hibernation Toolkit

Business Resiliency Guide

There’s no doubt that these have been some of the most trying times for our community, our country and the entire globe. Business owners are in positions of high strain, not only worrying about the health of their families and their team members, but also the health and viability of their businesses.

From the onset of this crisis, we at GFDA have encouraged business owners to control the things they can. With that in mind, we have put together this Business Resiliency Guide. This brief, informative guide offers possible ways to make your business tougher and may enable it to recover more quickly, including:

  • Staffing problems.
  • Incentives for customers to not cancel jobs, or services.
  • “Shoe leather” marketing.
  • Customer referral/loyalty programs.
  • Online freelancing options.
  • Strategic, and informal partnerships with your competitors.
  • Digital product creating.
  • Guerrilla marketing.
  • Selling non essential assets.
  • Beating your customer’s expectations.
Download the Business Resiliency Guide

Re-Opening Toolkit

This Re-Opening Toolkit is intended to help as you start to find a new normal. If you haven’t been using previous tools, we encourage you to skim through them. Our goal is to build on those previous publications.

As you look to reboot your business, you’ll want to address four primary elements:

  1. Legal requirements
  2. Human resources and facilities
  3. Financial stability and liquidity
  4. Market demand

This toolkit is set up as a step-by-step guide with prompts, links to federal, state, and local guidelines, as well as business best practices.

Download the Re-Opening Toolkit

Child Care White Paper

This document is an initial resource resulting from a community conversation designed to help meet the acute need of childcare exasperated by the COVID-19 crisis. Contributing partners include Family Connections, Great Falls Public Schools (GFPS), the Cascade City County Health Department (CCHD), and the Montana Department of Health and Human Services (DPHHS).

This consortium is collaborating to support solutions and have contributed information to this basic document as well as resources moving forward. Together we can find solutions to the problems we face—we are stronger together when we lead with empathy and support creative energy to solve problems.

Please reach out to the contacts listed for more information and resources.

Download the Child Care White Paper

Contact a Business Advisor

These lists and tools are not magic bullets, but there maybe one or two items that you can focus on. If you need help applying them to your business or are looking for other generalized business help, please contact one of our business advisors at Great Falls Development Authority:

Rich Gannon
Website, digital marketing, search engine optimization.
(406) 836-2078

Jason Nitschke
Cash flow, operational management, messaging.
(406) 750-0314

Tyler Menzales
Website, digital marketing, social media.
(406) 590-1539