Stone World magazine talked to Stan Ragley, owner of Leasing Resources, INC., and manager of Biesse and Intermac Finance, about what businesses can do financially during this pandemic

SW: What are some financial options for businesses that are about/or already have faced a government shut down and can’t get any normal revenue going?

SR: They need to go to the Small Business Administration ( website for sure. Everybody should apply that can. That’s first and foremost, fill that out online; there really isn’t a reason not to. I don’t know how lenient it will be or not, but generally, that should be everyone’s first step. Anyone that has current loans with a bank needs to reach out to them as soon as possible and ask them, “What is your plan on relief for me?” All our lenders are giving 90-day deferrals on payments.

It’s also important to think of your finances after this. There are guys that have a lot of projects that have been started. Buildings that need granite and tile. They may be on hold a little bit because they aren’t allowed to work. But once things get going again, it’s good to be prepared and make sure you have all the equipment you need.

In the meantime, we are putting those fliers out to all our users and vendors saying we can still get you an approval. Rates are still low. Those with better credits, we can get them deferred payments. They don’t have to worry about payments for 90 days or so.

But after you fill out the SBA form and you have any loans with any banks, you need to contact your bank and see what they can do for you. The banks know this is happening to everybody. It’s unprecedented since it’s every single person in the same boat.

SW: At what point should a business look at taking out a loan to stay afloat during this?

SR: Right now, if they think they are in trouble, do it immediately. Don’t waste five minutes. Go apply on the SBA website. I am hoping and guessing that they will be fairly lenient. SBA has a history of being a pretty slow process of getting approvals. In general though, they have a wider credit box, lower rates and longer terms.

SW: Once we get through all of this, what can businesses do to prepare for something like this in case it ever happens again?

SR: It never changes, cash is king. What we were preaching during the podcast ( is that you need to be prepared every day. Pay your bills, pay them on time, have good credit. For any of those people who are adverse to financing machines or equipment, they probably wish they had the cash right now. You finance so you have a lot of cash on hand and can weather a storm like this.

In general, always prepare. If you’re working with a builder and they go under and you have a lot of eggs in that basket and your cash flow isn’t right, that can put you out of business. That has always happened over time. Then you have to deal with not getting paid from that builder. It’s hard on a small business, especially if they don’t have cash reserves. Cash is king, never will change and it’s even more important now.

One more thing I will note, for when we all get out of this, if you need equipment, the best time to buy it may be now. Rates are low, you can get payment deferral if you have good credit. Machines generally take 90 or so days to get to you. After this pandemic slows down, and people start buying machines, the factories are going to get overwhelmed. It could take much longer to get the machine to you. So if you have the wherewithal right now, and you were looking to finance a machine, right now may be the best time.