Small-businesses owners who had money in SVB can prepare for a financial crisis by doing these 3 things
- Entrepreneurs who had money tied up in the Silicon Valley Bank fallout are rethinking finances.
- Yale professor Song Ma and CEO Casey Clark said to start by diversifying banks and relationships.
While much of the fallout from Silicon Valley Bank's collapse has disrupted venture capital-backed startups, some small-business owners with money in the bank could also feel the effects.
To be sure, there's no data that shows how many non-VC-backed small businesses were affected by Silicon Valley Bank's closure and those who did have funds tied up in the bank will likely get them back. The Treasury, Federal Reserve, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation assured on Sunday that depositors would be fully protected and could access funds starting on Monday.
For entrepreneurs who want to take this opportunity to mitigate any future financial risk, there are three strategies for protecting their businesses from another potential crisis, said Song Ma, assistant professor of finance at the Yale School of Management, and Casey Clark, CEO of small business advising firm Cultivate Advisors.
Diversify your bank accounts
If there's one takeaway from SVB's collapse, it's the importance of diversifying where you keep your money, Ma said. Since the FDIC insures up to $250,000 of an account holder's funds, he recommends keeping no more than that amount in any one bank account.
"For small businesses, it is possible to hedge that risk by diversifying their bank accounts," he said. "If you bank with two banks and give $250,000 on each, then you are insured on both."
This strategy is much easier for small businesses than large companies because they typically have fewer assets to spread out, Ma added.
"You can't keep all your eggs in one basket," Clark agreed. "It just totally puts a different level of risk."
Broaden your banking relationships
Ma also suggested small-business owners develop relationships with multiple banks. When a bank fails, entrepreneurs risk losing their funds along with the relationships and expertise from the bank's staff that can help them access future financing, Ma said.
"Think about them as a partner," he said. "Developing those relationships earlier could be quite important."
By ensuring you have multiple experts in your network, you're securing an expert to help in crises.
Monitor your cash needs and have a contingency plan
Finally, Ma suggests business owners monitor their cash flow often and set up a contingency plan for unexpected events. For example, this could be a line of credit or a money market account, which is an interest-bearing account.
"If something happens, how are you going to make your next month or the next two weeks of payroll?" he said.
Most small businesses operate historically, waiting to reconcile their books at the end of every month, before making decisions, Clark said. But when a crisis occurs, it can be too late. He recommends entrepreneurs calculate their cash flow performance, which they can do with software like Live Plan, and start thinking proactively.
"Run every stress test possible so that you can start to make the right decisions to essentially brace yourself in case you have a fallout," he said.
If your non-VC-backed small business has been affected by the Silicon Valley Bank crash, please contact this reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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