Business Guide for Licensed Dentists in North Carolina
By Nicholas ‘Nick’ Dowgul
If you are a licensed dentist in North Carolina, you’re probably pondering what you can do to keep your practice afloat until this COVID-19 Virus subsides. As a small business owner myself I want to help as much as I can, which is why I came up with this business guide for dentists.
Line of Credit
If you do not have a line of credit right now, talk to your banking institution. If your current bank is not able to assist you with a line of credit, then call every bank you can find. There are still banks that will do lines of credit for businesses. Some banks may not even require collateral but they will require a personal guaranty. The most important thing is that you are able to keep your bills paid and your business in a position to start back as soon as it’s safe to do so. If you have a line of credit with one bank, it may be time to max that out and move it to another bank. Be aware that you’ll pay interest, but you’ll have cash as needed and won’t have to worry about a freeze on your credit line. A line of credit is different from an SBA loan, more about SBA loans under #3 below.
Call your Financial Advisor
Your financial advisor, and his/her company, probably has a new plan in place for you and your business and personal finances. If they don’t, then speak with them about coming up with a plan. There could be financial opportunities right now of which you could take advantage.
Contact your Insurance Carrier
Some insurance policies have business interruption insurance. Check your policy to see if you are covered for pandemics. Don’t just rely on your insurance company’s word. Your policy may be comprehensive enough to where you are covered for all losses you may have. Don’t have a copy of your policy? Request one in writing and the insurance company is required to send it to you. You may get it in the mail, but you’ll still get it. Review it and have it in front of you when you speak with your insurance agent. If you feel like your insurance company is not dealing with you in good faith, call me. I don’t do insurance work, but I know attorneys that I trust that can assist you.
U.S. Small Business Administration Loan
Different from a line of credit, a small business loan is a loan that is partially guaranteed by the U.S. government. An SBA loan should not be your first choice. If you can acquire a line of credit from your bank that will allow you to weather this storm, then do it (see #1 above for information on a line of credit). Again, an SBA loan is not the first option and is the last resort. Effective March 10th, 2020 the SBA sent a reminder to “[a]ll SBA employees, 7(a) lenders, CDCs and Microloan Intermediaries reminding them of their unilateral authority to provide temporary relief in the form of deferred payments to existing borrowers under certain circumstances”.
As of March 18th, North Carolina has asked the U.S. Small Business Association for assistance so North Carolina can obtain relief to help small business owners weather this storm. Since dentists are affected by this as much as anyone, you may qualify for an SBA loan. SBA.gov has a lot of useful lending information and you can see if you qualify for a SBA loan with low interest by clicking here.
There is currently an unprecedented disaster relief program that is awaiting passing by the federal government, for more on this bill here is a Washington Post article on the subject. If you would like to learn more about SBA loans and the current options available in SBA lending, please contact Steve Mariani with Diamond Financial Services. His website is www.easysba.com.
Check in with your Vendors and Employees
Once you get ahold of your finances, call your vendors to see how they are doing and see if there is anything you can do for them. This is a difficult time for everyone, and a phone call really goes a long way right now. Call your employees as well and reassure them that you have control over your situation.
Stay Properly Informed About COVID-19
Listen, there is a ton of bad information out there as to how many people are infected, what the recovery rate is, etc. Everyone is all of a sudden an expert on viruses, especially this one. The best thing to do is to listen to the instructions and read the information provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC-link here) and World Health Organization (WHO-link here). Pandemics are the reason these agencies exist. I have also found the following link to be informative as well: here.
Be Productive with Your Time
Easier said than done, I know. Take this time to do that thing (or things) around your house that you’ve been putting off because you’ve been too busy. Read up on something that you wanted to do but haven’t had the time. Check out a Ted Talk or do a virtual tour of a museum.
If you like to cook or are just tired of the same thing to eat, then get creative with recipes. The point is you can learn to do anything especially with the access to information that the internet provides nowadays.
You’ve done what you can, you’re prepared and have taken positive steps to secure your practice. There’s no need to get worked up now. Just breath, relax, and enjoy your time with your family and friends. Remember, while we are not allowed in large groups we can still go outside and spend time with our neighbors as long as we are six feet apart. Be smart about it and get to know the people that live next door.
The purpose of this guide is to provide useful information to help you be able to get right back to your dental practice when this virus subsides. I am not a financial expert nor an SBA loan expert.
If you have questions on anything that I have written or need a referral to someone, please call or text me at 919-521-8810.
Please leave a message with my assistant if I’m not available and I will get back to you as soon as I can.
Feel free to email me at email@example.com as well or visit my website at www.northstatelawfirm.com. We will all get through this together and be stronger and better as a result.
Stay healthy and safe,
Nicholas ‘Nick’ Dowgul
NORTH STATE LAW
‘We safeguard your professional license so you can get back to business’