weather icon Partly Cloudy

BRIAN FORMISANO: Looking ahead for Southern Nevada Black and African American business owners this Martin Luther King day

Last year presented some of the greatest challenges Southern Nevada small business owners have faced. Unfortunately, there has been a disproportionate effect on diverse-owned businesses, including those owned by Black and African American entrepreneurs.

As Black and African American business owners continue to look ahead this Martin Luther King Day, there are some key considerations that can be made to plan for a future where certainty is categorically uncertain.

Challenges obtaining credit

Surveys specifically highlight what has continued to be an issue for Black and African American business owners: access to credit. These owners reported the highest levels of both current and predicted future difficulty accessing credit compared to other segments surveyed.

In looking for a solution, it must be acknowledged that the financial services industry in Southern Nevada as a whole must continue addressing this problem. Diverse-owned businesses have more challenges ahead of them as they stage a comeback.

They are often smaller in terms of number of employees, payroll and start-up capital, and they may not have established banking relationships. These factors make them much more susceptible to economic downturns, and they will need greater access to capital and innovation to be resilient in this pandemic.

As this situation continues to be addressed, one important step owners can take is to know their options.

In addition to traditional lending, working with Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs) in Southern Nevada can provide additional avenues to access capital. Supporting these institutions and their mission is at the heart of the creation of our Open for Business fund which has been providing additional funding for these institutions to continue their important work.

Flexibility and Leadership

Another key consideration (and opportunity) for business owners is recognizing when and how to pivot.

Thinking about how the experience of customers has changed can help to understand how to best serve their needs, based on where they are now. This can lead to important planning for how operating models, marketing plans and even physical spaces need to adjust.

It’s also an opportunity for small business owners to be leaders in our community.

Some ways to go about being that leader include being very communicative with employees and customers about what business owners are doing, putting those people first in your approach to pivoting, and sourcing practical information and having that inform their actions.

As was mentioned before, there’s little about the future that seems predictable right now. But a good place to start is with the things that can be controlled: how to think about customer’s needs and work to meet them, being a leader in our community and understanding what tools are available.

While guaranteeing success is a tall order for any small business right now, taking these steps can certainly move the needle in the direction it needs to go as the future unfolds.

Brian Formisano is the Southern Nevada Region Bank President for Wells Fargo. For more information on how to navigate the current environment as a small business owner, visit our Small Business Resource Center at https://smallbusinessresources.wf.com/

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Bowl-A-Thon to benefit Wounded Warriors

Hosted by local veteran Denise Flanagan, all of the money raised at the Bowl-A-Thon will be donated to Wounded Warrior Project, an organization that supports veterans.

It’s time to light the tree!

Here’s what you need to know as Pahrump prepares to illuminate its annual Christmas tree.

Pahrump crews respond to multiple crashes, fires

Pahrump Valley Fire Rescue and Services crews were dispatched for a two-vehicle crash along Highway 160 near mile marker 38 early Tuesday morning just after 5 a.m.

PHOTOS: Quilts of Valor

Comfort and healing bestowed upon local veterans.

Pahrump Holiday Task Force hosting annual holiday meal

Thanksgiving is a time that should be spent with others, be they family, neighbors or even brand new friends and the Pahrump Holiday Task Force is ensuring that no one in the valley has to be alone on the most thankful day of the year.

What’s next for outgoing Nye County sheriff? Maybe a seat on the bench

Outgoing Nye County Sheriff Sharon Wehrly is one of 15 candidates being considered for a vacant justice of the peace seat that county commissioners are expected to fill as early as January 2023. The position replaces judge Kent Jasperson who died in August following a long battle with cancer.

Nye clerk blames ACLU for delaying hand counts

Election officials had planned to count more than 13,000 mail-in ballots before the polls closed in Nye County, but “lost 14 days” because of stop-and-go court orders.