In testimony before the Senate Banking Committee yesterday, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell committed that the $600 B Main Street Lending Program will be operational by the end of May. This program will help business owners and entrepreneurs who were doing well in 2019 receive a low-interest capital infusion to help stabilize, grow, and expand their companies. There are no personal guarantees.
The Main Street Lending Program has a tight window: the monies and loans expire on September 30, giving business owners four months to apply, be underwritten, and take advantage of the program.
In my mind, the big question about this program won’t be in the technicalities of rolling it out (there will be issues, but they will be sorted out). The real challenge here is to instill enough confidence in business owners and entrepreneurs to start investing in their companies again, and take advantage of the opportunities that the COVID 19 crisis has and will continue to bring.
A few years ago, I published a book called The Growth Dilemma and then began running around the country speaking about it. The book's core premise was to help entrepreneurs think through how big they wanted their business to become, how quickly they wanted to try and grow, and how much risk they were comfortable taking in the process. In a pre-COVID 19 world, there were choices.
I don't think most business owners have the luxury of thinking through their Growth Dilemmas any more. We all need a Growth Reboot. We must either accept the principle of taking risk, evolving and growing, or likely shutting down and going (or staying) home. Growth plans are not a luxury – they’re a necessity.
Over the next few weeks, I will be rolling out a virtual Growth Reboot workshop with a set of tools and exercises to help think this all through. Bye-bye Growth Dilemma, hello Growth Reboot. Meanwhile, I hope that everyone will consider and think about the Main Street Lending Program. For those interested, I will be conducting an Aminar on the program tomorrow at noon.