How does the government shutdown impact small businesses?

How does the government shutdown affect small businesses?

With the federal government shutdown now entering it's third week, many people are wondering if it's impacting local businesses here in the Heartland.

Dan Hamlet of the Missouri Rural Enterprise and Innovation Center in Kirksville says local small businesses are not feeling as much of an impact as other parts of the country since there is no large federal presence or military base.

Businesses with government contracts and loans through federal government agencies have been affected.

"The VA, USDA, Small Business Association...those loans are all on hold while those key staff are on hold. But local banks are still lending, they're just doing their non-government lending lines. The government lending portion is on hold right now," Hamlet said.

Hamlet also said there's a lot of uncertainty regarding what will happen if the government shutdown is prolonged. If the country does go into default or the country's credit score is lowered, Hamlet says small businesses would feel the impact due to higher interest rates and higher inflation.

So how can small businesses protect themselves? It's all about focusing on doing simple things well.

"Meeting their customers needs. Keeping a good cash reserve for their working capital, minimum of 6 months worth of capital because we don't know what's coming up in the future and that's our best insurance policy is having enough cash to make it through a rough time if we have a rough time," Hamlet said.

Hamlet also says that small businesses should focus on marketing themselves well to help attract customers to their business.