Les Lambert is the Business Banking Market Manager for Bank of America in Charlotte.

2020 has been a difficult year for everyone. While small businesses nationwide have faced unique hurdles brought on by the coronavirus, black small business owners in particular have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, with a study showing that half of these companies might not survive.

Despite these challenges, our new Bank of America research based on a survey of 300 black business owners across the country found that they remain resilient and flexible as they navigate a changing and uncertain business landscape. . In response to the impacts of the pandemic, 48% of black entrepreneurs have revamped their operations – double the national average.

Many black business owners have also found creative ways to reinvent themselves by developing new products or services, and even more resources have been donated to support relief efforts in their local communities. Others have tapped into the resources offered by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Black Chamber of Commerce and Black Business Owners in Charlotte, who have led efforts to support Black business owners in our area, working with public and private partners.

While it can be difficult to predict what exactly our path to economic recovery will look like, small black businesses will play an important role. To support this vision, black entrepreneurs can take three steps to jumpstart growth and plan for financial success this year.

Reassess your business plan given the current environment. Due to changing landscapes and environments, it is essential to evolve and adjust your business plan by mapping out key areas of need and growth and identifying any potential areas of risk that you may have been able to. find out during the pandemic.

Ask yourself how did your business fare last year compared to the projections you made to 2020? Are there any successes from the second half of 2020 that you can build on? What solutions have worked best for your business when dealing with the impact of the coronavirus? As we are still in a period of uncertainty, be careful and make sure that your plan leaves room for evolution and adjustment as needed.

Explore your financing options. Our Bank of America team takes steps to engage directly with minority business owners to ensure they have access to the tools and resources they need to secure financing. Our Small Business Bankers will continue to support business owners as they navigate the Paycheck Protection Program process, as well as discuss traditional loan product options to meet individual needs such as purchasing. inventory, debt refinancing or accounts receivable financing.

When exploring funding options, here are some questions to consider: What goals have you identified in your business plan that require additional funding? Are you looking to increase your workforce? Have you had any expansion plans that you delayed? Are structural or technological improvements needed in the coming year? Once you’ve identified your goals for 2021 and beyond, sit down with your small business banker to determine the financing solution that’s right for you.

Bankers can also help connect business owners who may not qualify for traditional bank financing to our network of CDFI partners across the country, who are working to improve access to capital for owners. companies that have historically faced obstacles.

Bank of America is the largest CDFI investor in the United States, with over $ 1.6 billion in loans and investments in over 250 CDFIs. We also recently committed $ 200 million for direct capital investments in Black and Hispanic-Latino-owned businesses, to help provide growth capital as well as invest significantly in programs to build future entrepreneurs. Locally, this includes our 4.9% common stock investment in North Carolina-based M&F Bank with a presence here in Charlotte.

Go digital. Businesses across the country have had to adjust aspects of their operations as a result of the public health crisis, including improving sanitation practices, changing key revenue sources, and shifting sales from brick and mortar. to online. As we continue to meet social distancing requirements, consider doing digital banking to limit in-person interactions and free up time to stay focused on running your business. Talk to your banker about the digital options available to you. For example, at Bank of America, we offer a full suite of digital capabilities for small businesses, including Cash Flow Monitor, a free dashboard that provides an easy way to manage, track, and project your business’s cash flow. .

The pandemic has created unprecedented obstacles for black small business owners, challenging them to find new and innovative ways to meet the needs of their businesses, employees, customers and communities. Following the steps outlined above can help address the opportunities and challenges that 2021 may bring. The news that is especially encouraging for Charlotte’s small business community is that our research has found that four in five black entrepreneurs say that once we’re on the other side of the pandemic, they think small businesses will go back to being small. the backbone of the US economy. We look forward to working with you and your business to make this a reality!

Les Lambert is the Bank of America Commercial Banking Market Manager for Charlotte.


I would like to know more about organizations that help black women entrepreneurs who have brilliant plans for a business but little business education. Can you guide me in the right direction. I want to write a business plan that will attract investors and supporters.
Posted on March 11, 2021