By Karen Stokes
Businesses are facing some significant financial storms because of the high inflation numbers plus the ominous cloud of COVID-19 continues to hover overhead.
Jason Alston, owner of Heavens Table BBQ, 5507 W North Avenue used various strategies to weather the storm to keep his business afloat.
At Heaven’s Table BBQ you can find a variety of menu items that includes a variety of smoked meats like brisket, ribs, pulled pork, excellent pastrami and sausage, along with wings, sandwiches and sides.
“I want to start off and say COVID-19 was the first supposed disaster and the thing with business is you always have to be ready for adjustments. I learned back in culinary school when it comes to the restaurant industry even when it’s not inflation you still have prices that fluctuate up and down,” said Alston.
Alston says that the restaurant business is a whole different animal.
Alston has a passion for cooking and has been cooking professionally for the last 13 years with education from MATC culinary, to Cardinal Stritch to Marquette, he was well trained and ready for the challenge.
Many businesses are also struggling with inflation. Raw materials and finished goods are more expensive and workers are demanding higher pay. Owners have been forced to raise prices or cut back on some services.
“I had to raise my prices a couple of times with my product and my customers were not too happy,” Alston said. “I also have to accommodate them too so having to raise the prices I made my sides bigger, you have to justify the price increase.”
“Every industry is impacted a little differently from inflation that’s a general blank statement but overall there’s rising costs of materials, costs of goods, inventory can be affected,” said Jason Engledow, Business Banking Area Manager, JPMorgan Chase.
“I reached out to JP Morgan Chase for a PPP Loan when it was available. I also received a credit card. Chase offers a lot of help with conversation and would consistently ask what I needed help with,” Alston said. “They’ve truly been helpful and they’re the first bank I worked with and actually haven’t had to look anywhere else for my business needs.”
JPMorgan Chase serves a variety of clients from restaurants to industrial to manufacturing to professional services.
Engledow offers tips that businesses can mitigate inflationary risks, look at their excess cash flow, and keep a reserve to weather the storm. Reach out to a financial advisor on how to manage their debt and how to manage vendor relationships. Focus on operations and the relationships they have with their employees and their customers.
JPMorgan Chase has been constantly investing in people and technology in the communities that they serve.
“One thing I’m so proud of is that sometime in 2023 we’re going to invest in a mentorship program,” Engledow said. “We have peer to peer free consulting to educate on business plans, coaching and tools.”
“We want to do everything we can from Chase’s standpoint to really focus on Black entrepreneurs and how critical a role that they play, the economic role of the community. This is going to be a unique program we’ve launched in other cities and have had a lot of success. I’m very excited it’s coming to our market in Milwaukee sometime in 2023,” Engledow said.
For more information go to jpmorganchase.com.
Remarkably some businesses have demonstrated the ability to wade through the pandemic and inflation. Businesses will have to remain attentive to keep their business afloat.
An important piece of advice from Alston, “Don’t let the circumstances right now discourage you, these things happen. Whatever your dreams and passions are, keep following them.”