CHOCTAW, Miss. — As the country deals with the health crisis and economic fallout from the COVID-19 virus, the Office of Economic Development for the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians offers advice to help small businesses manage their finances during this unprecedented time of business inactivity.

“The objective all small businesses have is to preserve cash while many are seeing a slowdown or even shutdown of their business,” says Economic Development Director John Hendrix. “Our office wants to help our partners in Mississippi and beyond in getting through this difficult economic period.”

“The goal for business owners is to have a minimum of 18 months of cash-on-hand with 24 months as the preferred amount,” says Hendrix.  “While very few small businesses have this much cash reserve, there are some steps we recommend to assist with cash management that should have a positive impact.

1.  Begin a drawdown on all available debt commitments (e.g., line of credit) to maximize cash on hand. There is a cost to this but the extra insurance it provides can be beneficial. Consider asking existing lenders for more money, and possibly contact new lenders for additional financing.

2.  Make a list of vendors and rank by amount spent with each. Contact all large vendors and ask for lower prices. You may want to offer a longer-term agreement to buy from them if they will lower prices, increase credit, or increase payment terms for 2020 and 2021.

3.  Review all essential and nonessential programs and determine if cuts can be made.

4.  Payroll is likely a company’s biggest expense, and it may be necessary to take one of the following actions:
Hiring freeze
, Layoffs,  
Cut wages by a certain percentage to be determined by leadership

5.  Monitor collections frequently and develop a playbook for dealing with “slow paying” and “no paying” customers.

6.  Review any investments (i.e. stocks and bonds) and adjust/re-allocate as needed.

7.  Consider having company manager or CEO send a weekly update to the Board, as events are changing rapidly.

The MBCI Office of Economic Development is happy to provide advice to any business seeking counsel as this situation develops.

Please contact John Hendrix at

As one of the United States’ original first nations, the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians is the only federally recognized American Indian tribe living within the State of Mississippi. With over 11,000 members, Choctaw lands cover over 35,000 acres in 10 counties. Providing permanent, full-time jobs for over 5,000 Tribal-member and non-Indian employees, the Tribe is a major contributor to the state’s economy.


The information in this release is based on the latest guidance from Stanford University Small Business Assistance.

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John Hendrix
Director of Economic Development


Office of Economic Development
375 Industrial Road | STE 2
Choctaw, MS 39350

Tribal Businesses