Small businesses adapt to economy

Charlotte, NC - (WBTV)

The Federal Reserve says it will pump cash into "commercial paper."

Those are short term loans business owners get from investors to pay for their day-to-day operations.

It's a drastic move to keep small companies from going under so they can meet payroll and buy supplies.

Small business owners everywhere are concerned.

No surprise, the economy was a big topic at the "Make Mine a Million" business convention celebrating women entrepreneurs at the Blake Hotel.

"My business has not been affected greatly, yet," said Karen Lawrence, a local event planner.

"I'm in the process of changing my business model, re-thinking my financials, how do I do business differently," she said.

Lawrence is even looking to hire and expand. She'll  be able to cater more to clients, and compete for shrinking dollars.

National organizer and CEO of "Count Me In," Nell Merlino, says it's about smart survival.

"Understand your cash flow. Start collecting receivables. I wouldn't leave money hanging out there," said Merlino.

But she doesn't think people should panic, either. Not everyone is going under.

"I'm getting emails from people really feeling the crunch, I'm getting emails from people who are growing in our communities across the country."

Carrie Gault is one of the survivors, thanks in part, to good timing.

She cleared a loan this summer to relocate her architectural design firm in Plaza Midwood. It was easy at first, then securing the loan got tougher.

"Things became more difficult, much more scrutiny," said Gault.

The bank was tougher about her bottom line, as she is now about her own.

Two buzz words being heard at the conference today sum up the small business mood: cautious creativity.