James Beckwith, president and CEO of Five Star Bank, talks about the new economic climate facing small businesses
It has never lost sight of its roots, opening in 1999 as a subchapter S business, Five Star Bank has always kept small business close to the core of what it does, according to James Beckwith, president and CEO of Five Star and a return guest on this NFIB California Podcast.
“We can really relate to all the subchapter S small businesses,” said Beckwith. “Small business people are running a thousand miles an hour. They want a bank to stay with them, to be part of that journey, to support them.”
Beckwith joined NFIB California State Director John Kabateck for a half-hour discussion on two issues of immediate concern to small businesses: a possible recession and, because the podcast was recorded in the Sacramento area, homelessness, which the state’s capital city is having a more pronounced problem with than other cities.
“There’s probably less liquidity in the small business environment right now,” he said. “They are also facing some headwinds in terms of increased capital costs, interest rates if you will in terms of what it would cost them to borrow.
“One of the biggest challenges small businesses have, in addition to what I just said, is getting staffed up … it’s definitely an employee-driven market. The human capital element of running a business has never been more important.”
Asked for his No. 1 piece of advice to small businesses, Beckwith responded, “There are opportunities in recessions.”
The homeless issue has affected small businesses in a big way. “If customers can’t get to your front door, or they don’t feel safe, or they just don’t want to deal with the perceptions of homeless folks, the unhoused folks being really close to a business, and they say, ‘You know, I’m just not going to go there,’ that hurts a small business, especially the retailers.”
Beckwith pointed out a good example of what can be done when city, county, and community leaders come together. “There isn’t a lack of money for this. There has to be a coordinated effort. It’s all about collaboration … This problem didn’t happen overnight and it’s not going to get solved overnight. This is a five to 10-year recovery. It’s got to be solved by government because it’s just too big.”
Beckwith also gave his thoughts on the new California State Legislature and what he would tell it, and he discusses the formula making the Sacramento region a growing economic powerhouse.
Click the arrow below to listen to this highly informative podcast. Click here to listen to all prior NFIB California podcasts.