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The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has turned life upside-down for many Americans, and has forced many small business owners to either temporarily shutter their businesses or at the very least completely change the way in which they operate.

Some small businesses have been forced to close down due to an inability to pay rent, lease payments, other bills and salaries. Others have been able to make it through the pandemic so far, but will still likely see a significant financial impact if they have not already. Even those businesses “making it,” many have had to lay off employees.

There are only so many expenses businesses are able to cut. It is important for owners of small to medium-sized businesses to be proactive about making the necessary adjustments to stay financially healthy and make it through the pandemic whole.

What should you do?

To understand the steps you should take now as a business owner, it is important to take the future into consideration. It is difficult to say how long an economic bounce back will take as states start to reopen and the economy slowly begins to rebuild. Companies that make it through may start to change the strategies they use for taking out loans or leases and paying cash.

There is a misconception that banks are withholding money from small businesses, but this isn’t true at all. Local banks are as affected by the pandemic as the businesses they serve. These banks aren’t receiving payments for loans they gave during a prosperous economy.

In thinking about this, the old saying “cash is king” still rings true in a sense, when you consider the vast majority of companies did not have enough savings for a month without being open. It is difficult for businesses running lean operations to keep reserves for a rainy day.

However, the good news is that the pandemic hasn’t completely stunted the growth of companies throughout the country. There are still plenty of businesses looking to grow and flourish in this economy. Businesses in industries such as technology, manufacturing, biotechnology, medicine and transportation are still seeing significant growth.

With this in mind, it’s not unreasonable for you as a business owner to still have your mind on growth. Consider the areas in which your company needs to grow-employee numbers, equipment, marketing budgets, software, etc., and the strategies you will implement to accomplish these goals.

As the global economy repairs itself over the next 12 to 18 months, business owners will need to make major decisions about how they approach growth to set themselves up for a sustainable long-term future. As always, the recommendation is “if it appreciates, buy it. If it depreciates, lease it.”