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Navigating the twists and turns of Utah business in the COVID-19 era

Imagine for a moment that you are seated in a kayak in the whitewater rapids of Utah. As you try to keep your boat afloat, waters are rising and churning in every direction. How to keep upright?

This scenario can, of course, be an analogy for businesses in the Beehive State that have needed to plow through some hazardous financial times due to the coronavirus response. For Seek CEO and co-founder Jon Cheney, kayaking has been part of his life for 20 years – so it’s easy for him to know about that analogy first-hand.

Cheney recently wrote a story for Utah Business about ways for business leaders to maintain focus despite these unsettled times. His overall view puts the reader back in that tumultuous water: “The key to navigating the choppiest waters is to look beyond the chaos. Instead of simply staring at the mountain of water rising up ahead, you have to keep your cool, know your bearings and act quickly.”

First Utah Bank can help you bring some focus and look beyond today’s chaos as well with several tools for business owners, including a free business checking program for those who qualify.

Figuring out a value system

Seek is an Augmented Reality (AR) solutions provider, and while that type of technology is hot right now, the business climate itself can be cool to anyone working in an emerging field. Cheney writes that he and his partners had to change their business strategy after years of progress due to the pandemic.

“Earlier this year, we were projecting even more progress, with the securing of a new patent, the launch of Seek Education and other significant milestones,” he writes. “Then, the pandemic hit and the whole world turned upside down. Within days, two of our biggest clients canceled contracts and others signaled that they might scale back.”

Cheney said the company looked at its client base and decided to go all-in on those who would embrace the different and adventurous instead of retreating or staying status-quo. To that end, he and his team created a different kind of value for its product by creating a 3D modeling feature that could show a client how a product would look in their home or space. It would also mean absorbing some costs for new client on-boarding.

“We knew it was a gamble and a possible red flag for investors, but we went all in and offered to install our software for free,” Cheney writes. “We needed to remove any barriers between their current state and a full install, where their customers were interacting with Seek’s technology.”

It’s all about scaling to fit

Once Seek started building the 3D models and showcasing them to clients, business ended up booming. Cheney said the company received a 600% increase in AR usage from its clients’ websites. “Potential clients that had doubts about the effectiveness of AR have become believers and are now converting into full-paying customers, making it easier to sell our platform to a new wave of potential clients,” he writes. “In just a couple of months, we’ve signed on the same number of brands we signed in all of the last two years combined.”

This has gone hand-in-hand with some innovative thinking when it comes to scaling the business. Cheney writes that documentation was improved and more employees were hired so that clients could go through the company’s processes more smoothly.

Cheney points out that in a way, all of this sudden need for change and focus ended up putting Seek in a position to realize how lucky they were to survive the rough waters of today’s business climate.

“This is a challenging time for companies in every industry and we’re all bracing for a tough couple of years, but I know we will get back to normal,” Cheney writes. “The world needs all the innovation it can get, so we’re staying focused on building transformative experiences and helping others do the same.”

Utah businesses can benefit from free checking

As you continue to try and find that focus to keep the progress of your business alive and well, it’s good to have solutions that you know and trust when it comes to managing your financial positioning and your cash flow. If your business averages fewer than 100 ACH checks and debits per month, First Utah Bank can provide you with free business checking as a method to maximize your time when managing these essentials.

There is no minimum balance required for the free business checking program at First Utah Bank and it includes unlimited debit card transactions and deposits as well as free mobile and internet banking. The program is also insured to the legal maximum by the FDIC.

You may need something different to meet your business checking needs, though, and in that case First Utah Bank also has you covered. These options include a commercial checking account for higher transaction volumes that also gives you an earnings credit allowance based on your balances.

As your hometown bank, First Utah Bank has the knowledge and tools to keep your business thriving in any kind of financial climate. Learn more at our business checking website, or call First Utah Bank at 801-308-2265.