The impact on small business of COVID-19 has yet to be truly quantified. During this unprecedented time, all small business owners need to understand exactly what is and is not possible from an economic standpoint. The inability to generate revenue, cover operating expenses, and repay outstanding debt has turned the lives of small business owners upside down.
When the desired amount of profit is being generated in a business, cost cutting measures are not usually a topic of high priority. In the current environment, this mentality would be detrimental. The following tips will hopefully allow you to implement strategies that can sustain your business during these unusual times.
- Review costs – If you have been maintaining accurate accounting records, it should be simple to calculate how much time will elapse before running out of cash. When revenue is interrupted, spending behaviors must change. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself having to make several tough decisions in the near future. For example, can you afford to keep paying yourself the salary you’ve earned in the past? What can and must be cut in an effort to allow you to hold onto cash? As you know, cash is king.
- Negotiate with creditors – Whatever repayment plans may have existed in the past are probably not going to be feasible in the coming months unless your business is in a strong cash position. Reach out to your creditors now in an attempt to create more favorable repayment arrangements given the current circumstances. If you can negotiate a payment deferral, that would be ideal. However, agreeing to a reduced payment schedule may be more reasonable. Whatever the arrangement, document the name of the person you spoke with and date the conversation took place. Be sure to get the agreement in writing.
- Manage your emotions – It’s hard not to get emotional when your business is suffering due to circumstances outside your control. However, businesses don’t run on emotion. Now more than ever, logic must overrule emotion for the sustainability of your business enterprise.
- Monitor your bank accounts – Having certain payments on automatic draft may have improved efficiency in the past. Consider opting out of any automatic drafts. Why incur an overdraft fee if the normal amount of revenue is not being generated?
- Seek grant assistance – It may be worth your time to investigate possible COVID-19 grants available at the state, city, or county level in your area. Don’t forget to research industry-specific and identity-based (e.g., minority or women-owned business) grants as well.
- Resist using credit cards – The cost to buy money using plastic is very expensive due to the high interest rates. This type of debt is extremely convenient which makes it very attractive. Please resist the temptation to utilize this financing option which could make a bad situation worse.
- Investigate mortgage relief – If your mortgage (usually the largest household expense) is backed by the federal government, the CARES Act has made it possible to qualify for reduced or suspended payments for up to 12 months. The money that you will not be spending on housing will be helpful to keep food on the table while focusing your energy on the survival of your business.
Most of the small businesses that have been impacted may not see business return to normal for quite a while. Now that you have more time on your hands, invest some of it working on your survival plan in hopes of being able to outlast this pandemic.
About the Author
Al Riddick is founder and President of Game Time Budgeting, a minority-owned, Cincinnati-based financial fitness company that strives to help employers reduce lost productivity cost due to employee financial stress. Game Time Budgeting is honored to serve employee resource groups at Fortune 500 corporations, and team members at small to mid-size businesses.
For more information or to discuss how Game Time Budgeting can help you measure the impact of financial stress at your company, please visit https://www.gametimebudgeting.com.