You are in control of your business’ restart. Maybe not the date of opening, but you do control how you prepare. Let’s talk about specific financial steps you can take now to prepare for success when it’s time to reopen.
Small business owners know that assessing where they are and where they are going is an ongoing process. When a business shutters temporarily and unexpectedly, the assessment looks a little different and digs a little deeper. Here are initial, critical questions to ask yourself – be prepared to make some lists!
Outstanding Invoices: What are you currently owed?
Monthly Expenses: Review every item and service you pay on a monthly basis. Don’t just look at your bank account, look at all methods of payment including credit card statements. You may be surprised at the number of subscriptions and services that you are automatically renewed for and/or are no longer utilizing. These small fees can add up, especially when money is tight.
Outstanding Payables: What do you owe right now in addition to your routine monthly expenses?
Liquid cash: Determine available cash on hand.
Real Cash Flow: What do you have access to on-hand, what’s coming in, and what’s going out?
That’s a lot of information, but now you know where you stand financially, right now—today. Armed with your lists of information from above, it is time to
Outstanding Invoices: Contact those who owe you money, recognize their challenges, and negotiate amounts and terms that enable them to pay you.
Monthly Expenses: Unsubscribe to all unnecessary services and subscriptions that you do not need at this time; you can always renew later if useful. Contact those that have a contract period. If it’s a service you do not need, request that it be cancelled or at least paused. If you do still need to utilize the service, renegotiate the terms and cost. (Remember: the goal is to eliminate charges or add paused payments to the end of your contract period as regular installments.)
Outstanding Payables: Contact those who you owe money to, explain your challenges, and negotiate amounts and terms that enable you to realistically pay them.
Even if you have the capacity to continue paying some of your debtors for a short period of time, reach out to them to pause or renegotiate now, before you run out of cash. The list below refers to both business and personal payments. If you can defer your personal car payment for three months, that savings can help your business too.
Many businesses are continuing to offer services, which is great news! If you are one of those businesses, remember that you still need to be paid for your services. You need to determine in advance how much leeway, regarding payment for your services, you can provide to client’s who are struggling. Whenever possible, collect deposits and invoice quickly.