Small Business Survival Tips During COVID-19

I won’t be disingenuous by marketing services when most of us are in survival mode so I will make all readers of this newsletter an offer:

If you have questions about what to do, how to handle things, need a sounding board, or simply someone to vent with call me for free telephone counsel. Or, if you’re sick of being cooped up and simply want to talk, give me a call or suggest we meet for a walking coffee (at a safe distance).

On to a few miscellaneous thoughts on our current situation.

This virus has affected every business. Some are busier than ever – the grocery industry, medical supplies, etc. Most are stagnant at best, in horrible shape at worst – restaurants, catering firms, bars, their suppliers, theaters and other arts organization, athletics, car dealers, repair shops, etc. All are wondering what the heck is going on, when will it end, will it end?

I’ve read a lot on the virus and understand why the plea for social distancing. This virus is wickedly contagious at short distances and has a long life on surfaces, which is why they say don’t touch your face (hard for those of us with tree pollen allergies).

The testing of NBA players showed people can have it, and transmit it, without showing any symptoms. A chart in the WSJ recently showed about 10% of those tested have it, but those without any symptoms aren’t generally getting tested.

The president says he wants the economy back by Easter. Medical experts say it’s not feasible. Would be nice and it does pay to be optimistic but the peak of his predicted to be in April (earlier states like New York, later in others).

No matter what your political persuasion be careful of what the extremes say. This isn’t exaggerated to prevent the president from holding rallies (Fox News) and everything the administration says isn’t BS (MSNBC). 

Conclusion & Advice

Whatever your business is, be doing marketing. Call customers, referral sources, be on social media if it’s a fit for what you do. Be present instead acting like you’re in a business coma.

Take care of your employees the best you can. You want good talent back when this is over. Work with an employment attorney, research the Family and Medical Leave Act, know about State programs, and keep up to speed on new Federal and State legislation and disaster recovery programs.

Also take care of your customers, even if they’re not buying now. This could be better terms, deals, or simply talking with them.

Communicate with your suppliers. If cash is tight, let them know, work out payment plans, and above all, don’t be silent about it.

Work with your bank, especially if you have a term loan and cash flow issues. I’ve also heard a lot of PE firms are telling their operating companies to use the lines of credit to strengthen their balance sheets cash position so consider this.

If business is slow, do those administrative things you’ve put off. Take care of personal things. And be ready because there won’t be an announcement saying, “It’s over, back to normal.” It will sneak up on us.

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