Most of us feel like we have been living under house arrest for the past eight months – working from home where possible and following the Minister of Health’s guidelines to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Business owners have been reinventing their operations and processes in some cases while getting some very hands-on experience on how to navigate through a global pandemic. Since there is no COVID-19 guidebook or one-size fits all approach, we have to find our own way to navigate how to best handle our businesses during this difficult time.
- Conserve and preserve cash flow. You don’t know if cash inflows will stop or slow down, so keep as much in cash reserves as possible. There should be no major financial commitments made during this time and no expectations of expansion or excessive spending. Speak with your account manager at the bank and secure a “bulge” in your credit lines so that should you need extra funding, it will be available.
- Organizational agility. You need to be able to respond quickly to changing business conditions – ensure that systems and procedures are in place to help you minimize, manage and mitigate both internal and external disruption.
- Set up remote work procedures, if necessary. Your technology system should be robust and effective with regular support as needed. Also consider procedures for work at the office, cleaning, signing-in, and general practices around social distancing and contact tracing, etc.
- Get comfortable with surprises. We are currently dealing with an unpredictable marketplace so supply and demand shock will be an issue that continues for quite some time until markets can regulate to this new normal.
- Search out grants and government programs to help your cash flow. Evaluate whether there are government relief programs applicable to your business and start applying sooner rather than later.
- Check-in on your workforce. Ensure your employees are coping with the changes we are all experiencing. Look into whether your health insurance provider offers any programs related to assisting with mental health issues that may arise under the stress of COVID-19.
- Maintain a close relationship with your bank. Provide your bank with on-time reporting and maintain open lines of communication. See what programs they have to offer, if any, that can help you manage some of the financial strain of operating a business during these times.
- Stay on top of your taxes. Ensure your accounting records are kept up to date and that tax filings are kept current (including payroll tax, HST, etc.) in order to avoid excessive interest or late penalties. Use the accounting information to help you manage your difficult business decisions.
Case in point: Operate Cautiously. Try not to over promise or overspend. This is a long game to get through this pandemic and at Crowe Soberman LLP, we are here to assist you every step of the way. You don’t have to establish a recovery plan alone. We are committed to supporting our clients as they explore opportunities and navigate the path forward.