It is a difficult fact that not all businesses are going to survive the next three months. When customers are in isolation and cannot get to you, or you cannot deliver, or they cannot pay you, there is the reality of reduced or no sales for the next three or so months (and even beyond) if the virus is not under control.
This is the reality for many businesses, and the situation is something that we cannot change. That being said, there is support in place for most businesses from the Government, and we have a number of resources to advise you on this. We believe in planning for the worst and hoping for the best, which is why we have developed the following action plan for you. Some of the following steps are ones that you may have already taken - this is designed to be a list for small businesses regardless of where they are at in their coronavirus planning.
Small Business Emergency Action Plan
1. Stay healthy, follow the Government guidelines for you, your family, co-workers, employees and your local community. Work from home wherever possible.
2. Work out your expenses (including salaries) for the next three months.
3. If you are in retail – work out your breakeven point by dividing your costs by the Gross Profit margin. That’s the sales figure you must achieve to cover expenses.
4. If you are in the service sector, add your expenses to how much do you need to live on. This will provide you with your breakeven point in terms of billings or fees you need to charge over the next three months.
5. For hotels, pubs and restaurants, contact us immediately. For manufacturers, work out product sales and do the same calculation as above.
6. If it looks like you are not going to be able to operate at break-even, look at your cash or bank balances – have you got enough money saved to survive after paying anyone you owe money?
7. Estimate your cashflow over the next three months. If you need help in doing these calculations talk to us – we can talk you through these for you. Without the figures you cannot make clear decisions.
9. Once you have a clear view of your figures and if you consider you have a 'viable' business (i.e. you can survive for the next 3 months minimum): - Talk to your bank if you have loans or an overdraft. They will be supportive of viable businesses.
- Get your members of staff involved in a discussion of likely trading conditions and get their input on reducing costs and maintaining revenues.
- Review your list of products and services and eliminate those that are unprofitable or not core products/services.
- Get rid of customers who will not pay, or are likely to cost you more in time worked than they are in revenue.
- Review your debtors list and chase up overdue invoices (if appropriate).
- Offer existing debtors extended payment terms and/or discounts.
- Agree extended payment terms with all suppliers in advance.
- Put extra effort into making sure your relationships with your preferred customers are solid.
10. If your business is not viable – talk to us and we can run you through your options.
We are here to support you during this difficult time. As a small business ourselves, we understand the challenges you are facing, and are here to help. Get in touch with our team for more information.