TEN Survivor Tips for the New Normal

You are now in survival mode for your company and you need to conserve cash wherever possible. This is a test to see how ruthless you can be, as this is time to play hardball to help conserve cash to help your business survive. Your negotiating skills now need to be refined to minimize the cash flow drain. Here are some tips too help you survive until the economy comes back.

First, you will need to look at your expenses from top to bottom to see if you can trim any fat without taking on any more debt. The $40,000 loan offer by government programs is a nice carrot, but try and stay away from adding more debt.

Employees/Wages

This is the hardest part, reducing your staff. Thanks goodness for the wage subsidy program and unemployment insurance. Your staff can go to these programs to help alleviate the cash flow strain. The government payments under the CERB program in Canada is working well. More aid will be coming as the domino effect has not stopped yet. Here is a link to the the federal government page for what is available for individuals, businesses and industry sectors.

Digital Infrastructure

If there was ever a time to ramp up your digital infrastructure to the cloud, you better do it VERY soon. Key components are remote office set-up, online ordering and call centres. Internet connections are now cheap and perhaps this is time to shop around as there will be deals to be had in a soft market.

Phone

Maybe its time to look look at your phone system and remove duplication. Today everybody uses a cellphone, perhaps its time to consolidate the cell/landline into a single system. VOIP systems still have poor quality due to internet bandwidth bottleneck issues. With more remote workers the cellphone is the best option for communication.

Credit Cards

Shaming the financial and insurance sector as a negotiating tactic

The rumours of interest rate cut are just that, rumours, as credit card companies are unforgiving and are still sending the robo calls if your are late paying during the pandemic. Somebody needs to shame the credit card companies and banks to help more.

Insurance

Your car is parked in the driveway, you may get insurance relief if you report this inactivity to your insurance company to get monthly relief. This is also a good time to look at the business interruption clause if you have commercial insurance. With fewer employees you may be able reduce health benefits costs too.

Accounts Receivable/Payable

I know “the check is in the mail” will come back with a vengeance as you will stretch  your payables as long as you can and your try and collect as fast as you can to generate cash. If you are stretching your payables, keep them informed, to maintain the relationship.

Rent

Talk with your landlord and see if you can get a rent reduction or holiday during the pandemic.  I know this is a big ask. But if you don’t ask you don’t get. Perhaps, take legal action to formally ask for a rent holiday due the the pandemic as you were asked to be closed by the government and should not be asked to pay rent. As technically you do not have use of the premises to operate, which is a condition of any rent agreement as part of the landlord’s duties to perform and is part of the “Act of God” clause. Taking legal action may be your only option and landlords don’t seem to care and they are being squeezed by the banks. It is time to step up and see if you have a good poker face.

Advertising/Marketing

Well, a pause in marketing might be a good thing or a bad thing. Some companies are now using advertising to tell people how they are operating during this chaotic time to maintain sales. Inactivity suggests a negative perception as a possible outcome, as you still need to control the narrative. If there was time to step up your game on the digital side it is now.

US Currency Fluctuations

The USD currency fluctuation has seen the CDN dollar drop to a 40% exchange rate, A 10% difference since January. If your 2020 prices were based on that number you are teetering on losing money as your profit margins have now vanished. This is the time to squeeze you supplier to help you save the deal, as you can’t go ask for money from the client after they have signed.

What to do under the “New Normal

Temperature screening using thermal thermometer at T&T Supermarkets

The provincial governments are now announcing how they plan to reopen the economy in May with social distancing rules in effect. We anticipate we will see more temperature screening that is being used by T&T Supermarkets. Until this type of screening is in place don’t expect malls to open anytime soon and you will be reduced to curb side pick-up if you are a retailer. By appointment only,  telephone appointments, online ordering are now part of the new business model.

Provincial Plans Released as of April 30: April 27 – Ontario, April 28 Quebec, April 30 Alberta

If you still have negative cash flow after all this you may be forced to open for business sooner that later or face bankruptcy, but it is best to practice to have a little more patience in this situation.