5 Budgeting Tips To Stay Afloat During COVID-19
I have been fielding calls from small business owners who are wondering how to stay afloat during COVID-19. Cash flow is at an all-time low. Sales are down (or even halted, for many personal service businesses). So, how do you budget to account for the uncertainty of the future?
Right now, we don’t know how severe the damage to our economy will be, or which industries will suffer the most severe losses. Wise budgeting can give you the safety net you need if things do go badly, ideally without cutbacks that will not prohibit your growth if losses aren’t as severe as feared.
Read on to discover Concerto Law’s budgeting tips for staying afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic:
Tip #1 – Prioritize employee morale.
If your people aren’t happy, it is much harder for your business to thrive. Try to reduce income loss to your employees. Nearly all of us will see a reduction in our income this year. Your employees will be more motivated and productive if they see the ‘pain’ being spread equitably. It will not serve you in the long run if you attempt to maintain your current income while drastically cutting the incomes of your employees. You need your employees to be ready to run when the stay-at-home orders are lifted and sales resume.
Tips #2 – Aim to lower your utility bills.
Little changes can make a big difference. This is particularly true with electric, gas, and water bills. If you still have employees working in the office, ask that they power down their work stations before leaving for the day. If the office is empty because everyone is working from home, be sure to power down any lights, appliances, or machinery that isn’t being used. Inexpensive upgrades like light-blocking curtains and blinds can also cut your utility costs significantly.
Tip #3 – Decide which programs are essential.
This can be an excellent time to really consider what your business is “about”. Some services, product lines, and employee programs may be fun or interesting but might not be essential to your overall brand and marketing strategy. Consider eliminating ‘low-value’ items or putting them on hold. Alternatively, brainstorm ideas for improving the value and profitability of the services, products, and programs you can offer right now or offer once the stay-at-home orders lift.
Tip #4 – Negotiate.
Bartering. It may be the ancient currency, but it works. Businesses, especially in small communities, often look out for each other. Can you barter services or products with another business? You may find it useful to offer some of your company’s products or services in exchange for a discount or even try a product-for-product trade.
Tip #5 – Avoid late fees and interest.
From invoices to credit cards to rent, it benefits you greatly to pay on time, or even to pay early when possible. If possible, your bills as soon as you receive them. Remember, most small businesses are in the same boat. They require prompt payment of their accounts receivable in order to timely pay their own bills. Delaying payment of your accounts payable just creates a cascading effect through your supply chain.
Also, consider refinancing or lower-interest loans. Many businesses now have access to low-rate loans, including pandemic stimulus loans through the SBA. Consider refinancing older, more expensive loans or paying the loans.
I hope you find these tips interesting and helpful. Concerto Law is still open and here to serve you in these trying times. If you are wondering how to manage the legal side of any cutbacks you choose to make, give me a call. I look forward to talking with you!