Here is a simple checklist to help you survive financially during this lock-down. The main objective is PRESERVATION OF CASH for survival. Of course don’t forget to wear a mask, wash hands and social distance.
FOR SMALL BUSINESS
- Scrutinize closely your Balance Sheet. Check that you have enough liquid assets to meet your cash flow needs.
- Reduce inventories (or stop accumulating inventories). Inventories tie down your cash. So look for ways to reduce your inventories.
- Only stock essentials materials for production of high margin goods/services. Only buy essential things for business to keep running.
- Analyse debtors and collect if possible. Try to collect as much as possible from your customers.
- Revert to only cash sales during this period. Eliminate credit sales and focus on cash sales. This will boost your cash flows.
- Defer long term investments. Now is not the time to commit a lot of cash into long term investments. This lock down period is for survival.
- Invest in short term safe securities. Invest extra cash in short term money markets where it is easily liquidated.
- Negotiate with creditors/lenders to defer/relax payment terms. Try to delay payments as much as possible.
- Liquidate some assets to stay afloat. If possible sell off some idle assets to keep the business running.
- Protect your bank balances. Maintain healthy bank balances. Whatever the case don’t run out of cash.
2. Rationalise your cash flows/Income Statement
- Explore online delivery channels. Hire a bike to distribute your products. Get orders through WhatsApp.
- Prioritise high margin products so you have healthy cash flows.
- Cut all unnecessary expenditures. Reduce commitments. If you have many employees consider reducing the numbers. You can also negotiate for half pay during these tough times.
- Temporarily reduce staff compliment
- Un-subscribe from non-essential services
- Boost sales. Look for ways to boost sales revenue. Run specific marketing campaigns and streamline your distribution channels. For example if you run a restaurant start a delivery service as well.
- Develop networks. Use tools like Zoom, etc. to connect to potential customers and business partners.
3. If you lose your job/income source
- Time to pivot into new service lines where you have complimentary skills.
- Acquire new skills and exploit new opportunities; every crisis has a silver lining;
- Liquidate savings/assets if any
- Downsize lifestyle and implement austerity measures
- Renegotiate loans/obligations like salary loans.
- Defer non-essential spending. This is not the time to upgrade your wardrobe.
- Exploit your social capital. Your network is your networth afterall.
- Seek bailout from friends/family. Now is the time to call on your relationships if you took the time to develop any.
- Prepare for the next crisis (learn to save, invest, build resilient business)
- Pray! Stay strong! Every dark cloud has a silver lining.
4. Investment opportunities during COVID
- Essential services (food production, delivery, online services, medicare, pharmacies, etc.) Essential services are resilient to economic depressions.
- Fixed income securities (Tbills + bonds). Tbills are still are good option as interest is reasonable, risk is low, and they are liquid.
- Cheap equities on NSE/USE
- Cheap assets of failing businesses. Some businesses may collapse and if you have the cash you can buy them.
- Cheap qualified talent who have lost employment
- Re-think your business strategy and come up with new service lines/products/ marketing/etc.