5 Moves to Surviving the COVID-19 Shutdown – A Guide for Small Business Owners

By Scott Klosinski
March 26, 2020

At the beginning of March, your business was successful and making money, with no end in sight.  You were focused on your opportunities and strengths.  The stock market was at an all- time high. March Madness, baseball and the Masters were right around the corner.  Yeah, I know there was that nasty little virus in China, but that seemed to be blowing over, right?  

Then it happened, a danger no one expected.  The Pandemic of 2020, caused by the COVID-19 virus, was officially declared by the World Health Organization on March 11, 2020.  Not sure the declaration had much meaning to the small business owner until the next day when the NCAA shutdown basketball games and canceled March Madness. The NBA suspended play for 30 days.  The PGA canceled a tournament after an opening round and canceled the next three tournaments.  Baseball shut down spring training and postponed opening day and then, the Augusta National postponed the Masters golf tournament.   Did it really sink in what was going on at that time? Probably not.  You were still focused on making your business successful.

No matter what, your business, whether large or small, has been affected, and more than likely for the worse.  Here are five moves that you need to make now to ensure survival when it is all over:

One – Don’t Panic.  This is the time for you to be a leader of your company.  Be grateful for where you are and the progress that you have made.  Focus on how to respond to the crisis with which you are now faced.  Stay positive.

Two – Project Your Cash Flow on a Worst- and Best-Case Scenario.  As of this writing, President Trump wants to open the country back up by Easter, which is April 11th.  That is 17 more days of shutdown, and the medical advisors are saying that is way too soon.  So do your projections, best case scenario, April 11th, worst case scenario —- you decide.  Don’t spend too much time on the worst-case scenario – it will drive you crazy.

Three – Ask for Advice from Trusted and Experienced Advisors.  This is the first step to stabilizing your business.  An accountant or attorney who has experience working with companies experiencing cash flow or debt issues can save you many times the money that it would have cost you, and possibly save your company.  Note the word experience is the keyword.  If they do not have experience, you will be paying them to gain experience.

Four – Talk to your Banker.  If you have not done this yet, do so now.  Discuss your concerns with him.  Your Banker knows that we are all in this together.

Five – Focus on Today for Your Business.  Rather than focusing on the very uncertain future, focus on what choices you can make today that will be useful when normalcy returns.  Focus on your company’s biggest strengths and opportunities.  

Stay healthy, and as you follow these five steps, you may find that your business not only survives, but is ready to thrive as we leave this pandemic behind us.

Scott Klosinski is a Partner with the Law Firm of Klosinski Overstreet, LLP, 1229 Augusta West Parkway, Augusta, Georgia 30909.  He is licensed to practice law in both Georgia and South Carolina and has been practicing Bankruptcy law since 1988.

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