Where Does the Road to Recovery Begin? Tips for Struggling Small Businesses
Eight months into the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis has left both big and small businesses and their owners reeling, many times just trying to keep their heads above the water from drowning.
Whether recovering, attempting to reorganize or merely trying to survive, there are several self-help strategies that may be the difference between weathering the storm or going under.
Ask for Help from Your Helpers
Like many things in life, we can do a lot by ourselves, but often the best outcome is when we employ the assistance of others who know what they are doing. When we have health or medical problems, we do not hesitate to seek information and advice from our medical practitioners. Very few people are sufficiently skilled in repairing automatic transmissions, so we go to a mechanic. When it comes to financial and operational issues with our small businesses, we often seek the advice and counsel from our bookkeeper, accountant or tax advisor. So, what should be done when trying to figure out how to keep your small business going when multiple adverse factors, like the pandemic we are currently living through, impair your ability to see a viable future?
Financial advisors, and the attorneys who work with them, often bring the skill sets and expertise needed to advise financially distressed businesses. How do you find and access such help? It’s easy. Ask for help from those around you who you trust. Whether it’s your accountant, realtor or the attorney you used to get your business organized and off the ground — these are all good “helper” resources available at your fingertips.
Get the Data
To find out how much money is in your bank account, you need to look at the data — your bank balance. If you’re trying to compare where you were financially and operationally pre-pandemic compared to now, you don’t guess or estimate, you look at the data — actual numbers. This is important because when stressed, anxious and/or depressed about your small business, the best decisions are informed decisions. Most small businesses today rely on one of several accounting software systems: some off the shelf like QuickBooks, others proprietary for that specific business/industry. That actual data, as opposed to belief, conjecture or assumption, is the best foundation from which to make the most informed and rational decisions on what path forward you should consider.
Formulate a Strategy + Implement an Action Plan
With one or more helpers, and accurate data in front of you, formulate a strategy to either “recover”, “reorganize” or go into “survival mode”, if that is what it takes to save your business and livelihood. Being organized in your formulation of a strategy gives you the opportunity to potentially consider more than one path or option, which forces deliberation and, hopefully, patience, resulting in as an informed decision as possible. Once you are satisfied in the viability and feasibility of your strategy and have your timeline and punch list of steps completed, implement your action plan and monitor the results.
Jeffrey D. Goetz leads the Bankruptcy and Reorganization Practice Group at Bradshaw, Fowler, Proctor & Fairgrave, P.C. and is board-certified in both business and consumer bankruptcy law by the American Board of Certification. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (515) 246-5817.
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