Small Business News

Guide to Conquering a Business Disruption
Published: Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Cash Management

  • Prioritize who you pay first
  • Have a conversation with vendors to ask for longer payment terms or partial payments
  • Review financial information and forecast cash needed to operate the business – know your financial data well
  • Address problem areas where costs are out of line
  • Regularly review customer accounts and have solid credit policies in place
  • Place slow-paying customers on COD or pre-payment
  • Require cash payment at time-of-sale
  • Talk to lenders about renegotiating existing loan terms and interest-only payments for the short-term
  • Keep payment promises (Don’t make promises you can’t keep)

Pricing & Cost Containment

  • Reduce unnecessary expenses like travel, entertainment and other areas that do not contribute to revenue generation
  • Review personnel requirements – Are vacant positions really needed? Can duties of vacant positions be divided among other employees or performed by part-time workers or temporary workers? A lean workforce before a crisis, will help you survive
  • Eliminate discounts and giveaways
  • Review pricing and value. Don’t cut prices in a panic mode
  • Discuss rent reduction and/or deferral with your landlord
  • Negotiate discounts with vendors, when possible. Remember, trying times impact them too. They may be willing to offer short-term discounts they otherwise would not offer

Supply Chain Management

  • Review inventory levels regularly and conduct inventory reviews at least monthly
  • If your Point of Service (POS) system has an inventory management feature, enter products as they come in. Your POS system will provide daily inventory information
  • Eliminate slow sellers when recording and liquidate products that have been in inventory beyond 90 days
  • Consider adding items with faster turn times
  • Look for vendors that provide a just-in-time option for ordering products
  • Stay engaged with your suppliers – Don’t wait until a crisis
  • Assess operations and capacity – Adjust as needed

Marketing

  • Identify key target customers and consider a “niche focus”
  • Reassess your marketing strategy
  • Consider redistributing of marketing expenditures
  • Communicate regularly with customers to keep relationships:
    • Customer support, business hours, services, special order needs, and promotions
  • Strengthen digital communications and online presence
    • Diversify communications to reach your audience: social media, email, website, text, etc.
    • Develop or update online profiles
    • Update your website
  • Use technology to expand services:
    • Facebook Live, video, e-commerce sites, payment and services apps, video conferencing (Zoom), networking, etc.
  • Watch for new trends and look for opportunities to provide solutions

A special thank you to the Missouri Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and the University of Georgia for sharing this guide.  The Missouri SBDC is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the US. Small Business Administration and the University of Missouri Extension partner. 

 

 

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