Business people planning long term during COVID-19

We are now a few weeks into the full swing of the COVID-19 crisis in the U.S. At this point most small business owners have worked through the difficult short-term checklist of considerations to ensure that their business endures. But with no definitive end to the crisis in sight, it’s time to think longer-term.

Below is a list of 10 items you should consider to help your business endure long after you fully reopen:

  1. Seek funding

    There are a number of options from SBA Disaster Assistance, the CARES Act, and the Payment Protection Program to help keep you afloat.
  2. Restructure your debt

    Interest rates are really low at the moment. Look into restructuring your bank loans, credit cards, and car payments.
  3. Find out about rent abatements

    See if you can renegotiate your lease. Your landlord would prefer to keep you there and may be able to help ease one of your larger bills for a time.
  4. Check your insurance policies

    If you have business interruption insurance, you are likely eligible to make a claim on that policy, which could go a long way to helping you get back on your feet.
  5. File 2019 personal and business taxes

    Don’t wait until July 15th. Some loan applications may require tax recent tax returns.
  6. Keep filing & paying sales tax on time

    Some states (updated list here) are offering filing and/or payment extensions. However, most states are not and even for the states offering extensions, you’ll still have to remit this money really soon. Filing and paying it now ensures that you’ll avoid late filing penalties and large tax payments later. Even if things get really bad and you have to file for bankruptcy, unpaid sales tax is not forgiven and will follow you until it’s paid off.
  7. Negotiate extended payment terms

    Speak with your vendors to see if they can offer extensions to your payment terms on aging invoices. You need these vendors and they need you as well.
  8. Terminate nonessential contracts

    With an empty restaurant or retail space, you don’t need to keep paying for Muzac, TV/Cable, or the Sports Network. When you reopen, you can always sign up for these again.
  9. Reduce recurring expenses

    Work with your bookkeeper, linen & cleaning services, select regular delivery services and more to temporarily turn off these services.
  10. Clean up your books & records

    When you’re filing for loans and funding, having clean books and records is a must.

Dig into each of these 10 items and then, when you fully reopen your business, you’ll be in a much better position to stay open and succeed.