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Covid-19 & Small Business

Story: Brad Flynn
Apr 08, 2020
COVID-19 & Small Business
When the tide goes out you can see who has been swimming naked. This is a very apt allegory for our current unprecedented situation in the small business world. Here is how to make sure you are not too exposed right now and beyond this challenge.


Now is a great time to do a cash-flow projection. I call this the sleeping pill – if you know what’s coming in and out of your business bank account in the coming weeks and months, you can sleep easy. Follow up on customers who owe you money NOW. Get credit NOW. You don’t have to spend it, it’s just there for emergencies.

Your business expenses should only have one of two purposes – to get new customers or to keep your existing customers. Reduce your unnecessary expenses, renegotiate rates and terms with suppliers wherever possible.

Keep your cash reserves protected as much as possible. Keep the big purchases for when you accelerate out of this situation.


Communicate well, and often, to staff, customers and your supply chain. Consult with your staff – getting them to participate in a problem will enhance their ownership of the solution. Be open and honest. Be vulnerable. But also be a leader who will guide everyone out of this situation. If you don’t communicate often, you risk stoking the rumour mill, which – just like a virus – spreads rapidly and causes untold damage.

Tell your customers what controls you’ve put in place. These controls are for their health and safety, as well as for your staff. Get their participation in it – everyone is in this situation together.


Look to the future. In particular, how can you accelerate your business once this crisis is over (or beforehand)? What can you plan for, can you produce different goods and services, can you find a new and different niche? Remember that there will be holes in the market for goods that have been exported up until now. Can you produce a similar product locally?

Can you up-skill your workers now? Online courses and training will be a great way of keeping staff busy and doing meaningful work.

Take this time to critically review all your business operations. How can you do things better, more efficiently, smarter? Can you look at investing in technology to streamline processes?