Life is becoming increasingly unpredictable, with many of us directly or indirectly impacted by natural disasters and other events beyond our control. One way to feel more in control during an out-of-control situation is to be prepared with a checklist of steps that you, as a small business owner, can take when disaster strikes and the bottom line takes a hit.
- Speak to your lenders. Tell them what has happened and ask them if it is possible to postpone repayments for 2-3 months or switch to interest-only payments for a few months.
- Speak to your landlord. Ask if they would consider a temporary rent reduction.
- Reach out to your existing customers via email, social media, etc., offering a 10-15% discount for the coming month(s).
- Organize a promotion or event to raise your profile and draw in new business.
- Be aware of any special loans that may be available to you. For example, if an area is officially designated as a disaster zone by the government, SBA loans will be available to qualifying individuals and businesses. Check your local government website and your local WBC.
- Stay current with your credit card payments. Pay just the minimums if you must but try to avoid skipping repayments completely as this will negatively impact your credit score.
- Partner with another local business to come up with some joint initiatives to increase revenue and develop local synergies. Develop a new product or carry a new line.
- Review your business insurance. See if you can claim for any business property loss or business interruption. Speak to your insurance agent to ensure you are adequately covered against future events.
- Prepare a cash-flow forecast that accurately reflects the new economic environment. Cut back any unnecessary expenditure for the immediate future.
- Personalize your recovery plan. What do you wish you had known/done before the interruption? How can you be better prepared next time?
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