Apply these 5 business survival strategies during the COVID-19 crisis

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RIVERSIDE – In response to local partners seeking help to provide Riverside County businesses with accurate information on resources available, Inland Empire Center Small Business Development Center offers information that would be useful to business that need recovery assistance in navigating through this global COVID-19 pandemic that is affecting business survival.

The following business strategies can be used during a crisis like COVID-19 or any economic downfall. Use this time to review and understand how the business is doing and the steps that must be taken to achieve the goals.

If at any time a business owner needs assistance with any of these steps, they can know that the Inland Empire Small Business Development Center is available to assist them virtually. Call their Riverside or Ontario offices at (951) 781-2345 to schedule a meeting or schedule online at https://inlandempiresbdc.org.

Keep close watch on cash flow

The difference between surviving and going under when times are tough depends in large part on understanding cash flow. It is vital that a business owner plans and understands the status of the business’s cash flow.

Limit credit to customers. Cap the amount of credit the business is ready to extend.

Review and revise collection policies. The longer a business waits to call a delinquent customer, the less likely it is that they’ll collect the money.

Look into a working line. Having the line in place will help the business if things sour or great opportunities happen and they want to act quickly.

Trim overhead

If revenues are down, small businesses can maintain profitability or minimize losses by cutting their expenses.

Reevaluate their business space. If it’s not being utilized effectively, consider subleasing a portion by bringing in rent.

Employ energy conservation initiatives. Any kind of conservation can save a lot of money.

Comparison shop for insurance policies. Many small-business owners routinely renew policies annually rather than shopping around for better deals.

Manage payroll. Think long and hard before laying off employees.

Continue to market wisely

Slow times are no excuse for slacking off on marketing. Small businesses need to continually develop their pipeline of customers, so review that marketing plan now.

Maximize referrals. Ask existing customers for referrals. Offer them some reward, such as discounts on their future purchase for giving friend referrals.

Get feedback. It is an ideal time to ask customers what the business is doing right or wrong.

Work on retention. Existing customers are cheaper to market to, so think of new ways to increase sales without bringing in a new customer.

Look ahead

If business is slow, owners may have time on their hands. Turn lemons into lemonade by spending this time doing strategic planning.

Meet with advisers. What is the goal of the company? What would be needed? Strategize tax planning for the year.

Revisit that business plan. If a small-business owner started out with a written plan to guide them, it’s time to take another look.

Stay optimistic. Prepare the business to take advantage of opportunities that will surely present themselves soon.

Protect personal assets

All businesses hope to survive difficult economic times, but the reality is that some will undoubtedly fail. If it does, what happens to the small-business owner? It depends on how they’ve set up the business.

For sole proprietorships and partnerships, creditors can look to their personal assets – their home, their car and their savings to satisfy their claims.

For limited liability companies and corporations, creditors can only satisfy their claims from business assets; their personal assets may be protected. If personal assets are currently vulnerable, consider meeting with a business attorney to discuss changing the business’s form of entity.

The Inland Empire Small Business Development Center is currently assisting small businesses to secure Small Business Administration business loans. For more information and to download the application, visit https://entre.csusb.edu/newsMgr/index.php?newsId=93&page= or https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans.

Submitted by Inland Empire Center Small Business Development Center.