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Spring has always been a time to fertilize. Do that for your business now so it can yield results this summer and fall.

Some of you are busier than ever, some of you have some unplanned down town. We are all concerned, anxious and uncertain of what the short-term future holds for our business. Most of the anxiety and stress we feel is due to the lack of control we perceive we have over our situation. So, taking time to plan ahead, redesign your business model, think past Covid-19 to create your business in a way than will enhance your ability to spring back quickly is time well spent. It will help you in the short term take back control and will help in the long term to strengthen your business for greater success.

Don’t let the thought of the process overwhelm you.

It is not as difficult as you might think to formalize a business plan of some sort. We work with clients to build business plans, not because we have some secret formula that you do not have, we don’t use fancy software that magically writes a business plan. Our value is because we get you out of the starting block, we ask the right questions, we play devil’s advocate and we hold you accountable to finishing. But, You Can Do This!

Just Start with one Question.

Pick one question about your business that you think needs to be answered to improve your future and let your mind throw out ideas about how to attack that one question. Here are some ideas of questions that you can consider to get your started:

How has Covid-19 changed my business model?

What should I incorporate into my business model to help me in the future?
Minimum business emergency savings
Did I/ Can I transition to a remote work place?

What does my marketing plan look like during and after the crisis? Do I change my message? How do I keep my brand out there so I am ready to build on it when the time is right?

You know your business best and the questions will start flowing. Take each one and write them down. Then as ideas and solutions come to you, add them to your notes. Once you start asking yourself the right questions, the answers will start presenting themselves.

Start writing

Just let your mind flow on all the things you wish you had done differently and correct them. How could you pivot your business to weather the storm? Now is the time to be creative. Talk to your employees about what they think could have been done better. Talk to your customers on how you could have reacted that would have helped them and as a result helped you?
Get outside ideas. We have seen the power of brain storming, certainly in the accounting groups that I am participating in. Great ideas, resources support came from a couple of Facebook groups that I have been a member of. Honestly, I could not have navigated this process as a small accounting firm without these people who are in my industry, provide the same services I do and are in the trenches with me. No competition among us, just a strong desire to help all of us get through. A new kind of collaboration from which all of us benefited.

Somethings I hope businesses learned from this crisis

** Current, accurate financial statements are critical in order to make decisions about the immediate and long term business operations. Where do I stand, how long can I survive, what business expenses do I cut and how will that help me? Using Short term and long term cash flow projections would help. Having a budget would help know what immediate changes you need to make to stay afloat and weather the crisis.

** Having a relationship with an accounting firm is worth the investment. They bring so much value to the table in the form of business advice, implementation of sound accounting and business policies and procedures and they can provide creative and proactive solutions. Myself and my staff have spent hundreds of hours following the stimulus provisions. It has been a complete mess, constantly changing, each bank asking for a different process and a different long list of documentation. We have dedicated ourselves to this one topic for more than a week. Current clients of ours take priority over anyone contacting us for the first time to assist them with the application process. Since time was of the essence, if you do not have a relationship with a firm that already had access to most of your documentation, then you were left out in the cold trying to gather the documentation, get your accounting/bookkeeping current, etc. All of our clients were already current, we had access to their payroll provider. We started gathering everything they needed and saved them days worth of time getting them prepared to apply for the stimulus package funds.

** Using Cash flow reports and projections is just smart business and it should be an integral part of planning and strategize for your business so you know when you can afford to grow and when you cannot. Cash flow is the life-blood of a business. How can you really operate without it?

** Having relationships with your accountant, banker, vendors and suppliers, customers is what allowed you to weather the storm. We needed a team to get through this and once the crisis was in full steam was not the time to try and build them

Take control back. Don’t just flap in the wind.

If you start thinking about it and letting the ideas flow, you will see that this process is powerful, cathartic, extremely worthwhile. But most importantly, you will feel more in control of how you are going to manage and build your business to make it stronger, more successful and capable of weathering storms because you designed the tools and processes that allowed you to pivot when pivoting is the most important skill you need.

We are ferociously committed to helping businesses realize their business dreams and potential with radical new thought processes and rock solid strategies that work better than you ever imagined.

Post Author: Tricia O'Connor CPA MBA