Find money during times of crisisBy Nina Kaufman, Esq.
These are unprecedented times.
Fallout from the Coronavirus may have you feeling uncertain, anxious and even a little fearful.
But I bet you also feel the urge to take action and protect the things you’ve worked hard to build.
One way to do that is by finding the money that keeps your doors open.
How can you do that when clients aren’t knocking on the door?
Well, the federal and state governments—as well as private funds from companies like Amazon, Facebook, and Google–are providing low- (and zero-) interest loans, grants, and programs. The online HR portal Gusto.com has put together an amazing spreadsheet listing resources state by state which it says it’s updating regularly.
It’s good stuff. Download it and take a look.
But if you dig in further as I have, you’ll discover — the eligibility requirements are largely aimed at businesses with employees. OR those who can clearly demonstrate that COVID-19 caused the downturn. Plus, you have to show you can pay back the money.
Which means …
… the MILLIONS of other solo professionals, small businesses, and gigsters whose income flow often resembles a rollercoaster could well be out in the cold.
[NOTE: As of March 26, Section 2102 of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program would seem to provide 39 weeks of unemployment insurance to the self-employed — but it’s not clear whether you’d forfeit the benefits if a client hired you during that time.]
So here are three things you can do RIGHT NOW to keep cash coming in … and prevent it from leaking out:
- Invoice your clients. Yes, that’s right. If there is money you’ve rightfully earned, now is not the time to be shy. If money’s out there that you CAN collect, don’t leave it on the table. Sure, you can (and should) be kind about it. Perhaps include a personal note acknowledging these crazy times is a nice way to connect—and maybe don’t use the impersonal template message from your QuickBooks program. COROLLARY: Talk to clients about collections. If you already have outstanding receivables, see if you can work out a payment plan. Or, take less than 100% if you can be paid in one lump sum. Or accept credit card payments. And then, make a plan for NOT LETTING THAT HAPPEN AGAIN. My How to Train Your Clients to Pay You program discusses this in depth. Use the code CV2020 to save 50% off.
- Decrease expenses. One of the curious things about lean times is that it helps us see what’s TRULY necessary to running our business. If you’ve been self-isolating, do you really need your office space? Are there technology solutions that never really worked—or duplicate what you already have—that you can get rid of? Service providers that you pay monthly … where you might only need them occasionally? What DON’T you need to spend? Cut the fat.
- Contact your lenders. American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, and others are offering programs to help with debt relief. See this list on CNBC.com. If you already have outstanding balances on loans and credit cards, this could help you reduce some of those payments. Contact your lender or credit institution to find out what they can provide. Every bit helps.
Finally, sitting around and making yourself anxious doesn’t help the situation.
Making a plan for the future really will.
How can you have more cash reserves in the future?
By ensuring your client engagements are profitable.
When that happens, you’ll have enough left over after delivering your services to run the rest of your business.
Be well. Be careful. Be strong. Be hopeful.
To get free access to our digital resources on the topic, visit kaufmanbusinesslaw.com/resources.