• Paul Peter Nicolai

Coronavirus Thoughts For Business

This is not pretty but from a purely business survival perspective:

  • If selling to enterprise or government buyers, expect everything to stall. Sales pipeline will not move forward for months. That means revenues from companies not already under contract will NOT materialize anytime soon.

  • If contracts have cancellation clauses, expect to see half of enterprise customers exercise those clauses. Government buyers don't tend to cancel in the near term, but commercial enterprises will start shedding expenses unless you been able to prove clear cost savings for them. If your value proposition was about generating revenue for them, they will cancel because many of their clients/prospects will not be buying right now.

  • If you have less than 12 months of cash on hand, start preserving cash now. It is incredibly painful to lay off people you worked so hard to recruit and train, and who have worked so hard for your shared future and vision. But you must think about the business surviving first so you will live to fight another day and have any hope of re-hiring people later. Triage accounts payable and stretch vendors as much as possible. Communicate with vendors to preserve business relationships you will need later.

  • Even if you have more than 12 months cash on hand, Move to conserve cash immediately. Defer discretionary expenditures. Look for opportunities to reduce non-strategic expenses like rent or other things where you can renegotiate deals.

  • Look for opportunities for "customer financing" - getting happy customers to prepay for product/service and offer something special in return.

Bottom line: act fast to preserve cash so you have more options 6 or 12 months from now. Expect the situation to get far worse than you may initially think (20% unemployment; 8-12 weeks of "social distancing"; a big viral rebound in the fall of this year;). If it's any better than that, you'll be ahead of the game.

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