Businesses are doing all they can to navigate the unknown and to stay afloat during the pandemic, including laying off staff and reduced hours. However up to 30% of small businesses are going to be unable to survive according to Jasmin Guenette from the CFIB.
Here are a few actions that small businesses could take that might help them to deal with their situation.
- Check your reserves and insurance - talk with your accountant about your cash flow and reserves and how they can be best used. Also check your insurance policy to see if there is anything that can be covered for lost income. Even though many businesses have business interruption insurance, as this is a pandemic it does not count.
- Have honest conversations with your staff about how you are going to try and keep them on the payroll but what might need to be done if your situation worsens.
- Brainstorm with your staff for any ideas about how things could be done differently to save money and layoffs.
- Think about allowing your employees to work from home if it is possible in your business. If you can save on rent and utilities for your small office that could help your bottom line.
- Think about reducing business hours if possible. This will give employees extra time to carry out cleaning and sanitizing for the office or if your are open to the public.
- If your business is open make sure that you follow all health and safety protocols to ensure a safe environment for your staff and the public. Make sure all staff are fully trained and know what is expected of them.
- Talk to your suppliers and lenders about stretching your payments and make sure that you take advantage of all the government, provincial and municipal help available to you.
- Get help from your accountant and business advisors to decide which government programs are most appropriate for your business.
- Continually think and plan ahead to see what you can do to minimize the impact of Covid-19 on your business.
- Consult useful resources geared to small business:
- The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has developed a preparedness guide
- The Canadian Government website Business and Industry Canada
- CPA Canada for tax related updates useful for small businesses Resources for Businesses
- The Greater Vancouver Board of Trade offers a number of useful links
- The CFIB has a dedicated help centre on it's website and has made it's helpline available to members and non-members at 1-888-234-2232
From an article by Margaret Craig-Bourdin