If the word “recession” sends shivers down your spine, you aren’t alone. Many small business owners remember 2008 all too well, and with a COVID-induced downturn on the horizon, it’s hard not to feel anxious.
Luckily, there are steps you can take to prepare your cannabis business for the recession ahead. They’re easy to implement, and they can have a big impact on your ability to weather the storm. So read on, and get started now.
Your fixed expenses stay the same each month. Typical examples include:
Before you do any other fine-tuning, you should aim to tighten up your fixed expenses.
Fixed expenses are important because typically it’s hard to be sure how much money your business will make each month. But when you know your fixed costs, you know the minimum you need to earn to keep your business going. That makes planning ahead easier. Look for ways you can reduce your fixed costs, and you can begin building a new budget for your business.
Because of COVID-19, some typically inflexible fixed business expenses may now be negotiable. For instance:
Find other ways to reduce your fixed expenses. For instance, you may be able to switch to a leaner phone plan, or agree to share wi-fi with a neighboring business.
So, you’ve found ways to reduce your fixed costs. Variable expenses are next in line for a trim.
Variable expenses change month to month. Often, they increase or decrease according to how many sales you make, the hours you bill, or products you manufacture.
Some typical variable expenses:
Variable costs are harder to predict than fixed ones. For instance, if you’re not sure how many ice cream cones you’re going to sell next month, you may not know how much you’ll need to spend on ice cream.
But even if they’re unpredictable, you can cut variable costs as they occur. Using the ice cream example, you may be able to save money by buying ice cream in bulk and storing it, rather than buying on an as-needed basis.
Another way businesses trim their variable expenses: Limiting their offerings. Many restaurants forced to shut their doors due to COVID-19 switched to takeout-only service. In some cases, they also started serving reduced menus.
In this case, reduced menus streamline restaurant operations, cutting back on wastage and allowing them to operate with skeleton staff. You may find that, by sticking to your most popular products or services, you can likewise lower variable costs.
As you’re reducing your expenses, there are a few you should avoid trimming back:
Get in touch with your insurance provider to learn whether your commercial property insurance covers loss of income during the recession as a result of covid. There are two situations you may qualify for:
Even if you’re unsure, it may be worth filing a claim. When it comes to ambiguity in insurance policies, courts often favor the policyholder rather than the insurer.
In the wake of COVID, the Fed cut interest rates to 0%. They also reduced the cash reserve requirement for customer deposits to 10%. Meaning, it’s become easier to get a low-interest loan for your small business.
This is an excellent time to refinance your debt and lower your recurring interest payments. Pay off what you owe with a low-interest loan, and you’ll immediately have more available cash flow each month. And, in the long term, you’ll be paying less to borrow.
When the future wellbeing of your business is in question, telling vendors and lenders can make for an awkward conversation. But it’s important, both for the sake of surviving the difficulties ahead and maintaining your business relationships.
Many companies are offering free services, skipped payments, or extra lenience for late payments in order to support their clients during COVID-19. You may be surprised at how flexible your vendors or service providers can be. After all, it’s likely that many of their clients are facing trials similar to your own. It’s in vendors’ best interest to hold on to clients during the recession and keep their own revenue streams open.
Even if your vendor won’t budge, it’s important to be upfront with them now. It’s an invitation for them to be open as well, and communicate any anticipated interruptions in service ahead of time. Vendors and clients rely on each other—there’s no sense letting your relationship break down during a crisis.
Bookkeeping may be the last thing on your mind as you look at the months ahead. But remember what up to date books do for you. That’s why we suggest Bench—so can have an affordable bookkeeper help you take advantage of the benefits of bookkeeping.
Financial statements let you monitor your business, find ways to trim the fat, and anticipate problems. Plus, you’ll need them if you decide to apply for a low-interest loan, such as the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
It’s easy to get overwhelmed. But as you face new challenges, be careful your regular day-to-day routine doesn’t slip. Falling behind on bookkeeping now could cost you important insights into how your business works, or limit your opportunities for funding down the line. Plus, even though tax season was delayed in 2020, the postponed filing date came around eventually. A good bookkeeper can help make sure you’re prepared.
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