‘Cash is like oxygen’: Next 90 days crucial for small business, adviser says

Toronto business adviser Andrew Patricio speaks during a Cornwall Business Enterprise Center webinar on Monday, March 30, 2020 about how local small businesses can survive the COVID-19 pandemic. Patricio says the next three months will be crucial for stores to stay afloat. (CBEC via Newswatch Group)

CORNWALL – A business trainer says the next 90 days will be critical for Cornwall area small businesses in how they handle their cash flow and overhead expenses.

Andrew Patricio with BizLaunch Media spoke Monday morning during a webinar organized by the Cornwall Business Enterprise Center.

Patricio says the COVID-19 pandemic will be an “opportunity” for business “if you can survive through this” and that will entail being ruthless with cutting overhead expenses. “I promise you there are some,” he said.

The business adviser says the amount of cash for overhead expenses (cash flow) over the next three months is the “main cause for small business failure.”

“Cash in your bank account is what you want. Cash is like oxygen for a business.”

He suggested not tying up cash in having too much stock and also suggests running promotions or sales to bring in more liquid cash. He also says it may be time to look at an online store if you don’t already have one.

Patricio says owners and managers will need to examine their cash flow forecast weekly if not daily. He’s already told some businesses to forecast, assuming “they won’t get revenue in April or May and maybe some revenue in June.”

Looking for other sources of revenue, Patricio highlighted the federal government loan programs recently announced. But he cautioned that businesses need to have their paperwork in order – a balance sheet, income statement and credit check – because the loans won’t come without an investigation first.

Patricio, who has been a business owner for three decades, says this situation will be a sea change for some local businesses and to look at the positive.

“Some of us are going to realize, working from home is fun. Spending time with our family is fun. Maybe we need to change our business models. Some of us will survive and thrive. Some of us will go out of business. But we’re going to build a much better business,” Patricio said.