Each day that goes by is taking us closer to a restart of our business activities. So, what will it look like and what do you need to get the engine running once again?
For many, especially small business owners, access to cash is going to be the key to restarting their business. Operating costs during the lockdown might have decreased, but certainly did not disappear and, for many, they are returning to work and a pile of invoices due to creditors.
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Conversely, there will most likely be some challenges in bringing in your receivables. Quite the dilemma. We may get some additional government assistance to fill the cash flow gap, but rule number one for all business will be to communicate early with creditors and create some elasticity for both the payment of March invoices and to be able to access a continued supply of goods.
Number two will be to secure expanded facilities from your bank. NorthChamber is keen to hear of your experiences in accessing those types of facilities, contact us at www.northchamber.co.nz.
For some, restarting business might be as "easy" as getting access to the worksite, unloading the gear and getting on with it. For others, there is the worry that the contract might be postponed or even cancelled.
Retail requires foot traffic and, for that to happen, there will need to be some motivation for us to return to retail therapy and give the credit card some air.
On a side note, I've been going through some deep-seated retail anxiety and have watched a lot of adventure motorcycle "porn". I am now in negotiations with my wife of 40 years to support me in my obsession for buying another bike (wish me luck).
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I am perhaps one of the lucky ones, with little debt, so my selfish desire to get back in the saddle is, in fact, a very important stimulant for the economy. I encourage you, too, if you are in a position to support the local economy, please do.
There are going to be more than a few challenges ahead, but remember, you DO NOT HAVE TO FIGHT ALONE. The chamber has been supporting Northland business for 117 years. We are the go-to organisation for advocacy, ease of business advice, networking and operational excellence.
It may surprise some that our membership has now risen to a record high and that will mean we can do not only more, but take our service delivery to the next level and prepare Northland for an exciting future.
• Stephen Smith is chief executive of NorthChamber.