Talk personally with all of your landlords. Landlords will be very hesitant to permit you to delay your rent payment. Ask with some solid feeling about the importance of this deferral to your recovery plan. Advise the lessors that you will catch up on the rent payments at a certain time in the not-too-distant future. Twelve months will probably be as long as you can reasonably defer one or two months’ rent payments. Ask for what you need for survival. Communicate the reasons for the request and the plans you are developing to transition from a survival mode. Call your banker and ask for loan-payment deferrals.
You may need a ninety-day period with no mortgage or other loan payments. Again, ask for the flexibility you think you need to be able to allocate your limited cash to other uses. Detail out for them the limited cash flow to the priority payments you are establishing. To the extent that government action in desperate times are set up to backstop the banks, ask about these options. Follow your banker’s lead in this area. You may be pleasantly surprised at how helpful a good long-time personal banker can be to you and your business situation. They really do want you to survive and thrive! For a business that sells on thirty-day terms, as the economy turns down and sales drop, accounts receivable are collected from prior periods.
This anomaly can cause many people to feel they are in a much better cash position than they really are. Be aware of this fact and conserve cash. As the economy and your revenues recover, Accounts Receivable and Work-in-Process will also increase. These normal and other current asset changes are going to have a dramatic increase as your business improves at the sales line. Be prepared! Plan for this cash utilization to occur.