During this troubling time, several pillars that hold the economy together will be severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. One aspect that is sure to face great pressure is small businesses, especially since the curfew and social distancing measures have been implemented. While the times may be stressful for many small scale entrepreneurs, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Institute of Private Enterprise Development Ltd. (IPED, Ramesh Persaud said that there are several pointers proprietors can take into consideration to survive the storm.
One key piece of advice from this Chartered Accountant was that business owners should not use the prevailing crisis to run from outstanding debt. In fact, Persaud said in his most recently published feature that companies should be first to make contact with suppliers, creditors, bankers, and financers they owe.
Persaud said, “Do not hide from them as the crisis has affected everyone. Explain your position to them truthfully. Renegotiate all outstanding sums and payment terms with creditors and loan agencies. In crisis, almost everyone would be willing to offer flexibility to previously contracted terms.” Even as he made this recommendation, he said that businesses should not seek to take advantage of the situation by asking for deferral of payments if they know that those accounts can be settled.
Further to this, the Chartered Accountant urged that businesses should not use this period to engage in unethical practices such as price gouging. Persaud acknowledged that indeed, the goal of every business during this time is to survive. He noted however that doing so should not entail profiteering or adopting dishonourable practices to shake down hard-earned, loyal customers and other stakeholders. The IPED CEO warned that businesses which are taking advantage of the situation will suffer damage to their reputation that may linger longer than the effects of the crisis.
Persaud said that at this time, business owners need to stay calm and summon every aspect of their creative genius to innovate and make decisions about matters pertinent to their business survival.