A. Michael Bucci, Managing Director at UHY
Businesses are continuing to figure out what the new normal will look like as regions and industries across the state prepare to reopen as the spread of the coronavirus slows.
Mike Poveda and A. Michael Bucci warn against planning too far into the future, or ignoring the new realities completely.
They say businesses need to start to looking 13 weeks out to figure out how they can reinvent themselves.
Poveda is a partner with UHY in Albany, focusing on issues such as complex financial reporting matters, structured transactions and risk management.
Bucci leads UHY’s Hudson Valley Region, including offices in Hudson, Kingston, and Catskill.
Their days have shifted to helping businesses navigate the Covid-19 crisis — from advising how to spend Paycheck Protection Program loans to figuring out what recovery could look like.
“Take this downtime to look at every aspect of your business and reinvent yourself,” Bucci said. “From hiring, to where you get your product, to how you distribute it, to how you eventually market it and sell it. Every aspect needs to be looked at to decide how you can do better than you have been.”
Here are Poveda and Bucci’s five steps to recovery for businesses:
Manage your cash flow
Managing cash flow — especially if your business has received a Paycheck Protection Program loan — is critical right now, Poveda said. If a business spends too much, it could run out before it’s allowed to reopen fully and recovery begins. But spend too little and the business could suffer.
Prepare your workforce
Poveda wants businesses to focus on what their workforce is going to look like and what sort of training people will need when the economy reopens.
“We’ve seen an acceleration of changes that companies were thinking about before this crisis that now they’ve had to make,” Poveda said. “One of those areas is outsourcing, from bookkeeping to internal audit and compliance functions …These are the sort of workforce decisions going forward that companies will need to think about.”
Identify profit drivers
Bucci said businesses need to know where their biggest profit drivers and profit losses are coming from.
“They need to know where they make their money and where they don’t, and if they can afford to provide a service they’re not making any money on,” Bucci said. “The ones that will be successful are poised to do whatever way is best for them.”
To do this well, Poveda said it comes down to data. Companies have to figure out which business lines are the most profitable and how they can pivot to take advantage.
“If they don’t have that data now, it should be a priority,” Poveda said.
Streamline your processes
Poveda said businesses should find the waste within their organizations.
During the last few years of economic growth, businesses were focused on producing more volume and gaining greater market share. Tougher times can expose the flaws in those growth plans.
Find ways to innovate
Bucci said there is a lot of anxiety among small businesses right now, and many are finding ways to reinvent themselves.
That includes one client, a sign maker, who pivoted to make plastic masks and dividers for hospitals and government workers. He said the town of Colonie recently put in an order for 200 splash guards.
“The constant thought is about how to reinvent themselves,” Bucci said. “If you don’t, one of your competitors is going to.”
Poveda said the most successful companies are creating new teams focused just on innovation.
“Companies that have been most successful are those that have established a team upfront, almost like a crisis management committee to start these conversations,” Poveda said. “They’re having a conversation around, ‘What is my business going to look like?'”