Business News, Views, and Tips

How to make your business (or your family) survive over the next year or so

It was a welcome surprise, totally unexpected, but a long-time client, a hotelier, asked me tongue-in-cheek late last year what I’ve been doing for my PR & marketing practice to survive this crisis.

It’s been almost a year since then, and  I am quite happy that my small business is still around, with a new account to boot. A blessing, indeed, especially during these hard times.

So whether you have a biz or finding it hard to balance your family’s (suddenly lower) earnings, here are some tips to get you through the next year or so.

1. Cold cash is king.

I once worked for a firm that employed drastic measures to retain cash, whether the economy is good or bad.

Learning from that, if you can stall paying a supplier by a month, do it. A simple measure: if it took two weeks to process a check then, make it four weeks now. Or even longer.

If you can amortize a family purchase for that new oven over a few months instead of paying in cash, by all means, go.

And yes, that includes taxes, but you have to talk to your accountant regarding the best course of action to take.

Remember: Cash is king during these hard times.

2. Retain clients as much as possible, especially those that are good payors.

No need to explain. A business without clients is not an ongoing concern. Better close shop and look for other opportunities.

3. Be a hungry dog.

A former boss used to say, if you’re in business, be like a hungry dog that always sniffs out its next meal. Always exercise your nose to smell the next opportunity. Or in today’s time, the ears as well considering dogs have great hearing.

Continue to hunt for new projects or business opportunities to shore up your company’s or family’s finances. When you’ve been given a good referral (there goes your hearing), present your best self. Be groomed for the presentation meeting and exude confidence. Work for a better tomorrow, starting today.

4. Tighten belts, especially gift-giving.

Last year, my gift list was down 60% or higher vs the long list of 2019. I told my client then, if I somehow missed a name, I made sure it’s quite hard to get in.

This year, I expect my gift list to be down another 20-40%. So that means the budget will likely down also. Yey!

5. Buy marketing expenses (aka gifts) wisely.

Last year, my go-to place for gifts was my friend’s curio shop, home love point, and the happy place: S&R. Often, imported bath items, liquor, chocolates & snacks are discounted or even better, at buy 1 take 1 treats. Not bad to give away while still being good for your pocket, no?

This year, I also discovered quite a few b1t1 treats at Landers Superstore. They offer good quality items, just like S&R. Incidentally, Landers is like a sister firm to my new project, 8990 Holdings, which is one of the country’s leading developers of low-cost housing.

So, take that trip to S&R or Landers. Or order thru their online channels.

If you’re on a budget for gifts, your budget will definitely go a long way with these two. Take it from this wise shopper.

6. Minimize costs.

Outsourcing usually is an answer to minimize costs. But if you can have your in-house staff perform additional tasks, do it. It won’t cost you more.

If you can write that pending story yourself, go. That will lessen expenses. And improve your bottom line, even by a bit.

7. Pause further learning.

This may be a drastic measure in this education-addicted country but here goes.

Seminar, workshop & conference fees add up. Do you or your staff really need to attend? Will they really share with you things that you somehow don’t already know?

If deemed unnecessary now, you can always attend it next year, or the year after when things get better.

Focus instead on what’s important now. That is for your biz or company to survive and thrive during this unprecedented crisis.

Best wishes and I hope to see you all on the other end of this long and dark tunnel.

Mr. Orbigo holds an MBA degree from the Ateneo de Manila University’s Graduate School of Business. He is a well-respected PR Consultant for the property, hotel, food & IT industries, among others. He also runs campaigns as a Marketing Consultant for a boutique property developer.