Staying Alive

McKenna Long & Aldridge and Alvarez & Marsal hosted a conference on Thursday, entitled “Staying Alive”. There were two panels discussing various aspects of how to keep your business healthy in this challenging environment. It was an excellent panel, with entrepreneurs, turnaround/workout firms, banks and attorneys all represented. There was plenty of dire news and downbeat attitude, but also some good advice:

  • This enviroment is making it very difficult to plan ahead. Revenues in particular are hard to project. They are prone to sudden changes and forward “visibility” is limited: sometimes as little as a week or two. It is critically important to keep an eye on your revenue pipeline.
  • The most critical challenge for businesses today is maintaining liquidity. Revenues are unpredictable, customers are slow to pay, and credit is limited or even unavailable.
  • You should be preparing contingency plans: Plan A, plan B, and the “break the glass” plan in case of extreme emergency. Why? Because when the time comes to use any of these plans, it will be too late to make them up.
  • You should communicate with your investors and your lenders. The good will in those relationships will help you in hard times.
  • If you believe you have issues, confront them directly and quickly.
  • Because of all the turmoil, it’s a great time to be building your brand and increasing your market share.

These are all great pieces of advice. Most importantly, there is plenty of help available. I met a lot of great folks who can help.