Effectively Managing Mental Health Practices Amidst the Coronavirus
Depending on what part of the country you live in, the Coronavirus may be either a worrying news headline or the thing that is shutting down your children’s school for the next several weeks. This event is unprecedented and it is creating a great deal of uncertainty across the globe.
A lot of small business owners are left wondering “How is this going to affect me?” and “Will my business be able to weather the storm?” You may be one of them. You have worked hard to build your mental health practice. What can you do to protect it?
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Cash is King
It is very important that you carefully manage your cash flow. Precautions resulting from the Coronavirus, such as “stay at home”, maybe making your revenue unpredictable, especially if you rely on in-office visits. We recommend temporarily pausing your financial goals. Use this money to stockpile cash into an emergency savings account. Pausing a goal, such as paying off some credit card debt, may cost you some interest in the short-term, but having additional cash on hand will provide you with options should something happen.
Pausing financial goals can be one of the hardest things for our clients to do. They don’t want to stop making progress and I don’t blame them. Be warned… if you use all your cash to pay down your debt this week, and revenue goes down next week, you’ll have to borrow money again (if your credit line is still available). Once the dust settles, and we believe it will, you can throw all that money back at your goal and feel proud that you were prepared for either possibility.
Protect your revenue
During this “social distancing” period, it is important to retain the clients you currently have. If your clients are afraid to meet you in your office because of the Coronavirus, you need to find a way to still meet with them in a way that makes them comfortable. I recommend meeting with your clients using an online platform like Zoom or WebEx. That way you can still help your clients in an environment where they feel comfortable and you can protect your revenue at the same time.
Call your vendors and stay in communication with them. If your revenue has already been negatively affected and you find yourself unable to pay your bills, it can be a scary time. You may even feel ashamed. Many people when faced with shame, go into avoidance mode. That’s the last thing you want to do right now. Be proactive. Staying in communication with your vendors and working out payment plans, if necessary, will help you manage the inflows and the outflows of your cash.
Make a plan
We all know that this is easier said than done. This crisis will pass. Once your business starts generating revenue regularly again, you’ll want to hit the ground running. Make a list that shows all your vendors, the amounts due to them, and the due dates of their invoices. Also, note if you fell behind on any payments. When the cash starts flowing back in, you will have a plan to be able to get back on track quickly by knowing exactly what needs to be paid to each vendor and when.
Educate yourself on the symptoms of the virus from reliable sources. Identify the hospital nearest to you and understand the recommendations for the people in your area. Many hospitals have updated protocols on their website so that you know which entrance to go to, for example, should you start to feel sick. Also, consider using Telehealth services when available. Telehealth services allow you to talk to a doctor remotely, by video or phone, rather than going to their office or the hospital. You can read the CDC guidelines for employers and businesses here. You can stay up to date on the situation by clicking here. Make sure that you understand who is considered high risk for Coronavirus complications and act accordingly.
Learn from this
The best thing we can do when something bad happens is to ask ourselves “How can I prevent this from happening again?” Now you and I can’t possibly prevent a global pandemic or predict when some other massive event will significantly impact our business. We can, however, prepare for emergencies and be ready for when they occur. When you create an emergency fund to prepare for “rainy days”, you give you and your business options. Having that excess cash will allow you to be better equipped to handle unexpected things when they happen.
Ask for help
I know this situation can be challenging for you and your business. Should your income be impacted, there are organizations, community groups, churches, and other assistance available to you. I hope you will take advantage of it if you are struggling.
If you are simply worried and anxious, talk with your financial coach about what you can do to create more financial stability and peace of mind. You are worthy of receiving help.
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