No, this is NOT just another “here’s what we’re doing about COVID-19” message.
The time for that was last week. Every brand and their brother sent out those messages, and they lost their usefulness — right now, it’s a marketplace expectation that we’re all taking serious steps.
Regardless of what you feel about this situation, or the governmental response to it, it’s time that we recognize that the ground has already shifted under our feet.
You can waste your (precious) breath to rail against that, or you can get productive.
But more about that in a moment.
For now, you don’t need any medical advice from me, nor would it be beneficial for me to share with you my “work from home tips” (though those will be coming sometime soon).
Instead, I’m going to stay in my lane, and get real with you about your Hampton Roads business right now.
I will also offer this before I begin: If you need business help and/or financial advice right now, please get in touch. (757) 857-1880 (or email me back through the email button at the top of the page)
We’re here for you.
That stuff aside, and in the interest of everyone’s time, I will try to keep this short.
Let’s First Talk About Taxes
It is widely expected within the tax accountant community that the IRS will be extending federal tax deadlines (for at least 90 days) and waiving interest and fees associated with those deadlines (for individual returns, and for S-corp/Partnership returns — which are DUE TODAY, as I write this, on Monday, 3/16).
As of this writing, this is purely my prognostication, and not policy reality, but I will be in touch when it becomes reality,
We are continuing to work with Hampton Roads clients on their taxes, and we have various remote options for meeting with us, should you so desire. Email me back through the button at the top of the page, and we’ll send those over.]
Allow me to say this: with all of the cultural and economic chaos out there, I recommend that you allow us to be your guide through all of the changes and turmoil soon to come with your business, your books, and your taxes.
This is NOT the time to rely upon harried, underpaid chat support for online tax software, or to try to “go it alone” and navigate contacting the IRS by yourself. This is, after all, what we do. As an established Hampton Roads tax professional, we have dedicated support from the IRS, as well as many years of experience in handling these kinds of chaotic situations with various clients who have dealt with natural disasters, etc.
We are in your corner.
Now Let’s Talk About Your Business
I know of a business owner who has a SaaS that serves the trade show world. His business is massively affected by this virus, as most trade shows are being cancelled or postponed right now.
The reality is that this will pass, but whether it passes like 9/11 or a full blown recession, or it passes like every other smaller social impact (California droughts and fires, 2009 Swine Flu / H1N1, ISIS battles, etc.) is unknown.
Right now, it’s looking much larger than it did even last week, and the former is looking more likely than the latter.
But this business owner is crafting messages to each of the constituencies above, letting them know his company understands their horrible situation and is available to help however they need.
He’s taking the proactive stance that business will eventually resume, and is using this downtime to get his company’s systems in place, to be ready to blast out of the gates when it happens. Even if that’s 6 months down the road.
There are a lot of business owners that are going to slash their staff and hunker down as though they’re getting ready for the apocalypse. It’s a natural response to protect ourselves when we feel threatened.
It’s part of our reptilian brain, hard-wired over countless generations.
So, what can you do about this right now in your business?
1) I’d suggest letting every one of your customers know that you are thinking about this and care about them.
This should not JUST be a “here’s what we’re doing about COVID” message. Go deeper, get real, be a resource … even if things are looking bleak for YOU, you can still be a light to your customers … and they WILL remember that when the dust settles.
Others are retracting in the face of this (some by shutting their doors), and others are bursting at the seams (I’m looking at you, Amazon and Netflix).
But NOT to communicate about this is sticking your head in the sand. Get ahead of things.
2) You’re probably in this mode anyway, but I suggest you hold off on anything new until things become more clear.
You DON’T want to be spending money thinking you’ll strike while the blood is in the streets just yet. The chaos drowns out every message right now.
But there will, indeed, be opportunities all over the place from this, if you’re smart.
3) I’ve said this elsewhere, but it bears repeating here: There is no benefit to marinating in others’ panic.
Don’t fall prey to the temptation that “you’ll get better news from social media” (Twitter, Facebook, etc.). Whatever practical gains you might get from “hearing about something first” online, you will LOSE in your spirit by allowing other people’s panicky blabbering to impact your mind. Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.
I suggest you set aside time for “batch processing” of the news, and busy yourself with productivity in building your business.
4) If your business is getting massively impacted, let’s talk. Don’t make sudden moves out of panic. Let us be your port in the storm. Let’s make a plan together so that you can thrive, and not just react out of knee-jerk fear.
There are financing options available for many businesses, and tax-smart strategies for tapping reserves if necessary.
Lastly, I Will Say This:
The underlying realities of our economy are still strong. This situation WILL pass.
But it does remain to be seen how long it will take.
But when we stick together (even if we have to do that over the internet 😉 ), we will get through this.
I’m grateful for our chance to serve you and your Hampton Roads business — and we are dedicated to its success, in every season.
Feel free to forward this article to a business associate or client you know who could benefit from our assistance. While these particular articles usually relate to business strategy, as you know, we specialize in tax preparation and planning for families and business owners.
Virginia Accounting Services