With most startups in crisis mode, one of the top considerations is cash management. The ability to raise capital has been greatly diminished and things are likely to get more challenging before they get better.
Steve Blank has an excellent post from Jeff Epstein titled Action Today for CFOs with recommendations like:
- Evaluate your when you run out of cash in a worst-case scenario
- If you don’t have 24 months worth of cash, consider the following:
- Draw down your lines of credit and view the interest payments on them as buying insurance
- Sort all vendors by how much you spend and call each asking for a discount or loan to spread out payments further into the future
- Cut marketing programs that don’t have a demonstrable ROI
- Implement a hiring freeze
- Let people go
- Cut all salaries by a certain percentage
- Tightly monitor collections and mitigate problems
Some more cash saving ideas:
- Eliminate all discretionary expenses (require any purchases over X to go through the CFO or CEO)
- Remove any subcontractors or consultants
- Determine which vendors you much have and which ones are nice-to-haves
- Suspend the 401 (k) match
- Ask employees to take unpaid time off, convert to part-time, or a leave of absence
Entrepreneurs are generally optimistic, glass-half-full people, and now is one of the most challenging economic climates we’ll see.
Cash is always critical, especially so in a crisis.
The number one reason startups die is that they run out of cash.
2 thoughts on “Startup Cash Considerations in Crisis”
Solid advice David for cost containment to ensure business continuity during these challenging times. If you are going to suspend 401k (which we will likely implement), there are important guidelines that you need to follow for safe-harbor plans in particular. Good article from SHRM on this: https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/benefits/pages/midyearreduction.aspx – Peter (YPO)
David – Thank you for this post. The company I worked for in 2008 decided we would sell our way through the recession by repurposing employees to put them on the sales team. We also took a 5% pay cut across the board. As a result, we stayed in business and no one was let go.
How do you feel about optimism and selling your way through a downturn?