AS businesses face the consequences of lockdown, conservation of cash, staff, customers and suppliers is at the top of an owner or manager’s mind.

Tough decisions have to be made to prevent as many as a million SMEs disappearing during and after this crisis and protecting cashflow is vital; there are some simple steps which will help:

Collect debts with renewed vigour – this will become increasingly difficult as all businesses feel the cash pressure.

Cut all non-essential services and accounts – no unnecessary cash bleed at all.

Payments out only because of necessity – prioritise on the basis of business need only. It sounds harsh, but this is about business survival.

Make use of the government financial support schemes for business – do not assume that will assist your immediate cash flow.

Furlough staff if possible – it allows you to recover 80 per centof their furlough wage. But note – you have to pay your staff and reclaim.

Redistribute funds for HMRC payments where these have been suspended by HMRC.

Negotiate standstill agreements or payment holidays with landlords – they will want to retain a healthy business as tenant.

Negotiate standstill agreements or payment holidays with utility providers and banks.

If there are historical debts, negotiate longer payment periods or payment holidays.

Consider asking staff to take salary reductions – but lead by example.

Consider whether a temporary business shutdown is feasible.

Business failure is not only disastrous for the staff, customers and suppliers involved, it also affects the wider business community. Business owners and managers have never been under greater pressure or scrutiny – taking calm decisive action is key.