Tightening Up Policies for a Post-Coronavirus WorldBy Jack Ablon
Life after COVID-19 is going to be different. One difference is that all of us, especially SMBs, are going to need to be more aware of and conservative with what we're spending.
Restructuring and reallocating your budgets is essential, but make sure that you're not missing out on other opportunities to set your business up to successfully cut back on spend. Revisit your various expense policies! Tightening these up will help you stay under budgets and hold onto as much cash as possible.
Let's take travel policies as an example, since this one obviously hits close to home for us.
Think about trading comfort for practicality, especially on flights. Do your executives really need to be flying First Class on sub-3 hour flights? These tickets can be 3x the price, and are honestly not 3x the comfort. Consider raising the policy requirements (such as only transcontinental, overnight flights) to upgrade, and substituting Premium Economy or extra legroom for First on shorter routes if absolutely necessary.
With hotels, take a look back at where your travelers have been staying. Have 4 or even 5 star hotels been consistently booked under your policy, especially for non-executives? Consider lowering the dynamic price cap. A couple nights at a simple, clean Holiday Inn Express will get the job the done.
For rental cars, it's also not a bad idea to take a look back at the data. Have your travelers been booking large, more expensive SUVs when they're solo on the road? Consider restructuring your guidelines for what type of cars can be booked in which situations. Having to bend down to climb into a sedan a couple times isn't the end of the world. On the topic of cars, how about ride-sharing? Well, all we'll say is that there's nothing worse than taking a $60 Uber Black in a BMW when you could do the same thing in a Ford for $20.
Other policies you can revisit to help you stay under budget include those for meals (especially when on the road), company outings/activities, marketing swag, and more.
Businesses will always have expenses, but in a post-COVID-19 world, it's a good idea for us to tighten up what's acceptable. As we've seen with this crisis, anything is possible. Keeping cash in the bank helps to weather any storm, in addition to being good practice for any growing business.