The restaurants, bars, clubs and retailers that we represent are being asked to increase their debt by both the Government and Landlords in the forms of CBILS (Corona virus Business Interruption Loans) and Rent deferrals.
My response is that accepting these larger debts is like businesses becoming lambs to the slaughter in the medium/ long term. We all know the next 2 + years will be tough, so why would any business want to make It harder by adding more long-term debt, just so the government or banks’/ landlords balance sheet doesn’t look as bad as it really should.
Our advice is a simple 5 D’s :
Debt is a 4 – letter word :
Be careful when using it excessively
Don’t accept Rent Deferrals :
Rent deferrals should not be acceptable to businesses as they simply don’t know if they will have the earnings to afford repayment, this could be a huge issue down the track. Headline Rents will probably need to come down long term and this will only happen with landlords who want to have a Win/ Win relationship with their tenants.
Don’t use loans to prop up average / poor businesses :
CBILS (if you can get one) should not be used to prop up average or poor performing locations. The funds should be used to sustain and support only locations which have a likely 12- month recovery plan to decent profitability. Poor performing location should be kept closed and placed into an insolvency process if needed.
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket :
Each location should ideally be in its own company to protect exposure to future uncertainty and risk to the wider business. At the very least, there should be some division of leases amongst estates to reduce risk.
Don’t fear restructuring / insolvency :
Businesses should start to embrace restructuring and insolvency as a solution rather than fearing reputational issues. The world will understand that companies need to do what it takes to survive.
For a private discussion on how to survive, protect and strengthen your business at this time please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org