• IngramLawFirm

Finding Your New Normal


We have been on PAUSE for nearly 6 weeks in New York State and around the country. The PAUSE includes words like COVID, PPP, EIDL, unemployment, essential and nonessential, etc. These words have new meaning today for you personally and for your business. Life has been filled with uncertainty, lightening fast changes, races to funding, and disappointment. There is a balance between allowing yourself time to panic, to be afraid, to cry, to shout, and to figure out how to support your family, both personal and professional and in figuring how to move your business forward.


The time to panic has to be behind you, especially if you want to keep your business afloat. It is now time to enter back into normal mode, even if that looks nothing like it did before the crisis hit your family and your business. A wise person that I know has said that people need to pivot and produce, his words are spot-on for survival in the market today. The market is out of your control, but your business and how your business responds to the crisis will set the tone for your future success. Find your lane in the new normal and get back to producing today.


The customer needs you to continue to provide your service. They need to understand that their relationship with you has the same or increased value. They need to see that you are in fact not panicking but are moving forward with a solid plan for delivery. Your employees need to see that you have a plan to keep them on the job. There needs to be consistency and transparency with your staff. The staff is relying on you for a paycheck or resources to continue to support their family, which means you have to understand what you can do for them and to educate your self as quickly as you can about the resources available to you. PPP, EIDL, ABCXYZ, all of this information is overwhelming in the best of times, when you are panicked or in information overload it becomes even more overwhelming, that is when your professional team becomes invaluable. Your accountant, financial advisor and attorney can explain to you options and how things apply to you.


Legally speaking, now is the time to review your business model, client contracts, employee contracts, and leases. The panic has past and your new normal should be coming into focus. If you can wade through the information overload, you will be able to estimate a time for re-opening, gauge the willingness of your clients to return to you and what your employees need form you when they return to work, or in reality whether you can allow them to return to the positions. You may have had a stellar business plan, one that was ready to carry you over the next 5 years, well that may still apply but will likely need to be modified to allow for COVID-19 over the next 18-24 months.


Let's start with your business model. Have you discovered in the loan application process that you are not the entity that you need to be? Are you a DBA and need to be a corporation? Should you be an S-Corp? Do you need to set up a new plan to take owner draws? How do you claim your employee payroll and benefits? Now is the time to consult with counsel to discuss refreshing your business model. A plan may not be implemented today but should be ready to go as soon as the government reopens to nonessential functions. Your entity type may be appropriate but you may have realized you do not have or need to update your management documents. Do you have partners listed who are no longer part of the company, have partners decided to leave the business during this time and sell shares to the remaining shareholders, are you bringing in shareholders or partners or investors to try to offset some loss you've suffered. Regardless of the reason, you may need to make sure your documents are in order to help you function and recieive ongoing funding in the future.


Let's start with your business model. Have you discovered in the loan application process that you are not the entity that you need to be? Are you a DBA and need to be a corporation? Should you be an S-Corp? Do you need to set up a new plan to take owner draws? How do you claim your employee payroll and benefits? Now is the time to consult with counsel to discuss refreshing your business model. A plan may not be implemented today but should be ready to go as soon as the government reopens to nonessential functions. Your entity type may be appropriate but you may have realized you do not have or need to update your management documents. Do you have partners listed who are no longer part of the company, have partners decided to leave the business during this time and sell shares to the remaining shareholders, are you bringing in shareholders or partners or investors to try to offset some loss you've suffered. Regardless of the reason, you may need to make sure your documents are in order to help you function and receive ongoing funding in the future.


Clients or customers are essential to being able to sustain your business. They need transparency and over-delivery from you to make sure that they want to continue to give you their money during this uncertain time. You have to put yourself in their shoes and understand a few things about their decision-making. Are you a necessary or optional expense. If you are providing a service or product that they can likely not forego, keeping things stable may be enough. If you are a service or product that may be optional, you will need to provide service over and above what you provided before the crisis. They have to understand that for the same dollars they are getting far more so they want to remain your customer. "Pivot and Produce" is key here. You will want to review your client contract to make sure you are aware of cancelation terms; if you have a force majeure clause to avoid liability in failing to provide services due to the crisis; goods or services that you have agreed to provide and any penalty if you fail to provide the same. If you have to change any term in the contract to adjust for a change to your business model, you will want to sign an addendum to your contract to make sure you and the client understand the new deal points. Check-in with your attorney to draft and review these contracts with you but also to discuss the new local, state and federal laws that may impact how and when you provide your goods or services.


Employees are in a similar position to your customers. Now is the time to review any employment agreements you may have with them. Discuss their current job description and amend any tasks that are no longer necessary due to the change in your business plan. You will also need to discuss with them any additions you may need to make to their job description, especially if employees are being laid off or terminated. Review your employee contracts and make necessary changes with your attorney.


The final item to get in order is your lease. Have you been able to maintain your rent payments, have you spoken to your landlord about making payment arrangements or having deferment of your rent payments? Have you put the new terms in writing so they become enforceable? You should review the terms of your lease with your attorney, address any delinquencies with your attorney who can negotiate with your landlord and make a plan for payment to avoid eviction. If your lease has a force majeure clause, what does it mean for any delinquencies or defaults? If there is room to re-negotiate your lease, work with counsel to make necessary changes and negotiations.


I know this just gave you a ton of information. Luckily for you, there may be time to make these changes if you are not currently conducting business as usual. Now is the time to decide what your new normal is. Ingram Law Firm is ready to assist you by hosting virtual meetings to get you ready to enter your new normal mode and keep your business profitable.

​130 North Front Street, Suite 2

Kington, New York 12401 

P:(845) 331-6601

F:(845)-331-6603 

 amy@ingramlaw-ny.com

*service by electronic means not accepted 

Proudly created with Wix.com

FOLLOW US:

  • Facebook Social Icon
  • LinkedIn Social Icon

Attorney Advertising.  

The information on this site is for information only and should not be relied upon without further speaking to an attorney.  This does not create an attorney client relationship and scheduling of a consultation and associated fees is not the same as hiring this firm or any attorney for representation.