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The Green Sheet Online Edition

April 27, 2020 • Issue 20:04:02

Street SmartsSM

Don't get a 'virus' of the mind

By Marc Beauchamp
Bankcard Life

What a difference a few months can make. It seems like just yesterday the stock market was roaring higher, merchant volumes were rising and many ISOs were having a killer start to the year. Now, as I pen this article, we are facing business closures, merchants are struggling just to keep the doors open and the majority of the country is under quarantine. I don't think any of us can say we've seen or experienced anything like this – even the 2008 financial crisis, as scary as it was – didn't shut the entire county down.

Things are evolving at a rapid pace, by the time this article is published; the environment will have most likely changed again, hopefully for the better. Like everyone else, I'm trying to figure out what this means for my business interests and personal finances as well. The only thing I know to be true is that I can control only what I can control. I cannot control the trajectory of a virus pandemic, who is infected by the virus, government policy or when a vaccine or treatment modality will be brought to market.

Control your reaction

We've all heard it before, and we now have an opportunity to put it into practice: You can't control what happens to you, but you can control how you react to it. I believe this to be true for me. I believe it, because I've experienced the negative effects of not following this maxim in my own life. Today I choose to focus on what I can do in the situation rather than thinking along the lines of: what happened to me, what they did to me or what a bad hand I've been dealt.

I'm not suggesting we ignore reality; let's face the reality of the situation and see how we can intelligently and rationally deal with it. So choose to focus on what you can control and don't get a "virus" of the mind. If you succumb to such a virus, it will stay with you much longer than the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

What you can do

Here are five tips for managing the current crisis:

  1. Don't panic: This country has faced numerous challenges, and we have always prevailed. Wars, plagues, floods, tornados, gas shortages, runaway inflation, health epidemics, financial crisis' and terrorist attacks – just to mention several that I've experienced in my lifetime. America always overcomes the challenges we face. We adapt and we overcome. We have the most vibrant economic engine in the history of mankind, some of the greatest minds on the planet, a great healthcare system, a motivated workforce, committed healthcare workers (my wife is one of them) and first responders to face this challenge. This too shall pass. Winters always yields to spring.
  2. Preserve cash: We take oxygen for granted until there isn't any available. For a business, the oxygen is cash flow. If the business lacks oxygen is will smother and die. Review your cash flow; assess your residual stream, unpaid bonuses income, third-party revenue and accounts receivables.

    Evaluate your merchant portfolio and come up with an estimate of how your residuals might be impacted over the coming months. Project your cash flow based on outgoing expenses and incoming revenues. At this point, you may have to make some hard decisions. You must live to fight another day, so do whatever it takes to ensure you have enough cash flow to weather this storm. In this type of environment cash is king.

    Stimulus packages are great, low interest rates are wonderful, checks to workers help, but don't count on the government to save you. Certainly, apply for any help that you can get. But the reality is that the only one that can save you is you!

  3. Focus on products you can sell remotely:The technology we have available to communicate and share information is unparalleled. Use this technology to create and close more business. Sell products that business owners need right now. Examples include working capital, credit lines, invoice factoring, cash-out refinancing, equipment finance, online ordering and mobile payments.

    Merchants will have more time on their hands and are looking for ways to reduce overhead and save money. Look for key verticals that you can target that are still operating and potentially expanding their business. Yes, some still exist out there. I spoke to an agent the other day who was doing great with butcher shops, small grocery stores and online ordering for restaurants. People still need to eat.

  4. Use this time to your benefit: Instead of watching the news all day long, could you be using this time for your family's benefit? You may never see this type of opportunity to reconnect with your loved ones again. Use this time to sharpen the saw, as Stephen Covey puts it. Read, exercise, listen to podcasts, strategize, research new vendors, revamp your marketing, connect with God on a deeper level, journal, cultivate positivity or take up an empowering habit. Keep your days structured and filled with things that build you up not tear you down. Remember, don't get a virus of the mind.
  5. Be ready for the rebound: Maybe, by the time you read this article things will have already started to rebound. I hope so. Once business owners and investors have some measurable clarity about the potential downside, we will be able to at least quantify the effects and start to dig ourselves out of this. When this happens be ready for a rebound. It may take time, but it will happen; the economic engine of the country is unbelievable. I believe there will a tsunami of opportunity coming our way.

This is the question I'm asking myself right now: How can I turn this challenge into an opportunity? This is just beginning. Stay strong and take care of your loved ones, especially those at risk. You will weather this storm and be prepared to capitalize. end of article

Marc Beauchamp is author of Survive and Thrive in the Merchant Services Industry and founder of Bankcard Life, a community for payments professionals. He is offering a free copy of his book to all payment professionals at www.bankcardlife.com/greensheet. Marc welcomes your comments and feedback at marcb@surviveandthrive.biz.

The Green Sheet Inc. is now a proud affiliate of Bankcard Life, a premier community that provides industry-leading training and resources for payment professionals. Click here for more information.

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