Challenging Times: Four Things CEOs Should Do Right Now

We are fielding lots of messages for CEO’s, board members, and other decisionmakers about how to adjust to the changing circumstances around us.  Here’s a simple summary of the topics and responses:

Access to Capital?  Most teams are assessing cash flow and runway on a daily weekly basis and making plans, even if budgets may change rapidly. (As former BigLaw attorneys now practicing from a much more cost-efficient platform, we’ve been through previous crises and we “get it.”)  Good news is that VC’s, investors and commercial bankers also are working from home and they want to do deals too. Consider polishing your one pager or deck and sending that email intro.  Chances are, they will get it and respond to it.  Talk to your legal and accounting advisors and outside marketing or business development staff—they understand that you are budgeting and making fast and difficult decisions. (As usual, we are not afraid to tell clients to defer any unnecessary projects or notably, how to do them now, but cost efficiently.)

Exit/M&A Events?  See the above.  Investment bankers and potential buyers, whether strategic or financial/private equity buyers, also are working remotely and often from their home desks!  Diligence can be done through remote data rooms and preliminary management meetings can be done via video conference. From what we are hearing, we may see the M&A world pick up significantly once the current fog clears.

The Team. Your team is reading the same headlines and challenging economic predictions as you are today—can’t be helped when we are connected online and all day, especially with the world of sports and entertainment largely on hold!  Keep everyone up to date, and if salary cuts or reductions may be part of your go-forward plan, get in front of that messaging and consider new equity incentives and creative longer-term cash bonus plans. Align their long term thinking to yours.

The ecosystem: the small businesses around you—NEED you.  Think about the small businesses and vendors who are part of your network and eco-system. They are likely hurting right now and they need your help.  Consider buying a gift card for later use from a local restaurant, sandwich shop or catering company. Small business owners often don’t have cash reserves and they depend on all of us to keep them going. Consider sponsoring a food delivery to a local shelter—they get the food, the restaurant gets the business, and you might even get the charitable donation?  Let’s be creative and do all we can.  After all, we’re all in this together!

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