Mar 30, 2020
Julie Herres from GreenOak Accounting joins the podcast again to speak about financial tips for surviving the COVID-19 crisis. We are going to be talking about thoughts that we’re having about this whole crisis and what’s going on for people financially. We speak about how we can get through the next couple of weeks and next few months if you don’t have a considerable amount saved for a sudden downturn like this. We discuss how to budget for a crisis, creative ways to pay for expenses, and calling big-name companies and asking for assistance. Later, we speak about paying your team, applying for loans, and diversifying your income streams. Stay tuned as we take questions from Zoom!
Julie Herres is the owner of GreenOak Accounting. The firm provides bookkeeping, accounting, CFO and tax services to mental health private practice owners throughout the United States. When Julie founded GreenOak Accounting she started working with a few therapists. Over time, more and more therapist referrals came in and she started noticing trends across the practices that were thriving. Based on those trends she developed success ratios as a way to quickly determine the health of a practice.
Today, GreenOak Accounting’s focus on mental health private practice is intentional and geared towards helping business owners understand the story that their numbers are telling. Julie understands what’s involved in managing and growing your practice and is uniquely positioned to be a trusted advisor to clients.
What does it look like if you don’t have a big buffer, can you make it through? Make decisions based on data and not from fear. So it’s always a great idea to know where you stand, right? Run the numbers and see how much is coming in. Also, know what it takes for you to keep your doors open.
What’s the minimum number of dollars that you need to bring in to pay for the rent and to pay for the minimal software expenses that you have? How much does it cost for your payroll and how many clients do you need to cover that? You’ll find it’s not as much as you think it is. So you may not be paying yourself as much as usual, and there may not be a lot left over. Figure out where you are. You want to make sure that you have enough money in your personal life to pay for your food, shelter, and necessary expenses.
Call your mortgage company, call your landlord, call your credit card company and ask them what they can do to help. There are a lot of different programs and it really depends on the company and the state. Some utility companies are not disconnecting anyone for lack of payment. Many companies are suspending all the payment fees. So if you reach out, you might be able to get a break. Always be proactive versus reactive.
You can also reach out to your credit card company. Ask if they will waive your payment and not apply any fees. You can also reach out to your bank and say that you are going through a time of financial distress. A lot of banks are being very amicable because they know what a difficult time it is for someone. Start with the big companies that are going to be understanding.
Look at how you can really streamline things. A lot of times we have subscriptions we pay for, that we don’t need. Suspend the subscription for the months that we are in financial distress. Most people are going to be open to that; they realize money is tight for people. For instance, if you have been thinking about cutting cable, now would be a good time to suspend those payments. Now is the time, especially if we’re having more downtime, is to look at your numbers and understand what it takes to stay open and what it takes to pay your people.
It’s a good time also to pull out your credit card bill and go down the list. What are the things that you’re using, and what are you not using? It’s an excellent opportunity to do that. If you are thinking about cutting your VA, be really careful. Your VA is a really small business, they’re struggling too. If you really can’t afford it, then you have to. But if there’s a way for you to reduce maybe even your hours versus cutting them altogether, it’s an excellent way to keep things moving along.
If you have a client that cancels on you, then there is an excellent opportunity to use that hour very productively. You can build on your email list, start making videos for Instagram, and reach out to clients who you haven’t seen in a while. Lots of people are switching to telemental health space. If you haven’t already done so, now is the time. Most insurance companies have dropped their restrictions on having online sessions. Check with your state and your insurance company to make sure they are embracing this change.
Profit first and Money Matters in Private Practice are both essential resources for running your practice. In the middle of a crisis, it’s not time to implement profit first. But once the dust settles, you should definitely be following profit first. Ask if anyone on the team takes fewer hours. Maybe they have a spouse that is still getting paid full salary, so they’re able to defer their salary for a little while. You can also defer that tax payment later so you can catch things up.
Another thing you can do is to adjust your salary for a later date. There might be tax credits for people keeping on their employees. There might also be your credits for self-employed folks as well. So your relief is on the way.
You can apply for a small business loan. The government has approved up to 7 billion in SBA loans. Most businesses are getting a minimum of 25,000 at very favorable rates – it’s just under 4%. Plus, there are no payments for at least four months. That is an option for small businesses. You are going to need personal financial statements. Make sure you know what liabilities you personally have. Plus, you will need to understand what cash and what assets you have. Get your applications in quickly and accurately. It’s challenging to get ahold of customer service agents.
Now is the time to diversify your income streams. Have you been wanting to start an e-course or make a downloadable? This is a great time to put pen to paper and start working on that. Even though you won’t make money right away, it will be great to have for another time. There are a lot of different ways for you to create digital products for people. Adding people to your practice is another way to diversify your income. Affiliate marketing is also a way to make money, suggesting books or products to your clients. You can set up an Amazon Affiliate account. You will get a commission, not a lot of money but some.
Being transparent… Some of the links below are affiliate links. This simply means that if you use the link to make a purchase, I get a commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for using the links!
Gordon is the person behind The Practice of Therapy Podcast & Blog. He is also President and Founder of Kingsport Counseling Associates, PLLC. He is a therapist, consultant, business mentor, trainer, and writer. PLEASE Subscribe to The Practice of Therapy Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher and Google Play. Follow us on Twitter @therapistlearn and Pinterest “Like” us on Facebook