One month ago, the United States stock market broke the all-time high. Over the course of the past weeks, the market has sustained record loss after record loss. The change in the business environment, directly attributable to COVID-19 (coronavirus), is telling.

Weathering the storm

However, as this crisis continues to unfold, all businesses should be mindful of not only near-term issues but should also focus on the longer term and what will their business look like once this crisis abates.

In the very near term, it goes without saying that the most important thing that can be done is to comply with federal, state and local directives. These directives are focused on keeping the population safe and preventing further spread.

Looking out onto the horizon, instead of fear and chaos, now is the time to focus your attention on what your business can do to prepare, seize opportunities for growth and thrive in the days to come.

Aid from the government may be coming

One key element of this will be to take advantage of any federal, state and local aid available to your business. While the federal government is pushing forth mass fiscal stimulus, it is not yet certain which components will be applicable to individual entities and what the final rules and regulations will be.

What is certain is that in order to take full advantage of any government program, you will need to be organized and prepared.

Gather information and records now

To ensure that you do not miss out on an opportunity to recover potential losses or increased costs incurred, you should begin assembling pertinent records.

Note the date that an emergency order was issued in your area, how your company responded and any losses or increased costs you incurred as a result. Record them all and maintain the receipts, change orders, directives, invoices, etc.

As you look to document losses for tax, loan, contractual or insurance purposes, be mindful of all increased costs incurred during this emergency period including labor, shipping, finance charges, more stringent loan terms, performance penalties, material substitutions and increased materials costs, as well as the loss of income. It is more efficient and cost-effective to quantify ongoing losses now rather than years in the future.

It goes without saying, however, that you should continue to work diligently to mitigate losses, if and when possible.