On eagles wings: Our recovery from Coronavirus (XXVII). Craving to do what is right.
Have a beautiful and blessed week.
Before advancing further, again I would like to repeat: the slides I shared last Friday, posted below again, only apply into societies which have already tamed the Coronavirus or at least are societies in which the sanitary medical crisis has been controlled. Those communities with helter-skelter and chaotic situations in the hospitals and the health-care value chain are not able neither ready to open their economies. Click here if you wish to print the slides in PDF: Eliescalante on eagles wings Hunger of righteousness.
First thing first: when a society or community or a geographical area of people has a sanitary-hospital crisis caused by a pandemic, the economic recovery is not possible in that specific location. The quarantine has proved to be the most successful strategy to combat the growth of virus incidents. Once the number of Coronacases starts to diminish consistently over time (or at least the curve is deflated), or at least the hospitals-health facilities infrastructure are capable to handle the situation, then and just then we can think of opening the economies. In times of confinement, only essential indispensable industries are forced to continue working (such as food production companies, food markets, pharmacies, health-centers, utilities). The rest of companies have to go to quarantine.
What to do meanwhile the society is on quarantine? We all have lived that experience, so we can relate. If people are not able to work from home (WFH), and their income has reduced to zero, regardless if families are rich or poor, or they had already personal savings or good pension funds, a pandemic forces the public sector to maneuver fairly for all. In quarantine, the government must provide an alternative solution for all the population, with the survival basics aid or what we call “quarantine emergency relief help”. In a pandemic, everyone loses. In people lose their jobs, they lose their monthly wages. If people have affected companies (which are not essential) and can´t work from home, or lose clients, then the company income is reduced to nothing. There are many ways in which governments can help to cover the main basic needs of the population. As individuals, everyone must receive a non-reimbursable aid to cover food, electricity-water and shelter. That´s it. The government can´t provide money to pay other expenses, but just the most adjusted essential necessities. In a universal manner, particularly to the low-income class and the middle-income class, and to those particular cases in the high-end class which are not able to eat, or to pay their house-rental and utilities. Remember that many wealthy people who apparently live quite well hold a high debt monthly scheme (these families only earn to pay the debt of everything they have). In consequence, and if a society is put into quarantine by order of the government, the government is responsible to provide to the most basic needs to those who discretionally demand them:
- Food for the month
- Rental-expenses (an average shelter, not a luxurious one)
- Utilities: electricity and water. The internet is a luxury in times of pandemic.
- Health-related universal protection.
Once the quarantine is over, and societies start to work, “the quarantine government emergency relief aid” must end, and a new phase begins. This new phase is the economic recovery, that will last some months (maybe a year or two). And a new type of aid from public funds is required once the economic recovery process begins.
Explanations of the slides: Last Friday I shared with you a set of slides that had two sections. The first section is related to a segmentation that I prepared to classify enterprises (SMEs and big corporate-international/multinational companies) by the risk degree of COVID19 contagion.
This classification was something that I had in mind to share several weeks ago, so I classified using smileys! The first group, identified by a happy green smiley, are those entities (SMEs and big corporates) that are essential or can work under confinement/quarantine. The second group identified by a yellow wordless smiley, are the majority of companies that belong to manufacturing industries, which can work with careful sanitary measures promoting different schedules per day, so all their workers can be safe under social distancing. The third group, the sad-angry red smiley, are the industries that depend on a heavy or massive amount of people, their economic profits are based on the number of people who buy their products and who show up in presence to fulfill the experience of the product. For these red companies, the risk of contagion by COVID19 is the utmost highest. The red smiley business owners shall be extremely concerned and cautious with the density population and sanitary took-kit measures, the compliance of all hygienic criteria, regardless if these entities use or not high-tech reference points to control the propagation of the virus.
It is extremely valuable for the yellow and red companies business owners to consider working in pulses or under a play-pause-repeat strategy, which means that these entities’ key determinant to control the coronavirus is based on reducing the density population at least in half or around 30%-40% at all times. In the case of Coronavirus cases augmentation in the city or community where red or yellow companies operate, these companies responsibly should be the first ones to stop operations or refrain from working for several days (maybe 14-21 days), and then re-start again. The red smiley group of companies is the first one that requires stirring their mindset into a play-pause-repeat strategy. Responsibly these groups of companies have to innovate about how to operate with half of their pre-pandemic customers and workers. Some months ago I advised these companies to consider to work overnight or to adjust their capacity to work at least until midnight. Shopping centers creatively can open at nights, to try to attract customers with multiple marketing strategies under a different schedule and replenish the number of clients squandered during the day. The same applies to museums, amusement recreation parks like Disney, Epcot Center and similar; and religious centers.
It is prudent to get used to the play-pause-repeat strategy until we find a cure to Coronavirus. The play-pause-repeat strategy during the next year or until a cure treatment is found is not a crazy strategy. Not at all. All business owners (regardless if they belong to the green, yellow, or red smiley classification) must understand what is the degree of potential propagation of the virus in their own industries. Each company knows it better than me, in consequence, if the number of cases of Coronavirus is tied to that specific industry or economic sector, these enterprises must stop for some days (let´s say 14 days), and then re-start again.
With each shut-off event, the enterprises will do it better for the next time, because they will take better sanitary measures with customers and suppliers. No one wants to be re-confined again. The play-pause-repeat strategy can be applied geographically (by a zone land area or neighborhood), or by industry, or by a specific group of companies. For example, if the metro/bus/tram system is the main focus of the infection of Coronavirus, it is good to consider closing it. We hope this will force people to use other mediums of transportation which are safer than the high-congestion public transportation services.
Economic Recovery Protection Packages. In the second section of the slides, I shared 4 financial-structuring examples to companies or individuals business owners (under a free-lance condition) which were producing economically (they had revenues and profits) before the pandemic. These companies were not financially broken before March 2020 and where operating and showing positive free cash-flows and positive net-profits. In the worst scenario, these companies were not losing money before the pandemic. These examples that I prepared for you, do not apply to start-ups (as my case) and also do not apply to those entrepreneurs who were already losing money before the pandemic. Let´s drive the following comments about the 4 financial structure cases that I shared in the slides.
- Any company rescue or recovery financial package must contemplate more than one single financial instrument. It is judicious to offer at least three financial products: Long term refinancing, short term working capital revolving credit line, and a non-reimbursable aid (gift or grant). In addition, each financial product has its own particularities that are feasible for specific objectives. I have identified three financial products.
- Long Term Refinancing loan: Only for long term obligations already assumed before the pandemic. Long term obligations are only related to plant-manufacturing facilities loans, property, and equipment. If you had bank loans for 5, 10, or more years to pay long term assets as these items, then you should be able to re-finance your obligations. The banks must provide the opportunities to re-adjust and extend your tenor duration (so you can reduce your monthly payment). In addition, the % of interest rate has to be diminished at least 200 bps or 2%. You also can choose to pay according to the seasonality of your business, for example, if your product sales rise over Christmas, try to refinance using different alternatives. A period of grace of at least one year up to two years should be included.
- Working Capital Credit line: Commercial banks backed by a government guarantee, must provide a revolving short term credit line for working capital expenses: such as accounts payables, wages, and all your one-year operation accounts. Interests can be decreased or dismissed for one year.
- Grants: This is what matters the most in this package. Any grant is a gift. It is a non-reimbursable money. And here the financial entities working all together with the government can be intermediary supervisors of the Government to supervise that grants are used correctly. Capital gifts can be linked to the degree of financial recovery success of the company. In-kind grants may help companies to modernize themselves. Awards of different levels (related to reducing current or long term debt) are also well received. For example, if a company is able to keep a minimum balance monthly in their working capital credit account, banks can offer to don´t charge interests, or give a gift of forgiving certain percentage of the outstanding long term loan. Banks and governments all working together must use all the imagination and inventiveness to provide financial gifts to those companies which will show strong efforts into their recovery path. For those which sadly can´t comply with their obligations, other types of financial gifts should be evaluated. Just think about a contest: those with outstanding quality and premium dedication or better ideas, are usually prized with high economic recognition. Those who don´t earn the first prizes receive at least a participatory award. No one losses, but each one receives according to their own situation.
- It is time for excellent financial solutions: I also advise banks and international cooperation programs or government financial development banks to do “excellent banking all together tied to excellent financial advisory”. It is imperative to understand the details of each company. SMEs are usually in the hands of the middle class, which is highly indebted. In consequence, many restructuring financial consultants or advisors should be hired to analyze case by case, and create a tailor-made financial solution for each company. There is no one rule in middle-class businesses. Each has its own particularities, and each financial rescue package has to attack the causes of each company. For example, local banks and financial entities must hire excellent trained financial advisors to help each client, and their advisory work can be paid by an international cooperation entity directly.
- Free-lancers, artists, knowledge producers, writers, academic researchers and any knowledge worker are material of another subject. They can´t receive debt as a solution because their work is completely different. The knowledge workers are used to operate by “contests grants” or “call for papers” or “call for works”. All artists, scientists, or academics researchers can´t operate under debt, because they don´t sell stuff (products or services), they sell knowledge (ideas). And knowledge requires a different treatment. Each “call for work” may be organized by the State Ministry under the “Research and Development budget”. These contests must offer a participatory award under certain basic standards of the competition, so everyone in this economic sector will be recognized with their equivalent basic alimony, and what is greater, is that these knowledge workers can work from home. Those who win the contests will have higher and cherished recognition (economic) and even possibilities for full-time jobs to make their research a reality. The cooperation aid from international sources can help them directly to implement the foster innovation grants program for this sector, which has been hit the most by the pandemic, so it is the right thing to do.
- The tourism sector requires a well-defined recovery strategy, which must come from several meetings between the bankers, the government and the associations of hotels-restaurants, etc. A table of negotiation must be conformed, to study and analyze each subsector and provide an integrated solution for each of the needs and wants of those companies.
- The informal sector those business owners which had revenues and profits before the pandemic and which operate without a legal format, must be analyzed separately because their condition requires to be healed first (all must be registered) in order to get the economic protection package for their recovery. If informal companies or individuals (who were producing and profiting before the pandemic) want to receive an economic recovery package from the state, they will have to register to pay taxes first, in order to get their aid from the government.
- Start-ups must not get into debt. Please. Any start-up or entrepreneurship endeavor that is in the pre-seed or seed phase or the “Valley of Death” stage, must not accept debt but to be helped only with non-reimbursable aid (grants, gifts, donations from the international cooperation). No debt to start-ups at all.
I would like to stop here. Feel free to ask me for more detailed explanations directly. I will be happy to offer my advice. I will leave this publication with the following enigma questions: What is the relation between the beatitude of “Hunger for Righteousness” and the material slides that I have shared with you? What is the opposite of “hunger for righteousness? Is it the vice of sloth, laziness, apathy, or indifference? What is sloth? Why is the beatitude “hunger for righteousness” the counterpoint to mediocrity, sloth, apathy, or indifference?
Stay safe, see you again over the week. Blessings.
Disclaimer: Illustrations in Watercolor are painted by Eleonora Escalante. Other types of illustrations or videos (which are not mine) are used for educational purposes ONLY. Nevertheless, the majority of the pictures, images, or videos shown on this blog are not mine. I do not own any of the lovely photos or images posted unless otherwise stated.
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