The COVID-19 pandemic continues even as countries emerge cautiously from lockdowns. Although the strict measures have helped manage infections, they have also heavily affected many businesses, especially small and medium enterprises.
But recovery is on the horizon as government and public entities organise support for companies that have been devastated. Whether you’ve been allowed to operate during the strict lockdown or have just resumed business, you’ll have resources at your disposal. Complement those resources with a plan that could help you survive and succeed amid the pandemic.
The government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) offers access to funding. It’s open to SMEs through 40 accredited lenders, including high street banks, which can provide you with up to £5 million in:
- Invoice finance
- Asset finance
- Term loans
Finance terms for CBILS are up to six months for eligible businesses.
If you’re in the leisure, hospitality, and retail sector, the government offers cash grants of up to and not more than £25,000. The amount you receive will depend on the rateable value of your establishment. For instance, businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 can be entitled to a grant of up to £10,000. Your local council will be in touch if you are eligible.
If you’re having trouble retaining employees, look into the UK’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. If eligible, your business will have help paying 80 per cent of an employee’s wages instead of letting them go.
Private sectors are also helping businesses through free-to-use online tools, from grant calculators to tax assessments. Other companies are providing free training, particularly on cybersecurity, free software for freelance professionals, and other industry-specific platforms, each designed to minimise costs.
But managing costs isn’t enough to get your business through a crisis that has gripped the world.
Fit for the Future
Much like deploying a marketing campaign that combines the familiar success of promotional materials through mail and the innovation of cross-media platform, a business strategy needs to cover all of your bases to be effective.
Where Do You Start?
Review your spend management. Take a holistic view of your sales, customer service, and marketing costs. There is a need to pull back on some expenses, but do so while still maintaining exceptional customer experience. Look at where you can cut costs and spot areas where you can be under-delivering to customers. Now more than ever, your business needs to maintain its integrity and convey empathy.
Next, develop short-term cash flow projections. The projection will help you mitigate impacts from the pandemic. It will also help you maximise success for negotiating contracts. Negotiating contracts will allow you to manage cash outflows as well. Don’t just consider a rent-free period or deferment; service charge reduction could also be included in your new terms.
Then implement long-term policies that have been effective for your business. These will likely include the expeditious collection of debts, paying all liabilities, and cross-training employees to prepare them for future roles.
As nations emerge from lockdowns and a new reality sets in for commerce, your business needs the right plan to survive and succeed.