As the news of the virus made its way to Europe back in January 2020, few could have imagined the world that is now the new norm for us. Some businesses have thrived while some unfortunately have had to close their doors. For the businesses in between, ie not thriving and still in business, it is important to take the right steps to power through these challenging times.
It is critical for businesses to adapt accordingly, to the current situation. The below points need to be seriously evaluated by all small businesses to aid this adaptation
Businesses need to be aware of the support provided by the government. This could be the difference between survival and demise for some. Some of the support currently available include:
- Bounce Back Loan flexible repayment
- Kickstart Scheme (funding to create new job placements for 16 to 24yr olds)
- Small and medium sized business grants
- Job Retention Scheme
- Deferring VAT
- Support for business paying tax: Time To Pay Service
Reach out to your Accountant or Business Advisor for guidance to ensure you are taking advantage of the available support where applicable.
Business plans now need to involve constantly looking into the future and reassessing the business. With one of our clients we worked through a number of scenarios – The impact if clients immediately stopped paying, impact if their clients see out current contracts but don’t renew and impact if a percentage reduction in fees is issued to all clients. The planning allowed the business to be prepared for each scenario.
The use of technology is important now more than ever. Every business should regularly review the business technology with an open mind. Digital Businesses and those aspiring to be will benefit from efficiencies that technology will bring, while for others it will be about considering which areas of the business processes you can implement technology. Remember, they can save you money and our clients are starting to expect more from us. This review should also include your service providers. As an example an accountant that is fully digital will service your business better during these challenging times.
Our people are now having to adapt the way they work along with high anxiety levels. For the business owners, we need to make tough decisions ie do we need all the people? Do we need that level of skill? Etc We must also be supportive, considering reduced salaries or hours over retrenchment. Let employees know you care by supporting sickness and being considerate of their family balance, amongst others. A man marking style of management will need to change in times like this. Rather, implementing process improvements with the result that everyone is accountable and knows what they need to do by when etc.
The less we spend, the better chance we have of surviving. We help clients review costs so it’s clear which of them are essential and those they can do without. Even for the essential, costs/ terms can be reviewed with the suppliers as well as a search for better options. The use of accounting software will help with aged debt reviews and collections. A review of the current processes is key to seek out efficiencies but with these, the impact on the clients must also be considered. The use of the office is usually high on most of our clients list. The question is can you give up the office all together, reduce space used or start to use one of the amazing flexible workspaces, like Clockwise?
When we talk about increasing revenue, many will think sell sell sell! It’s actually the right time to review the clients we serve, products we sell and our investment options. Businesses with meaningful real time data get the jump here as understanding which of our revenue streams are the most profitable and focusing more on them is an option. This might mean saying goodbye to the problematic low profit clients or discontinuing products that are too resource intensive. This will allow us to put more energy on what we thrive at.
This is not an exhaustive list but the message really is that in the current climate we must have our fingers on the pulse of our businesses through the coming months/years and be ready to react.
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