The Covid-19 pandemic shows no sign of easing with the whole of the UK enforcing the third lockdown to varying degrees. The future for small businesses looks uncertain, so we have compiled our top 5 tips to equip your business with the tools to help survive this third and hopefully final lockdown.
1. Business plan and cash flow forecasts
The year of 2020 called for a lot of changes for all businesses, small and large, well-established or just starting out, every business has been affected in some way. For this reason, our first tip is to go back and revaluate your business plan taking in to consideration the impact Covid-19 has had on not just your business but also the industry you work in.
The assumptions you had made within your business plan will need to be challenged and updated, and there will no doubt be important changes to consider within your projected cash flow.
Will your business require a fresh flow of financing, it may be worth having a look in to loans and schemes that the government are providing. For example, the Bounce Back Loan which offers anywhere from £2,000 up to 25% of your business’ turnover and generates no interest or fees for the first 12 months. This scheme, which was announced in April 2020, has now been extended to March 31st 2021. In light of this, businesses which took the loan but borrowed less than they were entitled to, are still able to increase this funding up to the maximum amount. Businesses have until 31st March 2021 to take out a Bounce Back Loan, or increase their current one.
2. Understand your tax
Keeping track of your liabilities is a business necessity whether there is a pandemic or not. Planning for your business and factoring in upcoming tax bills will help masses when trying to manage your cashflow. The last thing any business could do with right now is a tax bill they are not expecting.
Talk to your accountant. They are your best point of contact when considering future tax liabilities and the implications they may have for your business. Your accountant can help you plan for future tax opportunities for both you and your business, this past year may have opened your business up to short-term losses and lower trade, meaning you may be entitled to claim a tax refund.
There are many aspects to explore when it comes to tax for your business. Use this opportunity of slower trade to really investigate the implications and opportunities available to you and your business.
3. Talk to your suppliers
Just like you, your suppliers will be keeping on top of their cash flow, their own suppliers and their customers. It is important to reassure them of the state of your business, that it is healthy and that they can continue to supply to you or provide credit.
Some suppliers may be open to the idea of an extended payment plan. If it is the option of full payment over a longer period or the loss of a customer, some suppliers may be more understanding to the times we are in and the options business’ have available.
Be aware of what your business is holding – are your ordering levels and stock holdings in line with what you predict you will need? You may find it more beneficial to have cash in reserve than you will excess stock.
4. Don’t forget about your customers
Just because you are not seeing or talking to them on a regular basis, doesn’t mean they have left you. The customer base is by far one of the biggest assets of any business, not just from the revenue generated from them personally, but also from the exposure they offer you. Showing your customers that you are thinking of them will help to reinforce that sense of loyalty they have shown your business previously.
Keep your customers well informed on how they can continue to support and use your business. Whether it is introducing them to a new delivery system, directing them to your online market or even just providing your business with a review on google or share on social media, these points all go a long way on continued support from your customers.
5. Make your business known
Now is the time to get yourself and your business out there. As more and more businesses are taking to the internet and social platforms to broadcast their business, it is the perfect time to get involved with like-minded business owners locally and nationally.
Networking can take your business to new heights with social platforms offering huge marketing opportunities for you and similar businesses. Consider teaming up, providing each other’s customers with joint discounts, competitions, exclusive offers, or literally anything else you can think of. The beauty of social platforms is that the majority of them are free and the reach your business can achieve is practically endless.
You may even wish to consider meeting with a digital marketing expert to discuss the opportunities of advertising – the majority of which will be online. This route would offer a lot more focus to a specific customer group, and so could increase the chances of your business being viewed by the most interested parties.
The main thing to take away during the UK’s third lockdown – protect yourself and those you love. It is not a subject anyone wants to talk or even think about, but make sure that your business and family are protected during this continued uncertainty.
2020 was a rollercoaster of up’s and down’s, with what felt like a new challenge thrown at individuals and businesses every other month. It is important to take some time to breathe, relax, recharge and set yourself up ready to grow your business in 2021.
Talk to your accountant about any concerns you have for your business, they may be able to help or even point you in the direction of where to receive the best advice.
We are also here to help and provide support for you and your business every step of the way. We offer a free consultation to help understand your business and the support it could benefit from.
Start 2021 with a conversation with one of our friendly experts, use the details provided below to find out how we can help you leave 2020 behind.