22 March 2020
We are living in unprecedented times, and with the state of play changing daily it can be difficult for small business owners to know where they stand. However, there are some quick steps that business owners can take now to protect their business in the long term.
The nature of your business could determine the level of disruption you may encounter. For some, this might even mean significant disruption or even closure. With this in mind, it’s worth having all the information you can to hand to help you best understand all your options and thinking about those tricky conversations now before it’s too late.
Some of the organisations worth contacting include;
Your insurer: to discuss what happens if you close your business
Your bank: to find out about possible finance options
HMRC: to establish your tax situation, sick pay costs and employment allowance
Your local authority: to find out about business rates and grants or hardship funds
Your landlord: to find out if a rent holiday would be possible.
The Government recently announced several measures to help small businesses during this difficult time so make sure that you are aware of any that you are eligible for.
The most recent announcements have included;
A business continuity plan can help your business survive and continue running during and after a major disruption. The plan should be comprehensive covering your business processes, essential resources and the impact this could have on your business. Here are the most important things to consider within any plan;
The key business processes eg. accounting and HR that your business needs to function
The impact of the threat you face. You’ll need to consider the worst case scenario possible that your business could face
The key resources that your business needs including:
Key external contacts
Key data, equipment, documents and supplies
A contingency plan- can you move your location, work remotely or online only. Thinking about possible alternatives will help you put a plan in place should the worst happen
If the nature of your business means that you and your employees can work remotely, then you’ll want to make sure that you have the systems in place to make this as easy as possible for all of you. Online tools such as Skype for Business, Slack and Microsoft Teams are some of the applications that can facilitate communication and engagement across the team.
If your business cannot support remote working than you might need to consider other practices to ensure the health and safety of your staff. Being aware of those employees that sit in the ‘at risk’ category and ensuring they are supported is key. In addition, establishing good hygiene practices, limiting the number of staff in at one time and introducing measures such as contactless payments could all help keep your staff and customers/clients safe.
The advice for businesses is changing every day, so make sure that you are keeping abreast of the situation as it evolves. This way you’ll be able to prepare and react to any changes as quickly as possible.
As well as the gov.uk which will be regularly updated with the latest news, organisations like the FSB or IOD will be sure to have the latest updates and how they relate to businesses.
Keep checking back on this page too! We’ll be posting about all the latest news from the government as it relates to Covid-19 so that SMEs across the UK have the information they need to continue to survive and thrive in these changing times.