Coronavirus support: What can you do about cash flow when times are tough?

Firstly, how are you doing?
If there was ever a time to huddle together for a (virtual) cuppa, now’s the time. 
With everything going on right now, it’s okay to feel worried, discombobulated, out of sorts. 
It’s also okay to avoid the media, the forever stream of social commentary, and just to concentrate on your people (team, clients, families, friends), and the practical support you can get for your business.
We don’t want to be just another voice in the social stream, but we absolutely do want to make sure you have all the information and access to help for your business during this time. 
We do also want to offer our own support and advice, to our clients, and to any business owner who might need a listening ear and advice on how to turn government suggestions into actions. 

The Government’s announcement for businesses

The measures released earlier this week:
  • A £10,000 cash grant for 700,000 of the UK’s smallest businesses, delivered by Local Authorities, and worth a total of £2 billion.
  • A temporary increase of business rates retail discount in England to 100% for 2020-21 for properties below £51,000 rateable value.
  • For businesses with fewer than 250 employees, the cost of providing 14 days of statutory sick pay per employee will be refunded by the government in full.
  • Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, will enable businesses with a turnover of no more than £41 million to apply for a loan of up to £1.2 million, with the government covering up to 80% of any losses with no fees.
We’re releasing this blog today (Wednesday 18th March 2020) following a new package of financial measures released last night:
  • £330bn in state-backed loans for all businesses through the banking system with the help of the Bank of England.
  • A potential support package specifically for airlines and airports.
  • An extension of business rates holiday to all firms in the hospitality sector and funding grants of between £10,000 and £25,000 for small businesses.
  • For those in financial difficulty due to coronavirus, mortgage lenders will offer a three-month mortgage holiday.

Our advice for you and your business:

Firstly, although it’s tempting to – don’t panic. I know, it’s easier said than done. But let’s look at all the cash flow options available to you first. 
Along with the measures set out by the government, I encourage you to look at funding options that can help you through by giving you a temporary boost of cash. 
  • See what’s available from your own bank – Get an overdraft or an extension on your overdraft as a safety net if possible. 
  • Look at Iwoca – It only takes minutes to apply for small business funding from Iwoca, and funds could be in your account in hours. Since the government announced a £1bn Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, they’re working with The British Business Bank to become accredited for the scheme and help more small businesses.
  • See what’s available from The British Business Bank – On that note, The British Business Bank are updating their web pages every day in response to new updates from the government. Have a look at what’s available to you in loans and other financial support.
  • Look at business loans from The Funding Circle – You can check if you’re eligible and apply in 10 minutes and borrow for 6 months up to 5 years.
  • We’re able to put you in touch with brokers, if you require it – Give us a call to chat through this option personally.
  • Check in with HM Revenue and Customs – HMRC have launched a dedicated telephone helpline for businesses who want information in their ‘Time to Pay’ service (0800 015 9559). HMRC can give you more time to settle your tax bills in these kinds of exceptional circumstances.
  • Speak to your Landlord – The Government have laid out their plans for those who are paying mortgages, but if you’re renting your business space and you’re struggling because of the impact of the virus, speak to your Landlord and see if you’re able to come to an arrangement for a rent holiday. Landlords are being encouraged to help businesses where they can, so this is definitely a conversation that’s worth having.

If you’re able to work from home, make the most of tech

You may have already adopted some tools for remote working, and to be honest, these options are valuable for all businesses to look into regardless of a crisis.
  • Make and take calls on Zoom – You can use zoom to connect with clients you’d usually see in person, and to keep connected with your team. You can record your calls too, so they can be stored for later used or kept for training purposes. Gaining the experience of virtual meetings will also be really useful for your business when we come out the other side of this!
  • Keep conversations live on Slack – If you’re looking for an easy way to collaborate with your team when you can’t brainstorm in the office, slack is a great option. Slack is both a messaging tool and a file sharing tool. Think of it like a chat room for your whole company.
  • Collaborate on Google docs and sheets – Speaking of collaboration, we highly recommend the Gsuite tools if you’re not keen on sending word documents and excel sheets back and forth via email. Users can collaborate in real time on Google Docs and Gsheets, making working together and sharing work far easier. 

We’re business as usual, just not in the office

As for us, we’re still here working for our clients, continuing our service as usual. 
The kettle is still boiling, but we’re taking tea in our own homes in order to protect our team, so we can continue to do our best work. 
You can still call us on the office number as always, and those calls are being forwarded to our mobiles. 
Please do give us a call if you want to talk about anything in this blog.

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