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                                    Weathering the Storm for Small Businesses

                                    These are difficult and uncertain times for many businesses, regardless of industry or size. As many are forced to close because they're not deemed as essential, others are downsizing or shutting up shop as the work dries up.

                                    It's difficult to know what to do at times like this, but there are some actions you can take to help see you through the storm.

                                    Investigate new opportunities

                                    One thing this situation has seen is innovation. While some businesses are taking a break, others are reinventing themselves to keep the money coming in.

                                    A good example of this is the Royal Mint based in Llantrisant, South Wales. The mint is known for coins, as they produce the coinage issued in the UK and other countries.

                                    In the midst of the coronavirus crisis, they developed much-needed face visors for healthcare workers. They identified this demand and changed tactics to keep things going.

                                    While this can be easier for businesses with cash behind them, smaller businesses can adapt too. Many businesses are now offering virtual meetings and consultations. It may require a bit of work, but once it's set up, you're good to go.

                                    Teacher delivering a class online

                                    Look after your cash

                                    This highly depends on your business and situation, but look at your outgoings, specifically what's outstanding.

                                    There's no harm in asking for suppliers for a payment holiday or a bit more time to pay. For example, if your rent is a large cost, ask your landlord for a bit of leeway. In many cases, your supplier would rather give you a bit more time than lose you as a client should things not work out.

                                    Banks are also being a bit more generous with facilities such as overdrafts. This can be used as a bit of breathing space, but you shouldn't rely on it in the long term.

                                    If you have a credit agreement, this could lead to more interest being paid, so it's worth weighing this up to ensure it works for you.

                                    Utilise Government Schemes

                                    As a result of Covid-19, the UK and devolved governments introduced a range of measures to help assist businesses. These include:

                                    • £10,000 grant for businesses qualifying for Small Business Rates Relief
                                    • Business Interruption Loan
                                    • 80% of wages reimbursed for furloughed staff (up to £2,500)
                                    • Extended sick pay
                                    • Extension on VAT payment deadline
                                    • And others

                                    Schemes can differ between countries, but if you are eligible, it's worth claiming these to give yourself and staff peace of mind.

                                    Look After Yourself

                                    While your business is important to you, these are stressful and challenging times for many of us. But you can also use this time to take care of yourself too.

                                    Remember to look after your well-being, including your mental health. Take regular breaks from work (if you're working), exercise on a regular basis, and ensure you remain safe, all while abiding by government guidelines.

                                    Don't be afraid to adopt available technology to stay in touch with loved ones and friends. And most importantly, if you need help or assistance, it's ok to ask.

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