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Coronavirus – Make Your Business Thrive

Life is emotional and at the current time, nothing could be further from the truth.
When it comes to your business, it is time to park your emotional mindset and drive forward with objectivity, creativity, innovation and realism. Let’s plan to see your business thrive – not just survive.

Many medical and scientific experts believe that the chaos we are facing is temporary. It’s time for small business to believe – to believe that there will be an end; to believe that there will be opportunities and to believe that to survive, you need to aim to thrive.

So how do you make this happen?
We have put together some ideas to kickstart your new week and to approach the challenges with clarity and determination.

Talk
It sounds simple but talking is good. To make good business decisions we need a clear head. Sometimes we need a different perspective; sometimes we need support; and sometimes we need to ask for help. The important thing is that you realise you are not alone. By coming together and combining ideas and resources, you will be able to assess your position, your options and your plans with clarity and a new sense of enthusiasm.

Speak to your accountant; your business mentor; your business coach; fellow business owners; your trade association, join online business groups – to name a few. They all want to help your business thrive.

Be Informed
There is no doubt that daily developments may influence your decisions.Keep yourself informed and don’t be too rash.The following are the key main areas that we would recommend that you are currently informed about:

– Yours and your family’s health
It goes without saying that this should be your number 1 priority. No business issue is more important than you or your family’s health. They will need your support and your energy just as much as you need theirs. Work with it and work all of your business issues as secondary. For the purpose of these practical steps, I am going to assume that you and your family are safe and keeping healthy.

– Government updates
The pace of announcements by the government is unprecedented. Nearly every day there is a set of new announcements, which for some, will affect their decision making and future plans. The important thing here is that your decisions are informed.

When government actions are announced, there is often a period of time before the full communications of how their actions may be actioned. For example, for small businesses able to claim small business rates exemption, there was the announcement of a £10,000 grant being available. Only after a few days did it become known that this will generally be dealt with through your local council and is expected to be available from early April.

It is important that you follow key sources of reliable information. For example, government bulletins, the blogs of professional advisors or reputable news outlets. Be careful of what is said on social media, in the media in general and by others. (I would say ‘down the pub’ but this is unlikely at the current time unfortunately.)

– Understand Your Current and Future Position and Options
Your must understand your current financial position. Cash is king. It is paramount that you understand your cash requirements, how the current government incentives and decisions can be used positively within your business, what your cash income projections are likely to be and what options that the knowledge of this will then give you.

We would recommend three cash flow forecast projections:
o A worst case projection – eg. No income for the next three months;
o An optimistic projection – eg. An increase in business or optimistic timescales; and
o A realistic projection – in the middle of the above two.

When these are down, We would also then recommend that ‘what if’ scenarios are reviewed. For example, these might include what happens if timescales increase or that all the projects which have currently been postponed are suddenly required at the same time following a return to normal trading.

– Research and Development
We are all having to re-engineer our businesses during these challenging times. It’s a time to think creatively and innovatively. Educate yourself about new ways of doing things, new ideas or different income streams. Explore ways of diversifying and consider different business models – for example, reviewing your fixed costs and assessing how you may be able to replace these with variable costs in the future. This could include reviewing outsourcing vs employment; building rentals vs flexible working arrangements and technology.

– Focus On Things Which You Can Control

There are only so many things which you can control. Focus your energies on these and you will see your business thrive. Establish the tasks which would benefit your business on the other side. Are your forecasts up to date and being maintained? Are you in regular communication with your team, your customers and your suppliers? Are there systems and procedures which you need to implement? Do you need to update your marketing or website? Is there additional training which would be beneficial for the team?

We are confident that you have your own ideas too.

– And Lastly – Prioritise
There are many different ideas, tasks and options that we will all have. It is important to prioritise these to ensure that we thrive and not just survive. Focus on one task at a time and involve your team. Maybe you need to focus on your cash flow forecasting with your accountant whilst your engineers could be looking at new technology products to the market, for example, Zoho Lens (a cloud based solution to help your engineers fix problems remotely without necessarily being onsite).

Communicate these priorities with the team and if they need to change (for example, due to a government instruction) then update them and educate your team.

Accounting and Beyond will be publishing a number of articles over the next few weeks to help you and your business thrive  during these tough times. It is our passion to work together with small businesses and the local community to ride out the storm together. Watch out for our new updates.

If you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch by emailing enquiries@accountingandbeyond.co.uk or contact us on 01438 532230.

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