At Heligan Partners, we’re well prepared for remote working and have the tools, processes and experience to keep productive and connected. We’ve made sure all the team are set-up and supported and got into the routine of having regular check-ins. With that in place, we’ve started to help our clients understand their position and put together a plan to navigate the coming months.
Assess your position, understand your options and project your cashflow
It will help to look forward through the short-term disruption to understand how your business will be affected over the longer term. Get your team together – or call on a trusted advisor – and model out what will happen to your top line and cost-base. Identify where you can make cost-savings or if you can defer or mitigate expenses. Are there are any costs you can cut altogether without causing long-term damage to your business?
Contacting your creditors, such as your landlord(s), HMRC and customers, is also advisable. However, it will be best to inform those discussions with the right information. It would, of course, help if you had a clear picture of the likely immediate and long-term impacts of the crisis on your business.
Speak to your existing banks or lenders
If you have any type of finance, loans or investment in place, it makes sense to address your situation as soon as possible. Engage with your bank or lenders to help both of you manage the risk around repayment holidays and covenant breaches.
Sometimes it helps to have someone in your corner who has experience of assisting businesses to communicate with financiers and lenders. If you have a robust forecast in place and understand what information they are going to need, these are going to be more productive and effective discussions for you and your business.
Some lenders may wish to have an independent business review (IBR) of your business. With the right support in place and experience of working through the IBR process, this need not be a daunting task.
Understand the government business support schemes and take appropriate action
Given the speed and dramatic nature of the changes that have occurred in just a few weeks, this is still something that is still evolving. However, it would be best if you got to know what’s available to you and your business and, as importantly, how to access and apply for it.
Currently, the Chancellor has announced a package of measures to support the economy, businesses and employees. The government’s COVID-19 package includes:
- Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme where affected companies can claim 80% of furloughed employees’ usual monthly wage costs for at least three months
- Option to defer VAT and self-assessment payments for three months
- Self-employment Income Support Scheme
- Statutory Sick Pay relief for small and medium-sized businesses
- 12-month business rates holiday for retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses
- Grant funding of £10,000 for certain small businesses
- Grant funding of £25,000 for certain retail, hospitality and leisure businesses
- HMRC’s Time to Pay scheme
There are also the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and a lending facility from the Bank of England to boost liquidity at larger firms and help them bridge their cashflows. CBILS is administered by the banks, and we are already assisting several clients with their submissions. Likewise, there is some complexity around the administration of the Job Retention Scheme, and you might benefit from some support through the application process.