The impact of COVID-19 has left many businesses struggling with their finances after lock-downs and the ‘ping-demic’ forced closures and reduced capacity. This is especially true for small to medium businesses who lack the security that many larger firms enjoy.
The furlough scheme is now coming to an end, placing increasing monetary and mental pressure on business owners who now have to begin paying their employees on much reduced incomes, or let those employees go.
But businesses can and will recover.
The most important step to recovery after the pandemic is to develop a Recovery Plan. Make a checklist that shows what needs to happen and then make another one showing how you can make it happen. And follow them! Drafting a solid recovery plan means that you won’t waste money, time and resources on blind experiments and contradictions.
The plan should, first and foremost, include your business model revised to reflect the new circumstances. What are you going to do now that you have lost a quarter of your staff? Or your premises? Looking at all of this, be honest – is your business still viable? If it’s not, the best thing to do is walk away. And you won’t be alone: Debenhams, Oak Furnitureland, and Victoria’s Secret are among the UK firms that went into administration over the course of the pandemic.
If your business is still viable, don’t assume that your business model can still continue in exactly the same way post-covid as it did pre-covid. Not only markets, but people’s attitudes, have changed. Critically evaluate if your business is still desirable to your main customer base. There might be easy changes you can make to better appeal to your pandemic-scarred customers, so include them in your recovery plan.
Consider, as well, building a contingency for a fourth wave into your recovery plan. It might feel like the pandemic is over, but winter could still see a resurgence of the virus. If you never need to use your contingency plan, great! But if you do, you’ll be glad to have it.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help to refine your plan. After all, it’s not every day that you need to develop a plan to deal with a global pandemic. Consulting the right expert to help you assess the best way to recover could save you time, frustration and money.
The next step is to find the money to finance your plan.
If your recovery plan involves no need for extra money – please share your methods with the rest of the world! For everyone else, you’re going to need a little bit of investment. The government is not unaware of this and has provided loans and grants specifically to spur on recovery from Covid.
Since March 2020, the government has provided nearly £350 billion worth of support to businesses through the furlough scheme, tax exemptions, and loan and grant schemes.
There are plenty of local and national programmes designed to help businesses get back on their feet and revitalize the national economy. So find out what you’re eligible for and apply!
There are other options available as well:
Crowd-funding can raise massive amounts of money. If you have a loyal customer base, consider asking them to invest in your recovery in return for discounts or freebies. You might be surprised by how many people are willing to help you stay open.
Another option is to search for an investor. It might seem intimidating but can be extremely rewarding. The right investor might also be willing to bring their expertise and experience to the table to help you more than just financially. If you don’t feel comfortable approaching an investor yet, have a look out for investment readiness schemes that are designed to support businesses through the process and help them secure finance.
Once you have your plan and your cash, you just need to implement it. There will be some hard work to get to the point of recovery but it can be done. The good news is that the forecast for GDP growth in the UK this summer is 6.8%, an increase of over 1% on predictions made in May. There is plenty of opportunity for growth after the struggles of Covid, you just need to seize it!
Did you know that the SME Centre of Excellence has helped thousands of businesses to start, survive and thrive? To find out how we can help you, get in touch!