10 Tips for your Business

There is a lot you need to think about in the current climate. Your business situation has been drastically altered, and there are just as many things to think about as when you’re operating normally – the difference is that you’re not used to the current situation. 

Therefore, we’ve put together a list of ten points to run through to be sure that your business is as good as it can be now and will also be ready to bounce back as restrictions ease. 

We've created a special series of products to help your business deal with many of these points, click here to go to the products directly.

Before you dive into the checklist, there is one very important point that we want to stress…

There will always be jobs that business owners delegate, many of which will be on this checklist – that’s great! Delegation is an excellent thing, but abdication is not, and there is an important distinction.

Business owners are leaders and as such they will ensure that tasks get done - in these instances often by their accountants, folks that take care of their H.R., etc.

However, we urge you to go through the list and be sure that each task can be ticked. Know that it’s taken care of or in hand and the date of completion!

You may likely be in an unusual situation finding yourself time-rich! So grab the bull by the horns, go through our list and know that you’re leading from the front. If there are points that you have not arranged yet, make sure to get them done.

We’re not going to talk about the future of the economy except to say you need to think about your business both now and in the long term.

Put your business first - no one should be more interested in its success than you!

 

1. KNOW YOUR CASHFLOW

Have your finger on the pulse with a clear understanding of your business’s outgoings over the next few months.

This applies and is essential whether you have opened up again fully or continue with reduced work behind closed doors.

You'll likely be working with a considerably reduced income, yet still have the same ongoing overheads.

Find out more including how we can help with our ongoing expenses calculator & advice – link here.

 

2. FINALISING FURLOUGH

If you have staff that you’ve put onto the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme this applies to you – and is made up of two points:

  • Your furloughed staff have signed and returned agreements to you. Whilst this was always a good idea, the government made it a requirement to get repaid.
    Find out more including how we can help with our furlough agreement and letter – link here.

 

3. GOT THE GRANT?

If eligible, we hope you’ve now received the Coronavirus business support grant funds - most businesses have. If you have not: 1. Have you applied? 2. If you’ve applied, do you know when you can expect to see the funds in your account?

Please bear in mind that normal tax rules apply to these grants, which means you treat them like income from sales in your accounts - just with zero cost of goods sold.

Obviously, the grant was created to help with businesses’ ongoing expenses, so all usual expenditure can be claimed against the income that this grant represents, as normal.

 

4. RENT REDUCTION

Do speak to your landlords. We’ve seen small businesses receive three months rent-free, others reviewing the position after six weeks. Whilst receiving the grant is very welcome and will help with rent in the short term, it doesn’t stop you seeing where else you can reduce you overheads – rent probably being the largest ongoing cost.

Without being pessimistic, we must all consider that there will likely be a recession following the current Coronavirus crisis. If you are a good tenant, your landlord may be happy to help your through a rough patch, it’s far better for them than other alternatives! We have created a letter that can help: find out more here.

 

5. REDUCING OTHER OVERHEADS/BILLS

There are a whole host of expenses you should be looking at reducing where you can. One thing is for certain - if you don’t ask, you won’t get!  What’s the worst that can happen? They say no!

After requests, we’ve seen some charges entirely suspended for three months, others reducing their bills by 50% on a month by month basis. Again, we can provide you with more assistance here.

 

6. COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS

It's imperative to stay in communication with your customers. At the very least you should have updated your website and social media profiles to ensure they know your current position. You may want to ensure they can remain in contact with you by redirecting your business phonelines. This will depend on your individual circumstances. Why not read our ‘Top tips for customer clarity’ blog

 

7. DON’T PAY WHEN YOU DON’T HAVE TO! BUT MAKE IT WORK FOR YOU!

So, there are occasions where you really don’t have to pay YET!

These include:

VAT
 The VAT bills for the quarter due between April and June have been deferred - you will have until the end of March 2021 to repay those bills!

SELF ASSESSMENT INCOME TAX

Similarly, If you were due to make a second payment on the 31st July for tax due on your self-employed self assessment income tax for 2019/20, this is now deferred until 31st January 2021. Both of these are automatic with no application required. It’s important to remember you will have to pay these amounts – just not yet!

Obviously if you need the funds you would have paid to HMRC in the short term, you need to do what’s necessary for you, your business and your family.

However, if you’re able to manage without the need to spend this money, it’s important to set it aside and maximise the benefit of it. At the time of writing there are still bank accounts where you'll receive an interest rate of 1.4% AER. There’s nothing stopping you opening a new account, squirreling the money away, and getting interest on it if you’re a sole trader or partnership! Keeping it separate from accounts that you use every day may also be helpful.

 

8. USE YOU TIME WISELY

It’s easy to say but depending on your individual circumstance, it may be harder to do! However, if you have time available to work on your business – we urge you to use it wisely. At SmallBizAssist we currently have a range of courses and free information including e-books that provide a whole range of information.

Working on your business rather than in it during this time can get you ready to come back in a stronger position than ever before.

 

9. WORK WITHIN THE RULES

The last thing we want is to encourage you take action and effectively save your company money but miss out as a result of working outside of the rules. For example, if you are a company director who is using the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. As such, you are classed as furloughed and therefore cannot undertake any work other than statutory duties (like filing company accounts).

 

10. ENJOY THE SUNSHINE

Take some time for yourself, don’t work too hard, make the most of these unusual circumstances to have a bit of a break. Even if that just means having a proper lunch break whilst in the shop fulfilling online orders. You can’t normally get through a lunch break without being interrupted, so make this time count!

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