Your Business Curve versus The Health Curve

The media have reported a few times that we are past the peak of COVID-19 and we have all become familiar with term ‘flattened the curve’! And yet new seasons and new events mean this is forever changing. Business as usual is just round the corner (again), right?

Wrong.

The term ‘new normal’ appears to have dissipated but in all probability, we are still not really sure what the future of business will look like. Because of this, your ability as a business owner to pivot and adapt has never been more important.

We’re at a crucial point in the timeline of the health of UK residents and their businesses. As the health curve faces it’s most sustained threat ever; day by day, we’re at risk of getting complacent. This curve is often very different however to the one that businesses are following and the impact they have felt or are yet to feel.

Looking after our health

Health is the most important thing in life. It’s more important than business. You know that.

That’s why many of us have listened to and acted on the government’s instructions. We’re responsible adults with morals. It’s the ‘right thing to do’.

However, it is often easier to be the one following instructions than the one giving them out. As a business owner, you need to take control and put measures in place to flatten another type of curve: your business’ health curve.

What do I mean by your business’ curve? Like the national health statistics, we can measure the negative effect the pandemic has on your business and map it on a graph. Although the peak in a curve is usually considered to be a good thing, we know in this case it’s the opposite.

You can forgive yourself for being momentarily shell-shocked. A bit caught in the headlights if you will. It’s unprecedented times, after all. But the time for hesitation is over.

Now is the time to act. If you haven’t started to rebuild, you’re prolonging the inevitable.

The past 18 months has shown us that weaknesses in business can be crudely exposed so identifying gaps and planning for different eventualities will help you to avoid the pain of going into business saving mode.

I don’t want to be a doomsayer. I’m a realist and am writing this to give you the prompt that you might need.

Your Business’ Health Curve

Just like in the health curve, we can’t get ahead of ourselves.

What would happen now if we lifted restrictions and everything returned to normal? That’s right, the declining curve would make a sharp u-turn and start climbing again.

Our business health curve hasn’t hit its peak yet. Why? This is due to various reasons including the help the government has given us business owners, financial reserves bailing people out but overall we must recognise that the impact of this assistance being removed will be material.

As we enter 2022, this ‘peak’ is likely to become increasingly noticeable.

It looks like lockdowns as severe as those we have experienced to date are a thing of the past but we cannot rule anything out. Stock shortages in supply chains and energy pricing are just two examples of economic impacts that flow through the whole economy.

The true extent of this pandemic on the business world is scarily unknown but what we can say is that peaks in our ‘business curves’ may be slightly flatter and are most definitely going to be longer lasting and more unpredictable.

So, What Can You Do?

You can focus on what you know and what you can control.

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to ask yourself the following:

  1. Using everything you’ve learned, if you could start your business again, how would it look?
  2. Are the problems you’re facing 100% down to COVID-19, or are they deeper rooted than that?
  3. How will you prepare for the very real threat of future COVID-19 waves?

Last time we had no warning. It came out of nowhere and turned our lives upside down. You might even say we buried our head in the sands about it, refusing to accept we’d be as affected as China and Italy.

But now we have experienced the impact, if you could tip your business upside down, give it a good shake and put it back together again, how would it look?

The ‘new’ business world will certainly be different to the old, so the more you take action right now, the more agile and prepared your business will be for the future.

The ‘New Norm’ Myth Debunked

Everybody did not suddenly start working from home; and no, all meetings have not now become virtual rather than face-to-face.

Things have definitely changed, but not to that extreme.

What this pandemic has done is highlight many inefficiencies within our businesses that we should have spotted before now. For example, why were you travelling for 2 hours to a catch-up meeting when you could do it online? Why have staff members taken days off when their kids are sick instead of working from home for the day? Could all those meetings have been an email?

The opportunity this pandemic has given us is time. And while we can’t be certain about when the business curve will hit its peak, we have the time now to prepare the best we can for it.

Revisit your processes. Streamline your services. Strip everything back and start again.

Now is not the time for doing nothing.

Face it head on

By acting now, you will forecast a future peak, and, like the UK’s health curve, you will get past it. You will flatten it and have a better chance of beating in a way stronger than before.

Unsure about how to get started? Get in touch today and let us help you model your business curve and get you ahead while you still can.

Accountability

Words Are Good. Actions Are Better. Results Are Best.

Accountability has never more important than now, so why are we not seeing more people stepping up and showing real leadership?

Doing so could be the deciding factor in whether your business survives, and even thrives.

The press does its best to question the lack of accountability with leaders across the world. Closer to home, we have seen business leaders who are unwilling or unable to step forward in the current climate.

Those who say they will do something but don’t action it, those that action but don’t think about the outcome, and those that know the results of their actions are poor, but don’t do anything to improve them.

Why?

Distraction

Thanks to modern-day technology, we’re a click away from distraction. Whether that’s your phone, your laptop, or the TV or whatever, this on a day-to-day basis means it’s easy to lose focus and fail to achieve what you set out to do.

We need to stay focused and keep the end goal in sight.

What do you want to achieve? How will you do it? When will you do it by?

Let’s focus on three key areas:

  1. Time
  2. Information
  3. Money

Time

We want everything done yesterday.

The younger generation gets, possibly, unfairly tarred with this brush, but we’re all guilty of it. Can you say you’ve never paid extra for next day delivery with Amazon instead of going down the high street?

From a business perspective, everyone wants success. And they want it now. Right now.

And should we expect anything else? There are so-called business gurus out there who lead us to believe we can make a million pounds in a day. Yes, a day.

The volume of ‘how-to’, cheat guides and inspirational LinkedIn posts mean we expect more, quicker and easier whilst paying less for it.

Information

The amount of information you have at your fingertips can be overwhelming. And most of the time, you don’t have to go seeking it. It interrupts your day, with most of it being unhelpful and irrelevant.

Last week (yes, last week) I received a COVID-19 support email from a technology company I’d never heard of – months after the pandemic had started. Talk about a waste of time.

How many support emails have you received? How much of this information can you read, process, and act on while staying on task with the important jobs you’ve got to do?

You need the right information at the right time. It’s critical to your success. So, make sure you have measures in place to manage it correctly.

Money

How much money have you saved during lockdowns?

Despite the obvious financial strain, the pandemic is putting on your business, you must have found yourself spending less than usual, ignoring food and alcohol costs perhaps.

This shows the amount of money we’re used to wasting. Look at that! There is food in the fridge after all, and you do have something to wear.

Like success, people want more money, easier and quicker. But money alone can’t fix problems caused by information overload and lack of time. You can’t buy either.

The Key to Solving All Three

You!

Many business owners are sitting on their hands waiting for it all the blow over. They think in a few weeks everything will be back to normal.

It won’t.

Other people read and regurgitate information to make it look like they’re doing the right things, without actually implementing anything they’re learning. They think that’s enough.

It isn’t.

Other business owners are keeping their sights firmly ahead. They’re leading by example. They’ve made a plan, communicated it clearly with their staff and fellow business leaders, and are doing what they promise. They trust that be doing this, they’ll see real results that will drive their business forward.

They are correct.

So, ask yourself which of these three people you are? If you don’t like the answer, it’s not too late, but time is running out.

You need to act now. You need the right information at the right time, which is something your accountant should be able to do for you.

The accountant you need in your corner right now is one that gives you the relevant and timely information you need to form a plan, communicate this to your staff, and do what needs to be done to survive and thrive.

Get in touch today to find out how we can work with you to implement the action steps you need to get the results you want.

Business Interruption Insurance Ruling

Many of you might have already seen late last week; as we hinted in a newsletter towards the back end of 2020, that the Supreme Court found largely in favour of small firms receiving payments from business interruption insurance policies.

It is suggested that insurance companies will contact those companies impacted by this ruling but we also suggest that should you have any doubts whatsoever then you too contact your insurance company directly.

For a more detailed review of the ruling click here for the BBC news article following the events of last week.

National Lockdown Financial Support

As expected a financial support package has today been unveiled and we would assume; though cannot say for certain, there may be more support on the way.

In summary, there is 

  • one-off top up grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses worth up to £9,000 per property to help businesses through to the Spring
  • £594 million discretionary fund also made available to support other impacted businesses
  • comes in addition to £1.1 billion further discretionary grant funding for Local Authorities, Local Restriction Support Grants worth up to £3,000 a month and extension of furlough scheme

For more detailed guidance this can be accessed here.

National Lockdown Support

Yesterday the Scottish and English governments announced national lockdowns with schools being closed. The net result being all of England and Scotland must stay at home except for a handful of permitted reasons.
 
We’re not going to go over the full announcement but more details about this can be found here if you wish to seek clarification.
 
Instead, we wish to focus on what we know thus far in terms of support and how we will be adapting to support you.
 
Help for businesses
No extra help, beyond what was announced before Christmas, has been announced for businesses who either cannot trade or have their trade severely disrupted. But this still means there are grants available from your local authority if you have been forced to close. And the furlough and self-employed grant schemes are still running across Jan to April 2021.
 
What does this mean for you and your business?

  1. Find out whether these lockdown announcements mean you can trade for the next 6-7 weeks though internally we recommend you look to the end of February given the time lags repeatedly being mentioned with respect to these measures and the vaccines.
  2. Review your resourcing requirements but also how many of your staff will now have childcare duties.
  3. Rethink your business plan, cash flow plan and also revisit your contingency plans

How we will be helping you through these times?

  1. All our team will be working tirelessly as they have already and there will be no break in support from our end so we will be here for you as we have from the start.
  2. We will continue to monitor updates and share these with you as soon as feasibly possible to assist you through these times.
  3. We will be running two drop-in sessions every week for the duration of this lockdown just for you to have a chat and we can run through anything you wish to alongside other business owners from:
    1. 5pm until 6pm every Tuesday (jump on here as the link will be the same each week); and
    2. 8am until 9am every Thursday (jump on here as the link will be the same each week).

Of course, if there is a growing need in any particular areas, we will address this as we did the first time round and look to assist where we can.

Also, please note that regardless of any extension with regards to the self-assessment filing deadline we will continue to work towards getting all tax returns submitted by 31 January 2021 for those that submitted their information on time to us as we see any delay as just being moving the problem.

Summary
We have been here before and stood alongside you and are still alongside you today in order to help you the best we can come out the other side.

Let us work together and stick together and never forget the mental health strain of this all so if you ever need to talk please reach out to us and we will be there for you and that includes calling the team or me on my mobile number if you need to.

The Chancellor extended the support

The Chancellor extended the support available once again there yesterday which further reinforces the fact that the battle against COVID-19 is still far from being over and based on his extended timescales it would be reasonable to expect at least some form of disruption into April/May and most likely for at least the first 6 months of next year though there are plenty of positives signs.  

The three key announcements yesterday were:

  1. the extension of furlough payments to 30 April 2021
  2. businesses will now have until 31 March 2021 to access the Government-backed loan schemes
  3. the budget announcement will be on 3 March 2021 whereby further support packages are expected to be announced including there being mention of new loan schemes that will replace the current Government-backed loan schemes

For the full release and to read more please click here.

Lockdown 2 Government Support Summary

This email takes you through the announcements and what it means for your business.

On the one hand it is great to see the government making available this help. But this probably means we will see fairly strict lockdown conditions between now and March 2021. We hope we are wrong about this, but in your contingency/scenario planning, particularly in regard to cash, please extend this 4-week lockdown until the end of March. If you need help with your business planning, please get in touch.

Here are the full details from the Government’s announcement.

The Self-Employed Income Scheme
On 30th November you will be able to claim a grant for up to 80% of your profits, to cover you for Nov – Jan 2021. This is capped at £7,500. They also declared there will be one more grant which will cover the period Feb – Apr 2021. Details are yet unknown of when this will be paid or for how much.

To receive these grants, you need to have received the previous grants and it is currently anticipated that this portal will open towards the end of this month.

The ‘Furlough scheme’
This has now been extended to the end of March. Which in effect means that we are unlikely to see the Job Support Scheme operational… You can Furlough any member of staff, as long as they were on the payroll before Oct 30th 2020. And the government will pay up to 80% of their wages, capped at £2,500 per month.

As a result of extending the Furlough scheme the planned Jan 2021 ‘Job retention bonus’ of £1,000 for any employee you Furloughed who you still employed has been deferred. Until when? Who knows?

Help with cash flow
If you haven’t taken a Bounce Back Loan or didn’t take the maximum amount available to you, you can now top this up. And you will be able to take out a CBIL or Bounce Back Loan now until the end of Jan 2021.

Mortgage payment holidays for those who haven’t taken a payment holiday will be available for 6 months, without this being noted on their credit files.

As with everything these days the above is all subject to change but this looks like what we will be working with for the weeks ahead as a minimum.

Additional grants???

There are meant to be more local authority grants coming but more details are yet to be released and these may be discretionary rather than automatic but watch out for updates from respective local authorities over the coming weeks and hopefully within the next 10 days or so.

We have also got a fantastic link below to what grants you could perhaps access but which are not so widely known which can be accessed here so please feel free to follow this link here to see what you could access.

Some inside information perhaps?

We have heard on the grapevine; though not confirmed, the following:

  1. The Government are allegedly working on a new support package which is currently going through the EFG and may mirror the current CBILs scheme but be more easily accessible but please note whilst we have heard this on good authority this is not guaranteed.
  2. Following on from the above the second BBL opportunity for some; it is widely known that the first bounce back loan was never intended to cover the lengthy period of uncertainty that we now face.  There are also now rumours of a second bounce back loan opportunity exceeding the original 25% of turnover/£50k limited to reflect the increased term that the original loan was never designed to cover.

Watch this space but we thought we would share these with you as they came from a source well connected within the Bank of England.

Lockdown 2 Update (Kind Of)

As promised we thought we would get another newsletter out following the weekend’s announcement.

There are a lot of rumours circulating though including uplifts in the claims that can be made by the self-employed, proposed extension of applications for the bounce back loans and CBILs loans to 31 January 2021 AND also allegedly a second opportunity to go and get an uplift in any bounce back loans you had previously accessed if you never utilised your full allocation first time round.

There is so much information circulating online at the minute and a lot in the small print that has either been missed or yet to be finalised.

We will provide you all with a more comprehensive and clearer update once everything has been signed off in Parliament which none of it has yet but this may not come until the end of this week or early next hence us providing this update now and hopefully some positive news in the pipeline for some extra support.

As ever we as a team are here for you and if you want to reach out and chat please feel free to call your client account manager.

Another lockdown – we are here to support you

So we had unscheduled announcement from Boris tonight so we thought it right that we should get this newsletter out straight away.

As with the first lockdown, the first thing we urge is calm.

If you do urgently want to talk though and are feeling overwhelmed  lost and just a range of emotions and want a friendly ear to bend, I am opening my diary fully tomorrow even though it is a Sunday during these unprecenteded times.

To book something in the diary just follow the link below:

https://calendly.com/graemetennick/15min

The details that have been announced are still to go through Parliament on Wednesday but even prior to that we as usual will expect more details behind the headlines to filter through over the next few days which naturally will filter through the press but we will follow this newsletter up with another once known.

One of the key financial headlines was the extension of the furlough scheme but again more details are to follow.

Job Support Scheme Update

This may have crept under the radar for some last week but there was a subtle very positive tweak by Rishi Sunek in an announcement last week that we wanted to highlight.

The Job Support Scheme; as you all know, comes in from 1 November to replace the current furlough scheme and will run for six months.

The change is that the minimum hours required for employees to work has dropped from 33% to 20% and the employer contribution for non-worked hours has dropped from 1/3 to 5%.

The full and updated summarised factsheet can be found here along with the eligibility criteria and we have attached the more detailed guidance here also.

"My business has grown massively over the years, and I can honestly say, it wouldn’t be as successful today without the input, knowledge and expertise from Tennick Accountants"

Carla Sleeth – Managing Director of Northern Installer’s Limited
 

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