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COVID-19 Support Hub for Businesses

COVID-19 is at the forefront of everyone’s minds at the moment. We’ve put together one place you can find the latest information and strategies for what you can do as a business owner to get you through this.

You can jump ahead to the sections you’re most interested in, using the links below:

Above all, we want you to know you’re not alone. Whether you’re feeling anxious, upset, nervous or scared about the whole thing – we’re here. We may not be able to see you in person, but we’re always happy to share a virtual cup of tea or beer and chat.

Are we going to be okay?

For business owners, the question on everyone’s mind is “are we going to be ok?” The government has been announcing various measures to help businesses that culminated in the announcement that the government will pay 80% of wages of staff placed on extended leaves of absence (‘furloughed’) and the deferment of VAT payments until 31st March 2021 and Payments on Account until 31 January 2021. Both measures subject to certain conditions. 

Key areas in your business to focus on

  • Cash flow

    Your first focus should be easing cash flow pressures on your business. We've detailed some ways below

  • Funding

    Next, you should look at if you need funding and work out how much you need and when you'll need it

  • Resourcing

    The next phase will see resourcing challenges arise. Put a plan in place for how you deal with resource demands

How can I get through this?

Our advice to business owners remains to be calm, be positive and be decisive. This crisis will pass and the aim is that your business is in the best shape possible when it does pass. You’re not alone. Take care of yourself, your team, your clients and your community – seek the opportunities that will undoubtedly arise and monitor your cash position daily. Our co-founder Paul Bulpitt has helped put together this guide that has 90 tips and ideas for business owners to get through this.

The government has put together an overview of all the measures for businesses announced so far and how you can access them. If you’re self-employed they’ve put together this overview of the Self-employment Income Support Scheme they announced and how you can make a claim. Both are being regularly updated as new information comes out.  Below, we’ve put together what you can do under each key area of focus and links to resources that will support you to do this. 

How can I manage my cash flow?

Your first focus should be easing cash flow pressures on your business during this time. We’ve put together some resources to help including a guide on setting up payment plans with HMRC, a simple cash flow monitoring tool, a guide on how to get funding, and tips on managing your personal finances. There are the areas to look at first:

  1. Effectively defer all tax payments. We’ve produced a short guide to setting up a payment plan with HMRC.
  2. Consider furloughing staff not needed for the foreseeable future. Here’s how this scheme will work  – including a step-by-step guide and template letters to support the process. When furloughing staff, it’s important to follow proper HR procedures. 
  3. Defer payment of business rates. Look at holding off your business rates payment while you check with your local authority to see if you are eligible for any of the concessions.
  4. Approach your landlord about a rent holiday or deferment. The government has announced that no business will be forced out of their premises if they miss a rent payment between now and June. These businesses have successfully negotiated a three month rent holiday. Could you?Cash flow resources

Should I get funding?

The government are frantically putting systems in place to deliver access to the loans and grants they announced. In reality, it may take weeks until the cash hits your bank account. If you need a cash injection within the next six weeks, our advice is to seek alternative funding as soon as possible.

You can still take advantage of the government-backed loans and use these to pay off the other finance you have taken out. Some lenders are offering payment holidays, but you shouldn’t miss a payment without agreeing to it first, as this will affect your credit rating and could potentially result in default. 

Experience shows that the sooner you seek funding, the greater the chance of success. If you struggled to get finance before this, you are unlikely to get funding now. We can undertake a funding search for you, please complete the short form below to help us, help you. 

How can I get funding?

How to resource effectively

You might be faced with resourcing challenges as work slows down and your team juggle childcare, possibly fall ill themselves, or care for sick relatives.

Consider furloughing staff not needed for the foreseeable future. Not only is this a cheaper option than redundancies, but it also keeps your options open to bringing back those team members when needed.

You can claim 80% of salaries up to £2,500 per month per employee – at your discretion, you can top this up. Please always take HR advice first before altering anyone’s contractual entitlements. 

In case you have to make the difficult decision of furloughing members of your team, we’ve put together some resources to help including a step-by-step guide and template letters to support the process of furloughing members of staff.

Furloughing resources

For Wow clients specifically:

This is what we’re doing to bring us all together to support each other through this and to extend a (virtual) arm around you. If you’re a Wow client and would like to find out more about any of the initiatives below, please email your Wow Accountant. They’re all part of your Wow service.

Businesses Bite Back Workshops

An exclusive series of workshops bringing together groups of like-minded Wow clients to collaboratively get through the Covid-19 crisis in the best shape possible. The first series of workshops is all about planning. Planning through the crisis and planning for the business you want in the ‘new normal’ beyond the crisis.

Virtual support groups for clients

As the challenges posed by the coronavirus start to impact businesses, we wanted to do something that brought Wow clients together, so we can all support each other through this. The support groups take place online with 6-8 business owners all sharing ideas together

Free HR helpline for Wow clients

We realised that HR advice was needed on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and furloughing staff. We’ve arranged for Wow clients to be able to call and get free advice on this and any other HR queries they have. We’ve emailed all Wow clients the details on how to access the helpline

 


How we can help any business

There are many ways we can help you, here are a few options:

R&D tax rebates

If you have invested in a project that has developed your business, we can help you claim back money from HMRC

Find out more

Accessing government initiatives

If you need a hand accessing the measures announced by the government

Get in touch

Cash flow

If you need some more complex forecasting done or want to look at your options in more detail

Get in touch


Our key resources and tools at a glance:

  1. An overview of all the measures announced for businesses by the UK government so far, and how you can access them
  2. An overview of the Self-employment Income Support Scheme, and how you can make a claim against it
  3. Our simple cash flow monitoring tool
  4. The small business COVID-19 survival guide with 90 tips for entrepreneurs which our co-founder Paul Bulpitt helped put together (mentioned above)
  5. A guide on how to set up a payment plan with HMRC (mentioned above)
  6. Our advice on how you can get funding
  7. A checklist for what information you need to complete for a Coronavirus Business Interruptions Loan Scheme
    (CBILS) finance application
  8. Businesses who have successfully negotiated a three month rent holiday
  9. Answer a couple of questions to find out if you can make an R&D claim
  10. Tips on managing your personal finances through this time
  11. The Wow Way – our guide to how you can survive home working with kids
  12. All our resources on the Corona Virus Job Retention Scheme and furloughing your staff

Some great tips and insights from elsewhere:

  • Lend A Hand. The amazing team at Manifest London are creating a community of helpers to support those struggling in self-isolation. If you want to help or need help, please check it out
  • This blog from Andreessen Horowitz sharing some of their best pieces on leadership, grit, and managing a startup in times of uncertainty, culled from their past (almost) decade of archives
  • This blog from Emily Oster on parenting and working in the open, amidst Covid-19
  • Some awesome tips on the desire to survive and evolve in the face of adversity. Written by the wonderful team at FizzPopBANG
  • If you’re an agency, read these tips from Blair Enns on surviving and thriving in a crisis
  • How do we prepare for a world that often changes drastically and rapidly? We can preserve our optionality. A great read from the Farnam Street blog
  • If you need some inspiration into how to deal with adversity, listen to Episode 17 on the Adam Asks Podcast which features professional actor, Jim Murray.

Please always remember

The resources contained in our Support Hub are intended to help you and your business and are no substitute for professional HR & legal advice. Each business is different and you should get professional advice relating to your specific circumstances. If you’d like to be put in touch with someone, please let us know.

Find out more

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