5 key actions your business needs to take to thrive post lockdown

1 Understand your new normal

Put bluntly you need to know – does your business have a future post lockdown?

Take a close look at each element of your business model to understand what’s changed and how you need to adapt

Then you need to understand

·        Your market: has it shrunk or expanded? Temporarily or permanently? Have other markets potentially opened up?

·        Your main competitors: How have they coped? What are they doing differently to you? Are their customers vulnerable?

If you still believe your business has a future you can start with the hard work of steps 2 – 5.

2. Build your resilience to deal with the uncertainty

There are uncertain times ahead. Your business will need to be at its most resilient to survive and thrive.

You create that resilience by building a better, stronger, and more agile business that can cope with and adapt to the one of the many different scenarios that will play out over the next 18 months.

To do that your accountants should be there to help you. They are the advisers who understand your business and have access to up to date data.

Work with them to develop multiple scenario forecasts that deal with the uncertainty you face. These will reflect your views on what the good, the bad and the ugly will look like.

Built in within these forecasts will be the actions you will need to take around costs, funding and people, with the signposts as to when you’ll need to take them. 

The reality is nothing ever goes to plan, so only having one, or none at all, puts you at a disadvantage straight away. 

3. Keep the focus on cash flow

Cash is king. This will remain true over the coming months and you can’t lose focus.

The biggest uncertainty business owners face and what keeps them up most at night is cash flow. The nightmare of running out of cash. 

You’ve done the hard thinking in 2 but you have to have a daily, weekly and monthly view on what cash is looking like, and if you have an issue coming up. Things can change quickly so you need to be on top of it.

There are plenty of cash flow forecasing tools out there alongside the old favourite Excel. If you’re competent and confident with them then it maybe something you or your team can do, otherwise engage your accountant. Whatever way you’ll never delegate responsibility from yourself for knowing you’re not going to run out of cash.

4. Wean yourself off government support

You should have taken advantage of all the government support you were entitled to.

VAT payment deferral, payment holidays, CBILS and bounce back loans, SEISS, small business grant scheme, retail and hospitality grant scheme, business rates holiday, and staff furloughing.

The support will come to an end or you’ll have to start making repayments.

You need to know when each will happen and what actions you’ll need to take to deal with that. You should have already considered this is step 2, but this is the reality of it happening.

5. Manage your staff’s return to work

If your staff have been furloughed or have been working from home, you’ll need to handle how they can return to work safely, and also how you can embrace the new reality of remote working.

Returning safely:

There’s a lot of practical considerations here, and there is government guidance which will no doubt be updated on a continuing basis so the first step is to ensure you keep monitoring it on GOV.UK.

You’ll need to carry out a risk assessment, which will need consider, amongst many factors, the ability to social distance, your guidelines for keeping staff safe, what hygiene and safety measures you need to have in place, if PPE is required, the protocol for visitors.

The key point to bear in mind is that you’ll need to take the actions and communicate to your staff in a way that reassures them that it is safe for them to return to work.

A new way of working:

The months of lockdown made working from home a necessity for millions, and introduced it as an option that will be difficult now to withdraw. It also provides businesses with the opportunity to reduce costs by reducing expensive office space.

It looks like a win-win but you’ll need to be sure the remote working model works for your business and your staff.   

If you would like to discuss any of the points above please email paul@cabdigitalaccountants.co.uk

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