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10 Practical steps to mitigate the madness

If you’re an SME owner feeling a little confused in this world of uncertainty and information overload, here are the top ten things to help your business survive. 

1)     Increase liquidity. However you can, you need to increase the cash you are holding. Top 3 options are:-

a.     Bounce Back Loans have excellent relief (up to £50k), are easy to access, 100% Government backed with decent terms and the money arrives within days. Go to your bank online and find their application page.

b.     R&D tax relief. The UK scheme is one of the most generous (up to 33% cashback) and easy to access schemes in the world for all sectors. You can go back 2 years, and accelerate your claim by shortening your year ends. You can even borrow ahead from companies such as www.fundsquire.com

c.     CBILS… more complicated and slower to apply, but if you are asking for less than £250k it’s worth a look.

2)     Don’t spend it!  Delay everything you can.

a.     The Government is allowing delays on PAYE, VAT, and pretty much everything for two years if you ask them. Take it, and save your cash into a panic fund. 

b.     Remember to document why you are holding the cash so as to not become an investment company (ask your accountant).

3)     If you need to raise money as a start-up.

a.     Use an ASA (advanced subscriptions agreement). It is money now, shares later, no valuation needed, EIS/SEIS compatible and an excellent approach. Free one on our website: https://www.ouryclark.com/coronavirus.html 

4)     Get insurance. Who would think anyone would recommend that now? But no, do. Advise staff to get term/life insurance. The market is open, and there are policies without medicals currently. Not expensive if you are young and healthy and worth every penny if something should happen. Which, well, it might.

5)     Everyone needs to get a power of attorney. Between you and your most trusted love one. You need to give someone the power to make decisions if you can’t. You need to register it with the Government. – see here. Oh and give someone your Apple/Facebook password already!

6)     Get a Will. Put it in several places, and tell people where (you get the gist!).

7)     It is really hard when working from home to separate work and play. For eg. to not know when it’s okay to log off. For employees’ mental health a lot of research recommends to have a morning check in time, and a check out time in the evening. Yourself and other senior people may need to work all hours– but it’s not fair to expect everyone else too.

8)     If you have business premises, make sure you pick up the post. The council may have written to you about grants that are available. Also, there is a new Government relief for co-working, market traders, charity properties and B&Bs. The allocation of this funding is at the discretion of Councils, so get in touch.

9)     Furloughed employees can be trained. So TRAIN them… realise this is your opportunity to upskill your staff on government payroll. Innovate hard.

10)  Don’t get lost on the detail, the news or the law. Focus on your core business model in a hungover (post-corona) world.

Andrew Oury is a Partner at Oury Clark Chartered Accountants

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