(My daughter, ready for quarantine in Malaysia)
Like many business owners in the UK we have closed our salon business due to COVID19 and like many of you out there, because of this virus; our family is in quarantine.
Perhaps, unlike you - we have been isolated now for 12 days in Malaysia, having traveled ahead of it's spread from Vietnam and Singapore and so have witnessed first hand the effect this pandemic is having on communities and businesses worldwide.
We are fortunate to have multiple digital businesses to ride this storm but the future of our Salon business is still uncertain.
As an entrepreneur though, you know as well as I do, even under normal circumstances, business is uncertain anyway - so I am confident that we (you and I) can come out of this healthy and thriving.
At Weblocs we are constantly developing our business and working on new features to respond to trends and challenges.
However this blog post isn't about us, its about all of us. We have developed our businesses to work successfully without us being physically any where near it, or our clients - we have essentially been social distancing ourselves for years :)
So we thought we would take this opportunity to try our best to provide some clear concise information, and useful links in the following blog - to help prevent business owners like you and me worrying unnecessarily.
Ok so things are tough right now - but don't worry, our businesses are closed - but don't worry, our clients are stuck at home - but don't worry, our staff are furloughed - but don't worry, money is owed to the bank, the landlord, the suppliers - but don't worry.
Every day brings further welcome announcements of support and advice from the government, financial institutions, and suppliers.
We can assure you that, to date, we have seen our business members successfully securing tax deferrals through TTP (Time To Pay), as well as members securing lease, mortgage and supplier payment holidays and deductions for their businesses.
The feeling is that we are all in this together, alongside those that we purchase, borrow and rely on the services of.
WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER!
YOU DON'T GET UNLESS YOU
I am sure however that there are plenty of business owners out there who have not yet received any payment breaks, and are currently feeling the weight of all the conflicting information bearing down on their shoulders.
Right now is not the time to bury your head in the sand.
Now is the time to research the actions the government is taking to protect you and your business - from official credible sources.
Now is also the time to speak to those companies that you owe money to, or pay on a regular basis; contact them by email, informing them of your closure and the difficulty it places you under to continue paying them.
Ask for a payment holiday or delay, 3 months breathing room. If they cannot accommodates this ask for a reduction or discount on the normal payment.
Keep in mind that the closures may also be affecting their business, do not shut down the conversation - both parties want to keep a positive relationship for future business.
WHO TO CONTACT FOR PAYMENT BREAKS...
By no means a definitive list - but a good start.
- Mortgage provider.
- Product suppliers.
- Software supplier.
- Internet provider.
- Web Hosting company.
- Refuse and Waste collection.
- Any subscription services.
Take a look at your business bank account over the last few months to see regular payments going out - and contact those companies.
Quite honestly, we have been stunned by the governments business support package, which we never thought would come even close to the level they are currently offering and will most likely add to in the near future.
When I look at other nation's government responses around the world; I know I am happier where my business resides.
This support is changing re-actively every day, and we believe will in the end, encompass employed, self-employed and owners with a fair answer of support.
This support will come, but I have no doubt that it will take longer than any of us wish, which is why the above tips of reducing business outgoings to the bear minimum right now is vitally important.
At this point in time our government is offering:
80% of employees wage costs (maximum of £2,500 each)
Staff must agree to be furloughed (on leave of absence) and should not undertake any work for their employer when they are being “furloughed” - more info here
Provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on a business interruption loan.
The government will also make a Business Interruption Payment to cover the first 12 months of interest payments and any lender-levied fees - more info here
Plus more that may not be directly related to businesses owners.
SO WHAT'S NEXT?
APART FROM FOLLOWING THE ABOVE ADVICE, AND LINKS AND CONDUCTING YOUR OWN RESEARCH, WE SUGGEST YOU SPEND SOME TIME NETWORKING (ONLINE) - REACH OUT TO OTHER BUSINESSES IN YOUR AREA, CREATE A FACEBOOK GROUP - THAT WAY YOU CAN ALERT EACH OTHER TO DEVELOPMENTS WITHIN YOUR TOWN OR NATIONALLY WITHIN YOUR INDUSTRY.
OUR NEXT BLOG WILL INCLUDE MARKETING ADVICE, AND ANY UPDATES TO OUR CURRENT POSITION AND CHANGES TO THE INFORMATION ABOVE.
IF WE HAVE MADE ANY MISTAKES, IN THIS BLOG, OR IF YOU FOUND IT HELPFUL OR UNHELPFUL - PLEASE LET US KNOW.