Updated: Apr 20
This is a worrying time for many small businesses, so we wanted to update you on what help is available to you, and how we can support you.
Business as usual at Paul & Co
Firstly, rest assured that at Paul & Co we are poised and ready for any change. The health and well being of our people, our clients, and our loved ones is our top priority.
We are all able to work remotely, and any meetings will be switched to Zoom meetings as and when necessary.
We're also washing our hands more (we did anyway!) and we're not shaking hands or hugging. “Namaste” is our new handshake. It means “ the divinity in me bows to the divinity in you”
Please put your own, and your family's health first. Everything else can wait.
Do follow the best advice re: keeping yourself and your loved ones safe.
The NHS website is a good place for up to date advice, so please bookmark their site: NHS Coronavirus.
Don't make any non-refundable travel or accommodation bookings.
Keep an eye on updates for any events you're planning on attending.
For international travel restrictions keep an eye on FCO guidance for updates.
Check your travel insurance for cancellation of trips - basically if the FCO says don't travel and you do, you may not be covered. If you travel and you are told not to, you may not be covered.
We're here for you, but what support is there, if you're worried about the financial affect of Coronavirus?
Most importantly, keep up to date with the Government guidance on COVID-19, by keeping their webpage bookmarked. And secondly check your insurance cover:
Does your business insurance include business interruption for public health closures, and infectious diseases?
Make sure you also have loss of income cover.
Health insurance: make sure you have health insurance in place for you and your employees.
FOCUS ON WHAT YOU CAN CONTROL:
Let's keep this in perspective, and assume that we are looking at a temporary period.
What costs can you control? For example:
Can you get a break clause or rent free period in your lease?
Could you reduce your employment costs?
Watch stock orders very carefully and consider that you may need less stock to resell.
Can you offer to deliver to your customers, if they can't visit you?
Can you sell online instead of face to face?
Review your Xero profit and loss, or your bank statements for unnecessary costs that you can cut now.
Look at cancellation clauses and break clauses on any monthly subscriptions
The Chancellor has introduced £12 billion worth of measures to support the NHS and businesses during the Coronavirus pandemic.
1. Statutory Sick Pay to be reimbursed
The Government has confirmed that if employees have to self-isolate, they will reimburse you (as the employer) for statutory sick pay for up to 2 weeks, as an employer, at £94.25 per week. As long as you have less than 250 employees. Statutory sick pay is available from day 1, instead of day 4.
2. Sick Pay for self-employed
If you're self-employed, you can also claim employment and support allowance from day one. More here. This is also claimable from day 1 instead of day 8.
3. Funding support
The Government has promised £7bn funding for small businesses and workers in the UK via the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. This will be via Government backed bank funding, and the finer details are still being agreed, but funding is expected to be up to £1.2 million per business.
4. £3,000 grant for small business
We are still waiting for details on this one, but grants should be available for businesses with a rateable value below £26,000.
5. Business rates suspended
Rates suspended for 1 year for shops, cinemas, restaurants and music venues in England with a rateable value of £51,000 or less.
6. £500m "hardship fund" for local authorities
The Government has launched a £500m "hardship fund" to be given to local authorities in England to help vulnerable people in their areas. We are following this up to see how you can access this support.
7. Time to pay arrangements relaxed and extended
HMRC have launched a new number for you to call to discuss outstanding tax liabilities due to COVID-19. The helpline number is 0800 0159 559 - and is an addition to other HMRC phone contact numbers. The helpline is open from Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm, and Saturday 8am to 4pm (excluding bank holidays).
WE ARE HERE FOR YOU
Every small business owner will have different issues, and different needs. We are here if you want to chat through your concerns.
We would also like to hold "online clinics" to help you. Just having a sounding board will put things in perspective for you. We would run these as online meetings, with a small group of you together.
If you're interested in this, or you'd just like a chat, please get in touch, or call the office on 020 8204 9911.
WHAT WE CAN OFFER
Help with cashflow forecasts
It's likely to be a worrying time at the moment, but having a cashflow forecast in place will help you to focus on what you can control, help you make the right decisions, and provide well needed reassurance and confidence.
We can offer a cashflow forecast for your business, with a one hour online meeting for £400 plus VAT (our normal fee is £950 plus VAT). This will help you to make the right decisions for your immediate future. Please email me if you'd like this offer.
Funding for you
Through our contacts we can arrange short and long term finance for your business, via their diverse range of funding providers. This could be a sensible option for you if your bank is unable to support you. Please contact us to help you with an application.
We're here if you just want someone to talk to, to chat through your thoughts and plans, and to provide more info on any of the above points.