April 2020 and we are in the midst of the global Coronavirus, navigating our businesses through some uncertain times. But not all is doom and gloom. Paula Warman of Landscaper’s Circle compiles some landscaping through Coronavirus tips so that business not only by survive but thrive.
It is a fact that during economic downturns many businesses grow, and new ones are started. Here are six top tips on navigating your way through this current situation:
As the government announced new guidance on closing all non-essential businesses from 24th March, 2020 we will all have time on our hands. Use this extra time for forward planning and putting in place all the things you have been meaning to do, but have been too busy to do.
I expect, like me, you will have seen many businesses embracing the changes that have come from social distancing and self-isolation and brought their products and services online. Households across the country have embraced technology from homeschooling the kids, to gym workouts, parties, online conferences and events. Now is the time to see what you could be doing in your business to innovate and differentiate yourself. The way to thrive is to continue to develop and learn. Innovation is key – think outside the box and have some fun thinking about new services and products you could start offering.
Access government help
Remember the key to reducing panic about cashflow is to start looking into the help the government have pledged to small businesses and the self-employed. This includes the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme which will support workers who are not working but are kept on the payroll. The government will pay 80% of your employees wages, rather than you having to make the difficult choide of laying them off. These workers will be designated as ‘furloughed’ and employers can choose to top up their salaries, but do not have to.
This also applies if you are employees of your own limited company. For the self-employed they will also help towards earnings lost.
Other help includes a time to pay scheme for all VAT and tax owed since 20th March. There is a small business grant of £10,000 available (criteria apply) and the option of a business interruption loan with zero interest for 6 months. This is of great help and relief to many small businesses. Visit the government websites to find out exactly what you can access.
All businesses should run a cashflow as part of good management practice, but in these uncertain times it is even more important to have a handle on your cashflow monitoring what you can and cannot afford. If you are struggling speak with any creditors you have, such as builders merchants. And if setting up payment plans set the repayments to what you can deliver on. It is in these uncertain economic times that you can strip back any unnecessary costs, truly reflect on the financial position in the business and improve it.
As with looking at your financial position this is a good time to look at the current staffing of the business, see where the gaps are and reassess your staffing levels. If you plan to keep your staff then access the government grant for the 80% help towards their wages and perhaps suggest to them to take some holiday over the next few weeks so that when business resumes they will be there ready to work as you will need all hands-on deck. Don’t leave yourself short on staff when the economy picks back up. Now might be a good opportunity to look at your skill gaps and look at options for training when everyone it back at work.
Stories and opinions on social media can bring fear and anxiety to many. But there are so many things to feel positive and grateful for. Being at home means you get to spend more time with your family and can be a time to reflect on your business plans for the future. Use this time as me time.
My final thoughts, this will not last forever! Things will return to normal and then the industry will boom, people will be spending money on their gardens and holidaying in the UK and supporting local businesses. So, for us in the landscaping industry it will be a good time to get new clients and bigger projects. It is an uncertain but also possibly a perfect time to make many changes in your life and business, spend time with your loved ones and be grateful for your health and everything you have in life.
Stay strong, stay safe!