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It is a very scary and unprecedented time we are in. We wish we had all the answers or could wave a wand and make it all disappear, but we can’t. What Tom Yeung, Business Coach and Mentor and facilitator of our very own SUNA Silver to Gold Growth Pathway, has produced a list out a few things he feels are important for business owners to consider and hopes that this might help us all to get through this demanding situation. This by no means a prescriptive list of actions, but more to help guide your thoughts and planning to enable us to all come out of this situation the other side, and use this time we currently are in, to continue to plan ahead for the future. (This information was written on the 18th March 2020, based on the information available at that time).
1. Help Yourself Before You Help Others
As they say in the safety instructions during pre-flight “when the oxygen masks drop, please place yours’ on first before helping others”. This is what you need to do with your business, protect/safeguard the organisation first. Trim down your costs/outlays straightaway. Yes, it sounds harsh, but if you can keep the business going on a skeleton crew then at least you have a business that can rehire once things start to pick up. A failed business with a full complement of staff isn’t going to help anyone.
2. Keep Yourself Informed and Updated
Check daily for aid/support being offered. I was very pleased to hear Boris announcing a support package for the business community of £330bn yesterday. Check-in regularly with the Growth Hub, NALEP and other Government bodies to make sure you know what is available and how you can access it.
3. Be Honest with Yourself
If you are in a bad position admit it to yourself. Whilst you may not choose to share it with others at this stage, your plans and actions must stem from a truthful assessment of your position at this time and not a false one. Once you have a truthful perception of your situation, you can make the right decisions for you and your business.
4. Talk to Your Customers and Suppliers
It has never been more important than now to ensure you speak with your customers and suppliers on a regular basis. Work with them to work out solutions that are of mutual benefit. I’m sure that neither your supplier nor customer wants to see your business fail, so ask for support whether that is to reduce or delay payment to a supplier or getting an advance or regular payment from the customer. Unless you ask you will not know if you can change the terms. Don’t forget we are in this together one way or another. Agree on terms that work for you and hopefully will be manageable with them.
5. Are you Claiming for Everything You Are Entitled To?
I know that a lot of eligible businesses are not claiming for Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credits or Patent Box. The R&D Tax Credit scheme allows businesses that have made innovations or improvements to their products/services/processes by overcoming technical problems to claim back an element of their costs. This applies to any businesses across any industry, not just the scientific or technical sector. Likewise, if you have a patent you might qualify for a Corporation Tax Rate of 10% for income derived through the patent.
6. Speak to Your Team and Colleagues
My ethos is always to share information, especially in difficult situations. Treat your team as adults, not children. Explain to them what you are facing, but also where you want to get to and how they might be able to help you. It might be they have to take a pay cut for the short term rather than lose anyone through redundancy. These discussions need to be had; it will take a weight off your shoulders once you start sharing. It will also provide the team with an opportunity to contribute and dedicate their futures too.
7. Are You Using Your Time Constructively?
What are you and your team are doing with your time? Make sure that you are all putting it to good use. Are there things you can be doing that will benefit the company when things start to pick up? Is it a good time to do some training so that people are more skilled? Good time to streamline your processes? Work with your team to go through improvements, ideas and opportunities to help you get through this period.
8. Positive Thinking
Yes, by all means, have a reality check, but what are you then going to do about it? Are you actively looking for new opportunities from this situation? “One person’s sorrow is another person’s gain.” Think about how you and your business can benefit from the current situation. For example, are there other ways to support your business or change the way you deliver your service or a new service you could implement that works in this situation?
9. Don’t Procrastinate
The worst decision a business owner can make is to do nothing. To sit and wait for something to happen puts you in a “reactive” state. Successful businesses are all about being proactive, being first to do. For the ones that are in a good financial situation, now is the time to push ahead of its competitors and the market.
10. Adapt and Conquer
There is an end to all this. Don’t know when nor what it will be like, but there will be an end. As with Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent; it is the one most adaptable to change.”. What are you doing to adapt?
11. You Are Not Alone
There are many of us in this situation, and it is important that we support each other, share information and ideas, and more. Feel free to contact us through the New Anglia Growth Hub Facebook
@NewAngliaGrowthHub page or Linked https://www.linkedin.com/company/12001251/admin/, contact me directly (my details are below).
There are also lots of line forums, business groups, advice and organisations chat groups we can use online. Don’t forget to embrace the technology with online conference and video chat options available, and of course, there is the phone. Don’t forget the simple act of making a call to friend, family, colleague, customer or supplier can be a really powerful and positive thing in these extreme times. We are all in this together, so don’t isolate yourself, we can stay in touch so let’s do just that!
I hope you have found this useful and I wish you all the very best in getting through the next few months.
Tom Yeung, Success Management
T: 077 923 923 56
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