The question on the lips of many business owners during the COVID-19 crisis is short, and to the point: how can I keep business going?
This week, our survival package aimed to unpick exactly that, with advice, tips and tricks gathered from some of the business world’s leading figures. Here, we’ve pulled together the most relevant, actionable learnings, as well as highlighting where you can learn more about each topic.
Let’s dive in:
Coping with COVID, from global business experts
This month’s flagship webinar was a crucial one, tackling a range of subjects that explored how businesses could not only survive, but stabilise, in this new paradigm of working life. Here’s what Receipt Bank CEO Adrian Blair, who hosted the panel, had to say:
“The BBC’s Gavin Hewitt told us that companies should plan for growth now, and work out their lockdown exit strategy. Remote working expert Lisette Sutherland educated us on a new way of managing colleagues and workloads in lockdown. And accountant Jason Blumer helped us understand how to manage our business remotely.
You can watch our ‘Coping with COVID’ webinar here, right now.
Keeping Business Going: 5 golden rules from an accountant on the frontline
Business continuity plans are always prepared, but rarely prioritised. After all, it’s only natural for day-to-day tasks to take precedence over potential pandemics. For Michele Grisdale, however, establishing a sense of security and stability has always been integral to her operations as an accountant and long-time Receipt Bank partner.
In her wide-ranging interview, she covered everything from cash flow – “The message I am relaying to business owners is simple. Cash flow is king; now, it’s the critical factor in planning any next step” – to diversification:
From a business continuity perspective, it’s obviously a great sense of initiative, but it’s often even more important than that. Business owners that felt they had no avenues of trade are suddenly exploring paths they’d never have managed to before the crisis. We’re seeing a new breath of life within the small business community, and it’s so inspiring.
Finding a new niche
This is something echoed by our small business community too. Receipt Bank caught up with Antony Difrancesco, owner of Wolf & Lamb Catering, to hear how his business had adapted in the face of a total shut down.
“When the lockdown restrictions were implemented in the UK, we knew immediately that it was going to be difficult to keep business going.
“The two core parts of our company are our restaurant, which was obviously closed down, and private catering. Dealing predominantly with events, fashion shoots and offices meant that ultimately this was almost entirely restricted, too.”
“After a few days taking stock, we started to explore other avenues of not only trade, but local community support. The strong relationships we have with our suppliers meant we could secure high quality produce at good prices and, after reaching out to our network, began working with Forest Freight, a local logistics company that had recently a number of jobs postponed, too.
“Now, we’re able to deliver goods and groceries – both vital and luxury – to people all over London and Essex. Having started a few weeks ago, we’ve just processed our 1000th order. The new venture has injected new life into the business.”
Positivity and progress in business
With so many businesses struggling and hiring plans frozen, the world may feel uncertain but 2020 might just be its most important year yet. Communities are more needed than ever: the COVID-19 crisis has thrown into sharp focus the economy’s instability and inequality, with many businesses being refused emergency loans and employees sent home without pay.
So, while it is key to keep abreast of the changes, sometimes all we need is some positivity.
We spoke to Trevor Bezzina, the co-founder of Potentially – a business that’s working to democratise opportunities for students and help every person fulfil their potential, no matter their background – to hear what’s making him feel hopeful in business continuity and the future for recruitment.
One key learning?
“Patience and resilience. Focus on the things that may not be so apparent in day-to-day work – things like your mental health and wellbeing, community, friends and connections. These are not the obvious things for helping you do your job better, but if you don’t work on them, they can subtly impact your performance over time.”