Is your small business struggling with the impact of Coronavirus? In this article, we’ve put together an essential list of resources and financial help that is available to businesses to help get them through these difficult times. From business interruption loans to job retention schemes, all of these resources can help your business get through these uncertain times.
Coronavirus job retention scheme
Are you thinking of laying off staff to help save money to get your business through the lockdown? Or have you been forced to close your store? The Coronavirus job retention scheme lets you keep your staff by temporarily suspending them and still allows you to pay 80% of their wage which is capped at £2500 per employee, per month.
Reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)
As part of tackling Covid-19, employees can access SSP from the first day of their absence instead of day four to help them receive pay for having to self-isolate if they have symptoms. For businesses with under 250 employees you can claim a rebate of up to 2 weeks of SSP for eligible employees who have been forced to take time off to self-isolate.
Starting on the 20th March businesses will have their VAT payments deferred for 3 months until the 30th of June at the earliest. This is an automatic process and as such you won’t have to apply or make any changes in order to have these payments deferred.
Coronavirus business interruption loan scheme
For businesses struggling with cash flow this emergency fund has been organised by 40 lenders through the British Business Bank and will provide loans of up to £5 million for small to medium businesses. The loans will be 80% guaranteed and interest-free for the first 12 months to help businesses to continue trading and weather the storm of Covid-19. Find out more here.
Business rate relief
To help businesses in retail, hospitality and leisure in England there will be a business rates holiday for 2020-2021 with no limit on the rateable value. Also, businesses in these three sectors will also be eligible for a cash grant up to £25,000 per property dependent on their rateable value. Local authorities will be writing to you if you are eligible to receive this grant.
In addition to the resources above the following are ways that your business can evolve to the changing trading conditions and continue operating and providing products and services to your customers.
Set up an online shop
If you have a physical store that sells products to customers and you have been forced to shut, then why not consider setting up an online shop. There are many ways you can do this from creating an ecommerce section on your existing website to using an existing marketplace such as eBay, Amazon, Etsy or Facebook marketplace. If you already have a WordPress website, then this can be converted to an ecommerce website.
An alternative may be to set up a separate online shop and link to this from your existing website. Shopify is probably one of the easiest platforms for small businesses and will let them quickly and easily set up listings for everything from furniture to clothing and manage their stock and sales online. Currently, Shopify is offering a free 90-day trial so get started today and you can start building an online store to help drive additional revenue.
In these challenging times social media offers your business an easy way to provide customers with updates about your businesses as well as letting you link to your products or services. And, while it can take a lot of time and money to make changes to your website, social media can let you quickly update customers about new ways for them to do business with you from telephone orders to home delivery or click and collect services. You can also answer questions quickly and easily and help reassure your customers that you are still operating as normal.
Online face-to-face tools
Platforms such as Zoom, GoToMeeting and WhatsApp video calling have made it easier for businesses to carry out face-to-face meetings and continue providing services remotely. Everyone from fitness coaches to music and dance teachers can provide services remotely and maintain income levels.
We hope that you find these resources helpful and if you need any help promoting your business online, we’re here to help so please get in touch with us on 0161 909 3400.