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Beyond Coronavirus

Now that both the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (“CJRS” or “furlough” scheme) and the Self Employment Income Support Scheme (“SEISS”) are both up and running then it would seem that the key aspects of the Government’s package of measures to support business through the Coronavirus outbreak are in place.   
 
There remain significant groups of taxpayers who appear to have fallen down the cracks between the schemes – hopefully these will be addressed in the near future.  We also expect the schemes to continue to be refined and we still await details of the changes to be made to the CJRS with effect from 1 August. Nevertheless, it seems clear the pace of change is likely to be slower in future.
 
At the same time, we are starting to see the first tentative steps towards releasing the lockdown although clearly for many businesses it is going to be some considerable time before they can reopen in any meaningful way, let alone return to something approaching normality.  However many businesses will now have taken the majority of the steps they can to survive the initial crisis – including what, no doubt, have been some tough decisions.
 
Having hopefully got through this “survival” phase businesses and their owners should now be looking to work out ways they can adapt their business to deal with the realities of the new situation we are all facing.  Actions that business leaders now should be taking include:
 
  • Resetting their short term vision – this does not necessarily mean the business leader’s ultimate goals should change but the route they need to follow to reach that end goal may need to be altered.
 
  • Looking for short term opportunities – any downturn in the economy reflects the average impact across all businesses – and within that average, there will always be winners and losers.  Business leaders should be considering what opportunities there may be, for example, in adjacent or similar markets, and considering if any non-commercial opportunities exist.  Non-commercial opportunities are those that do not necessarily generate revenue in the short term but add strength to the business in the medium to long term.  
 
  • Challenging their business model – for many businesses their whole model will have been stress tested like never before.  Business leaders should take the time now to review their whole business model to determine whether it is really set up to achieve their long term goals – and whether it is truly fit for purposes in a post Coronavirus world.
 
At Whittingham Riddell, we have already spent considerable time helping our clients access all of the government support programmes that are available and guiding them through the “survive” phase of this process.  We have now moved towards helping our clients to “adapt” to the new reality under lockdown, and then to take the actions that will be necessary to allow their business to thrive in a post coronavirus world.  
 
A key part of this process is our “Survive, Adapt, Thrive” Program.  There are countless webinars available at any given moment giving businesses the bald facts about what support is available through the survive phase of this crisis, but our program goes much further.  The webinars we are running in conjunction with award-winning business advisers Director’s Circle provide hugely valuable insights across all phases of this journey. However, we recognise that being a business leader can be a challenging and lonely place which is why each registered participant on the program is allocated a personal coach from Whittingham Riddell.  The role of the coach is to act as a sounding board for the participant over the whole program, answering questions and providing ideas and guidance in applying the concepts set out in the webinar series to the participants business in a practical and meaningful way.
 
We have already run the Survive and Adapt parts of the program and have been delighted with the positive reactions from participants.  The depth and quality of the conversations which have taken place between participants and their coaches show there is a huge demand for this sort of one to one support from businesses of all sizes. The final webinar of the program – the “thrive” stage – is running on Thursday 21 May at 1.00 pm.  It is not too late to register, and registration gives you access to recordings of the first two webinars in the series, all of the supporting material and allows you to be allocated your personal coach.  Full details can be found here.
 
The time to act is now – the businesses which succeed in taking advantage of the opportunities that the post-Coronavirus upturn will surely bring will be those who are laying their plans now and are ready to act as soon as the lockdown is lifted.
 

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