Keeping Strong Checklist

The spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) is impacting businesses across Lancashire. As part of the #AskForHelp campaign, we have created a handy business planning to-do list to help businesses manage the impact of the situation.

1. Remote working

Are staff connected? Are they using new tools competently? Have they got the right IT kit and how are they adjusting when working from home, often with other family members? These are new ways of working which take adjustment – are your people okay?

2. Financial support

Ensure you are aware of all the support available to your business, including Business Rates relief, Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and other government grants. Cashflow is crucial, if needed speak with your bank and revisit terms with suppliers and customers. Can payments be pushed back and can income be brought forward? Keep a regular check on the government web portal for up to date support information – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses

3. Furloughed staff/job retention scheme

Make sure you are keeping regular contact and communicating in the right way. Are you familiar with the application process and have you got all the information you need? Importantly, check on employees’ health and wellbeing. The date for applications via the government web portal has not yet been given so keep a regular check on the link above for up to date information.

4. Regaining lost sales

Check your inventory for stock that could be sold in a different way, moved online or bundled with other items to make a stronger proposition. Your customers may be more settled now and in a better position to buy.

5. Diversify, find new markets and make new alliances

Where can you change what you make or sell to meet a different demand? Can you sell to a new market in a new digital way? Explore who could work with you to share ideas, production, skills or materials that would raise your mutual sales and refresh each others’ brands. You may find partnering with a former competitor can help you both.

6. Skills

Do you have a skills shortage or skills to share? Now we are adjusting to the impact of coronavirus on businesses, your skills needs may have changed rapidly and there is support to help. Contact Lancashire Skills Hub to discuss your need – https://www.lancashireskillshub.co.uk/coronavirus-covid-19-updates/

7. Keeping connected securely

Ensure your business can function well with IT, communications and systems providing staff working remotely full capability and functionality. You should be aware of increased cyber security risks and protect your systems and data from breaches. Look out for scam sites and ensure you have protection in place. The National Cyber Security Centre produces a weekly update that can help – https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/news/cyber-experts-step-criminals-exploit-coronavirus

8. Check on your health

Dealing with forced change can feel like loss of control. Being in business can be lonely, physical and mental health needs to checked on. Are you sharing worries and have you someone to speak to? Our #AskForHelp web portal has support links and there are fantastic national and local providers too – use them.

9. Keep positive and innovate

Who are the thinkers and idea generators for your business or wider network? Your staff may be a big asset here. Where you see a challenge, they will see an opportunity. Invite fresh eyes to suggest opportunities for your business to diversify how you trade. Seek out examples of positive thinkers and keep setting regular achievable goals too. Also, consider scenario planning to build a strategy to take you forward.

10. You’re not alone in this

Everyone is facing unprecedented challenges so reach out to your Boost business advisor, accountant, fellow business owners, suppliers, customers and keep in contact, share ideas and concerns, engage on social media and, most importantly, focus on your own health and wellbeing. https://www.boostbusinesslancashire.co.uk/askforhelp

Download the Keeping Strong Checklist here.

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