The Coronavirus outbreak has left many small business owners facing a challenge like no other. In what is an uncertain time for many nijobfinder looks at what small businesses can do to try and survive during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Check what financial help you are entitled to
Under the Small Business Grant Scheme the Northern Ireland Executive is providing one-off grants to small businesses to help them to meet their ongoing business costs. A grant of £10,000 will be paid to small businesses that already pay reduced business rates because of Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR). SBRR is automatically applied to business properties with a rateable value below £15,000, though some exclusions apply.
The Finance Minister, Conor Murphy also announced in the 2020/21 budget that £100million of the £912million additional Covid-19 funding available to the Executive has been allocated to a three-month rates holiday for all businesses.
In addition the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) will give businesses access to loans, overdrafts and other finance solutions to help weather this crisis. It may also be worth calling the HMRC helpline to discuss delaying tax payments in order to help with cash flow.
For more advice on available funding visit, GOV.UK.
While it may not be feasible for all, taking your business online could help to retain customers – and cash flow – in the interim. Personal trainers and yoga instructors have tapped into this trend, holding live classes for existing members and encouraging new ones to sign up. If you have a bricks and mortar shop consider setting up an online store to sell your goods. eBay can be a good short term solution for businesses as can existing social media channels such as Facebook or Instagram.
Perhaps you have a teachable skill that people could benefit from at this time – host an event or tutorial via zoom or Facebook Live.
Pay it Forward
Restaurants, hair and beauty salons, hotels, cafes and pubs have been hit hard by this crisis but these businesses often have the most loyal customers. Encourage your existing client base to support you through this time by buying gift vouchers – perhaps at a reduced rate – to then be used when things return to normal. Crowdfunder and Enterprise Nation have set up the Pay it Forward campaign to help support these businesses in current times, visit Crowdfunder for details.
Where possible support your local community as these are the people who will support your business when the crisis is over. Local fashion designers have turned their hands to making scrubs for healthcare workers, gin distillers have been making hand sanitiser and many marketing companies have been offering free advice; is there a way in which your business can be of help in a charitable capacity?
This Too Shall Pass
As bleak as things may seem now try to use the time you have constructively. Not only will keeping yourself busy help to relieve boredom but it will also ease stress and put you in a more positive frame of mind.
Accept that what is currently happening is out of your control and instead switch your thinking to what you will do when this passes. Use the time you have now to devise a post COVID-19 marketing strategy, improve your brand’s digital or social media presence and think of new product or business ideas to drive your company forward.
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