10 things you should consider when facing temporary closure of your business because of COVID-19

1. Don’t bury your head!
These are unprecedented times and there are many businesses in the same position as you, doing nothing is only going to make things worse.  Taking sensible steps and following good advice will help you find your way through this time of uncertainty.  Speak to one of our expert team members about steps you can take.

2. Look out for a letter from the local authority about the new grants
The government has announced a number of measures to help businesses who pay rates or claim small business rates relief/rural rate relief.  These include grants of £10,000 (All businesses) and £25,000 (if you are in the Leisure, retail and hospitality sector).  If you think these may apply one of our expert team can explain these further or contact the grant helpline at businessgrantfunds@beis.gov.uk.  Businesses in the Leisure, retail and hospitality sector will also get a rates holiday for 2020-21.

 3. Defer your tax liabilities with HMRC
HMRC have set up a dedicated helpline to speak to businesses and the self employed to delay their tax bills.  You can contact them on 0800 0159 559.  They will help with deferring your liabilities, stopping collections and cancelling penalties and interest.  HMRC have also offered automatic deferrals of VAT and income tax, you don’t need to apply for these.  VAT payments due between 20 March and 30 June 2020 are now deferred until the end of the tax year, Income Tax payments usually due in July 2020 are now due by January 2021.

 4. Your suppliers will help you if your talk to them
Your suppliers will be expecting you to contact them and will be willing to work with you to be paid over-time as long as you are communicating with them, if they hear nothing they will fear the worse leading them to take action.

5. Talk to your employees and claim the CoronaVirus Job Retention Grant
Your employees will be as worried as you and will be looking to you for leadership.  Depending on the length of time the business is closed will ultimately depend on the fate of your employees and ultimately your business.  However you have probably spent time training your team and ideally you will want keep them instead of in the future needing to train new employees.  The Government have now given you the option of furloughing your employees where there is no work for them and claiming a grant of 80% of their wage costs.   You should also take advice from a HR or Employment lawyer as you will need to communicate this to your employee in line with their employment contract.

6. Landlord may pass on their mortgage holiday
Your next biggest cost after your rates and employees is likely to be your rent.  Landlords have been given support by the government through the mortgage lenders and the landlords maybe willing to pass this on to you.  They may give you a rent-free period or defer the rent for a number of months which they will ask you to pay once your back open or alternatively extend the rental period.

 7. Apply for finance sooner rather than later
The government has announced a support package that includes CoronaVirus Business Interruption Loans Scheme, applying for this as soon as possible will enable you to build a business plan with certainty, it will also enable you to negotiate with your creditors.  Contact your trading bank for their criteria. Our expert team are on hand to help you prepare the accounts and forecasts needed for a successful application.

8. Be innovative
Out of the box thinking – when you back is against the wall it often delivers the best ideas, out adversity comes light! Think of new ways to get your product or services to your clients, your clients will want to stay loyal and support you in times of adversity.

9. Use your down time wisely
Use the time while your business is closed to make sure when your business is back open it is ready to bounce back.  Look critically at your current business its operation,  processes and systems, its current strategy and how these can be improved.  Also, this is a great time to upskill personally with self-investment. Become stronger!

10. Contact your professional team
Take advice from your professional team, your accountant, solicitor and bank maybe willing to give you some free advice especially if you have been a client for some time.  At Sempar we are supporting all our existing clients through this time with regular updates, webinars, phone calls and emails.  If you are not a client but think you would benefit from our approach then please get in touch on 0330 2233660.