Coronavirus (Covid-19): A Week on in Business
Updated: Mar 24
It is exactly one week since I posted our article: Coronavirus (Covid-19) A Small Business Perspective. Suffice to say, a lot has changed in that week! I spelled out a bleak picture last week, one that has thankfully been recognised across the board. The government announced various schemes last week to help businesses and particularly SMEs. It is no exaggeration to say that many tens of thousands of businesses were in serious danger of failing without those measures. Small businesses operate in a very tough environment and it was a welcome relief to hear that we are not alone in all of this.
From our point of view, the help from the government is critical to the survival of the business if (as seems likely) this crisis lasts for many weeks. A grant of £10,000, deferment of our VAT payment to free up cashflow and a grant to cover up to 80% of salaries are a massive boost to us at a very difficult time.
As a business, we developed a plan to get through the Coronavirus crisis. The core ethos of that plan being DO NOT PANIC. I made the decision, even before the government intervention, to do everything I could to protect the jobs of all of our team. My plan did involve the taking of unpaid leave, which should now be avoided thanks to the government scheme. Unfortunately, many people have already lost their jobs. Hopefully some companies will be able to reverse those decisions.
We deliver a lot of wine/beer. This work has obviously been severely affected in recent weeks and indeed, will now cease completely following the closing of all bars and restaurants etc. We also deliver a lot to schools, so that work will also cease. I am however optimistic that other opportunities will present themselves and we remain open for business. We have spare capacity available, as much of our regular work has now stopped. I do suspect that a full lockdown is not too far away and we may even see all but essential services closed down. These however, are my personal opinion and not based on any commercial factors that I am seeing. The next week or so will certainly be interesting.
One thing I have noticed in the past week, is a sense of the SME business community pulling together. I have witnessed some great initiatives, such as free work from home policies and discounted home office furniture. Great ideas and no doubt very much welcomed by those in need. This spirit of helping and initiative being shown, along with the government intervention has been a very much needed shot in the arm. I am very optimistic that we will come through the other side of this and be even stronger. Until then, we are all learning as we go along at the moment.
That is all from me for now. Please follow the advise being given and stay safe.
Edit 24.03.20: Well, I was correct about some form of lockdown being not too far away. We remain open for essential deliveries, so please contact us if you feel that we can help you out in any way. This applies to new customers, as well as existing. We are experienced medical and pharmaceutical couriers. Please stay safe everyone.