The simple answer is Plan
When your world is turned upside down, and you find yourself in difficulties, it might be because you haven’t anticipated the worst.
Why would you have a Plan?
The business was going well, or maybe not as well as you hoped, which means you either didn’t need a plan or didn’t have the time or resources to spend on planning for the what if’s & buts.
If nothing else positive comes out of this, then it might make us understand that effective planning should be an essential part of any business.
The most important thing to remember is this will pass. You will recover and the world will return to normal. If anything, we’ll all be a little wiser.
Here is a list of things to consider starting with the most important-cash flow.
Every week I will expand on one of the other 10 commandments of Business Contingency Planning.
“Good tactics can save even the worst strategy. Bad tactics will destroy even the best strategy.”
Cash flow is king– Start by reviewing budgets and adjusting your cashflow. Both for your business & your personal finances. Make the easy cuts first, and focus on achieving clarity around your budgets.
In small businesses the first thing that is delegated is the books, you hire a bookkeeper or accountant, or worse still get a member of your family to do the books. This delegation soon becomes abdication, and you no longer have your finger on the pulse of the business.
This is your opportunity to get close up and personal with the ebb and flow of monies into and out of the business. Get familiar with your financial software, or use a spreadsheet, because when you need to borrow and most of us probably will. Knowing what is required to stay afloat puts you in a position many other businesses simply will not be in.
Think about it for a second……..would you lend money to a business that doesn’t know what it’s fixed costs, variable costs, liabilities and projected cash flows are for the next day, week, month or year?
Find out what help is available, pennies are not going rain from the heavens, but the Government is putting in place measures to help businesses, employees and the self-employed.
Make it your business to know what you are entitled too, what the best solution is for your circumstances. Don’t assume what others are doing is the best thing for you. Get professional advice, now is the time when you find out if you hired the right accountant for your business.
Use the links on the Automotive Support Group Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/automotivesupportgroup/files/
’Expect the best but plan for the worst’
Some Advice from the banks
Should Companies need working capital to support them through the current crisis, which may be via an Overdraft or a Term Loan with their existing Bank, outlined below the initial steps that you should follow:
- Contact your landlord with a view to stopping your current rent payments (if this applies)
- Consider the support available from HMRC via Business Rates rebates http://www.gov.uk/correct-your-business-rates
- Review the support from HMRC for staff wages www.gov.uk/…/guidance-to-e…/covid-19-support-for-businesses…
- Check the Government website for the latest advice to business owners www.gov.uk/…/guidance-to-em…/covid-19-support-for-businesses
- Establish if you are potentially eligible for the CBIL scheme – please note the government-backed scheme is only available to businesses that do not currently have or are unable to offer/grant any suitable security for the proposed new lending
Once you have reviewed the information detailed above then the next steps will be to consider what support you require from your bank in terms of the overall amount you wish to borrow.
To assist them assessing your funding requirement they will need some additional information/supporting documents that are detailed below:
- A cash flow forecast based on the net monthly costs for your business and minimum drawings requirement for the next 6 months
- It is assumed, for most working capital requests, that providing 6 month net costs/drawings via any new the funding should be sufficient for the majority of client needs
- The Bank will need the last 3 years Accounts for your business
- Clarification on the points above regarding applying for any Government assistance for rates & wages, rent relief from landlords, any holidays on your existing loans/HP
- Provide some brief commentary regarding how your business has been impacted
- Any other information you feel will assist (i.e. recent business valuation reports)
- Amount required
The message is clear, you must have a plan, because if you don’t know where you are going you are unlikely to get there.
Once you have a Financial plan consider the following 10 points;
- Reset your goals– Re-examine your goals and plans for the year ahead. Instead of letting those previous plans linger and create a cloud of negativity, nip them in the bud right now. It’s okay to realise that the reality going forward might be different.
- Keep to a routine – Get up at the same time as you would for work. Start a diet, an exercise regime, start reading books, absorbing information and culture, even getting out there for a walk can help you to keep your day in shape, as well as your mental and physical wellbeing.
- Fill your calendar– Use your time creatively and productively. Take a step back from social media and the news, as it can turn any positives into negatives, and the world needs positives right now. Put some tasks and goals onto that calendar and get excited about achieving them!
- Practice gratitude – Focus on the good things you have: health, family and relationships.
- Look for the positives – There’s always something positive about any situation. Perhaps it’s more time with your kids? Perhaps it’s giving you the opportunity to work on something you’ve been wanting to devote yourself to for ages, but have never had the time?
- Review – Believe it or not, most businesses and people carry on regardless. They simply do not measure how effective what they are doing is. In sport, everything is monitored and reviewed and adjusted and tweaked for optimum performance.
- Be a leader– This is a time for leadership, whether it’s at work or in your home. People need strength, and someone to aspire to.
- See things for how they really are –The future is bright. You need to plan for that. People will travel again, and they will need their cars. Some of which will have been neglected, or left unused for a period of time. Perhaps you could use this time planning business models that are prepared for this, or even the future for personal mobility.
- Provide more value– Your customers need to see how valuable you can be. Look for the ways in which you can help, and which can add value to the people in your life.
- Define your Culture – What’s your WHY, is it reflected in everything you do, are you and your business a mirror of your personal values?
Each week I will expand on each of these in turn providing a framework to rebuild your automotive empire.