Way forward

To say that SMEs are a vital component in UK’s post-COVID19 economic recovery, would be an understatement.

According to Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) statistics, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) provide nearly 17 million people with employment and account for around half of turnover in the UK private sector.

Understanding the key challenges and knowing the potential solutions can help in two ways. Firstly, it can help bring business stability and secure going concern status for SMEs. Secondly, by adapting to the new normal post-COVID19 can help SMEs thrive by unlocking new opportunities.

Cash burn

A review of cashflow is essential. Particular attention on contractual subscription and standing order items should be paid. Can these be deferred or even cancelled if not needed anymore? There are always various small expenses which can be saved, all adding up to make a bigger saving.

Securing finance for growth

Seeking additional finance can be done is two ways, either opting for one of the various government support schemes or seeking non-government funding through investors.

Perhaps this may be the first time your business looks at private investors (or angle investors) rather than banking institutions for securing finance. Be prepared to discuss equity shares when seeking this kind of finance.

Customer footfall

While physical customer footfall may remain somewhat damped down for a while, look at developing the online footfall for your products and services. Indeed, consider how you can convert service offering to an online version.

Clearly this may require additional marketing and social media activity. However, do not fall into the allure of paid advertising on social media. For SMEs the most effective option is to develop robust organic online following. There are a number of ways in which SMEs can do this.

Employee welfare

Everyone has had to adapt to how we live and work and so central to any post-COVID19 business recovery will be employee welfare. Adapting the workplace and remote working processes can greatly help ensure both the physical and mental welfare of employees.

Reaching further and wider

Often SMEs can rely on a small but stable local customer and supplier base. Post-COVID19 it may be necessary to reach out to new customers and suppliers to ensure business continuity. More investment into good old tried and tested face-to-face relationship building may be required but done virtually via video calls.