Three things to remember which can help.
2020 has seen an unprecedented amount of changes within businesses, and for people within these businesses. Hopefully many of you will have weighed up your options back in the first half of last year, and are able to put plans in place to help you manage changes in service delivery and employment due to lockdowns.
Now however, we have seen at least two full lockdowns and plenty of partial lockdowns, and as an advisor one thing I have seen developing is fatigue due to the constant adaptation to the new circumstances, and now of course we have the effects of ‘Brexit’ and the new budget with all that they entail.
The big question I am being asked now, is what next? I think that we all have had so much thrown at us, no matter our circumstances, that we have got a little punch drunk, we are still standing, but we are not sure how many more punches we can take!
I understand it, as I have lived through business disruptions in my own past and like many I can see what is happening and why. So hopefully these pointers can help if you think you cannot see the way forward after being closed for a while, or if business has been tough despite the grants and loans and other assistance you may or may have been able to apply for.
1. You always have more time than you think you do
This is always helpful advice when you are rushing decisions because you are under time limitations. You can always ask for more time, with banks, landlords and the HMRC and other creditors, right now they are all going to try and help obtain the right results, and if you are feeling bullied into making a decision say so and explain you need more time.
If you do not feel you have enough clout to tell them yourself, then ask for help, we are all here to help you, whether you call your accountant, consultant, solicitor or other advisor, usually if I am presented with an issue which needs specialist help, I shall have a connection who I know will be able to help.
2. You have more choices than you think you do
Only someone outside of your situation looking in, will be able to give an objective point of view. Often business owners think that their situation is unique, complex and difficult due to intercompany dynamics, but to someone who knows your type of business, and who can see the characters involved may come up with answers and options which you may never have thought of.
The current post Brexit climate has made the import and export of certain goods from the EU problematic, but as we deal with increased paperwork and hindrances to trade in this area we may find that opportunities outside of the EU open up become easier, or that by changing what you do slightly, you can optimise an opportunity elsewhere.
It is always worth having that conversation with someone about these opportunities, what they are and where they are and do you want to pursue them.
3. Take time out – away from the desk
This sounds both obvious and hard to do, but often it is essential. In the past I have made my best decisions when away from the day to day business in my office and able to think about things clearly. Sometimes it helps to talk out loud about the dilemma, either with someone else, or to yourself!
You can be walking the dog, driving your car or even doing your morning run, my daughter often talks to me whilst on a run (she is so fit she can talk and run – I would find it hard to breath!), and by the time she has completed it, she has gone through her options in her head whilst telling me and come up with a solution almost completely by herself.
Communication is key
All three of the pointers described above have one thing in common and that is communication, one thing I always encourage with my clients is that whatever their issue is, they talk it out with me so that we can find a solution together.
Now that we know the lockdowns are beginning to be phased out and as the first anniversary of the CBIL and Bounce Back loans is now months away, new issues of opening up to the public again and balancing repayment plans are probably playing on many people’s minds. This is to be expected and after treading water for so long under lockdown, trying to get back to some kind of ‘normal’ may seem like a mountain to climb.
But if this is the case with you, remember the three points listed and remember that above all, we are here to help, all you need to do is ask.
Ella M Doherty FCCA
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