In my past life as an insurance broker, we had many clients who had serious incidents which closed their business for long periods of time and we had to handle their business interruption claims as they repaired their premises and re-built trade.
The only difference in this situation, is it is that it is the majority of businesses facing and dealing with the same challenge at the same time, as opposed to just the unlucky few, but the principle of getting through this period is going to be the same.
We need to survive the here and now, but we also need to work on the recovery process, because you need to be prepared for when the world starts spinning again. In an insurance context many businesses fail after a serious incident, not because the insurer did not pay out, but because there was not enough thought put into the business continuity process, before and after things went wrong. SME businesses need to prepare now for the journey back.
In my new life of business coaching, helping new ventures and SME businesses develop and grow, my advice on getting through this challenge is to look at it as if you have just suffered a traditional business interruption incident. What would you do under these circumstances to keep your business alive in the short term and longer term? How would you be communicating with your customers and staff on the steps you were taking to get through the crisis. What else can you and your team do in this fallow time to work on your business, so you are ready to hit the accelerator when you can open your doors again. What will drive growth and opportunity and how do you prepare so you can deliver it.
Very few insurance policies will cover this event so for financial survival you need to look at the government initiatives as your insurer and engage with all these potential solutions. We know from the press that many of the banks are not responding to the crisis as we hoped but banks are rarely a business friend in a crisis, but there are alternatives in the funding platforms. In my view, the best option for SME businesses to access cash and funding support is not the high street banks but the funding platforms which evolved from the last financial crisis. After this bank led recession, several funding platforms evolved where challenger banks, crowd and institutional lenders all compete for business. The platform does the work for you matching your business to the lenders most likely to suit your business.
In this current crisis these platform lenders will all have access to the government backed Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) too as well as their own funds so you may have different and more options than you thought.
These platforms are licenced by the British Business Bank and are likely to give you a faster response with more options. The link to the platform we work with is https://startup4ten.funderfinder.co.uk/ and you can use it to assess your options.
Craig Eason is the founder of Startup4ten® a business accelerator and coaching company. The team provides advice, support and on-line coaching to new ventures and SME businesses. For more information go to www.startup4ten.co.uk
If you have any questions or need any advice during this difficult time, feel free to send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org .