The effects of the coronavirus pandemic on some sectors of business (particularly retail and hospitality/travel) has been huge. However, the UK government has come up with several schemes and state aid packages to support business in this difficult time. Some of these schemes are as follows:
Employee Cover- You claim for your employees' wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Staff can be furloughed temporarily at 80% of their salary. You can also claim back Statutory Sick Pay related to the coronavirus outbreak.
Self Employed - For the self-employed, they can defer self-assessment payments. This can be helpful if you think you will be struggling to pay your next tax bill. Plus, there is an income support scheme available for some self-employed individuals.
Retail, hospitality, and leisure grant fund - There is a business rates relief scheme because of coronavirus (COVID-19) if your business is in the retail, hospitality or is a leisure business in England only. There is different guidance for eligible business in Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. Local authorities will deal with these payments automatically.
Defer your VAT payments - Another option that is open is to defer VAT payments. This can help provide you with a little extra cash flow, just when you need it.
Business support grant funding scheme - This scheme is just available in England, and details of which can be found on the Gov.uk web site as can details of all their support schemes designed to help businesses.
Business Interruption Loan Scheme - this is available for both small and large businesses. You will need to check whether you are eligible for this. You may also wish to discuss taking out a loan with your bank. Currently the banks in the UK are trying to be more flexible in terms of what services they offer businesses. If you require short term support, then either of these might be an option to explore further.
Schemes such as the small business grant fund can help you keep your business afloat in these times at least in the short term. In addition to this another area to investigate is charities, industry bodies and other organizations out there that are supporting specific industries, such as the creative sector.
However, for some businesses and start-ups which might not fit the eligibility criteria of the government schemes, then other options need to be investigated. Even for businesses that do meet the criteria for support, more is often needed to keep the business viable. Small business grants from the UK government can only provide a certain amount of financial support to UK business owners and there are other ways your business can raise capital too.
Another option to consider is to join forces with an Angel Investor to help support your business financially. Angel investors obviously won't invest in just any business, you will need to prove that you have a sound business idea, or if you are a start-up, have figures and research to show what the current and future prospects are for a financial return. Ultimately, if you do decide to go down the angel investment route you will need to give up some equity in your business and guarantee a certain amount of return.
The benefits of partnering with an Angel Investor is not just one based on a financial injection into your business, if you pick the right investor, they will also provide support and advice to you. Often, an Angel Investor will be very experienced in the marketplace that they are investing in and can open the door to new contact and new business opportunities to you that were not otherwise available. Remember that Angel Investors are financially invested in the projects and start-ups that they invest in so are keen that you make a success of your venture since it is also in their own best interest.
It is not easy running a small business in the current market, but there are a few government schemes and grant funding that can help you in the short term. However, the Angel Investment Network can also be especially useful in this time since you can make vital contacts with experienced Angel Investors. Many investors are looking to invest in businesses for the long term and if you have a sound business idea then you may find the business support and financial help you need.