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My Strategy For Surviving Coronavirus
By Barrie Smale, director of I2L Ltd t/as Inspired2learn which is a training & development specialising in CMI management & leadership qualifications and ILM coaching & mentoring qualifications. We also do executive coaching and coach supervision.
When did you realise the Coronavirus could be a problem for you and your business?
When the social distancing advice started we knew we would be unable to continue with face to face training and coaching with clients. We had our first cancellations in the week or so prior to the lockdown announcement.
What has been your plan to continue?
Our first priority is to continue servicing the needs of our existing clients. Our distance learning programmes have always been on-line so that will be business as usual. We have also been able, to an extent, to move some of our usual face to face work on-line. This is not always a suitable replacement or wanted by all clients.
We are planning is to continue trading for as long as possible. To do this, as directors we continue to work hard every day on all aspects of the business.
We cannot do this alone though. In order that we can continue to operate, we have mostly (not entirely) kept our supply chain in place with minimal cutbacks. This includes our freelance associates and various contractors for marketing, IT support etc.
We are realistic. We do B2B and B2C and anticipate new business will now be extremely hard to acquire due to the uncertain economic climate we will all be experiencing over the coming year and beyond. The downturn in new business is already very real for us, as it is for so many businesses.
With no specific government support on offer for Ltd companies such as us, we will be able to continue this strategy for as long as our cash reserve lasts. We will probably have to take advantage of the option to defer VAT and tax on account payments ordinarily due in May and July respectively. We will also probably have to use the upper limit of our overdraft facility for as long as the bank allow this.
Beyond this, we will be reluctant to accrue any further debt, so we are busy carefully managing cashflow, monitoring risks and contingency planning for various scenarios should we need to change direction.
What advice would you give to others in business?
Focus on the future as well as getting through the present. If we survive, it will be important that we have kept our brand and good reputation intact. We don’t know what the end of this is going to look like, or when the end will be. The ‘end’ will almost certainly be the start of a prolonged difficult trading environment. We will need to be remembered as a company who continued to treat people well during the really tough times.
What can we do to help each other?
Listening helps a lot. We don’t always have to offer a solution to be helpful. If someone just wants to give vent to a fellow business person, that can be a useful thing.
Your parting thought?
For many years in countless tender bids, we have regularly been required to answer what our business continuity plan is, and how we test it. At the end of this period I will have learned a lot about the reality of this and the resilience of our company and myself.
For more information please visit https://www.inspired2learn.co.uk/