03 Apr 2020 Finding Business Support During Covid-19
Having spoken with many clients over these past few weeks, we understand that these are troubling times. Everyone is being hit hard by the current Covid-19 epidemic, regardless of what sector your business falls under. Having done our own research on various funding options for businesses. We’ve found ourselves in the position where there’s an overwhelming amount of information out there. Yet it’s hard to access it all in the one place. So we wanted to put together a blog post to act as a business support guide. Collating everything in a single consolidated source that can help all businesses/organisations.
As this is a long blog post with lots of content, we’ve included a quick access menu below. Just click each link to jump to the relevant section.
In House Business Support Ideas
Coronavirus Business Funding
Coronavirus Business Support
Government Funding Initiatives
Funding For Charities
Contact Your Local Councillor
List of Application Forms
Throughout this blog post you’ll find some options that may be available to support your business through this difficult time. Although this might not be a fully conclusive list, it’s what we’ve found so far, and will hopefully be a starting point. We’ll continue to update this guide ongoing when we come across new ideas or funding options that may prove useful.
In-House Business Support Ideas
Pay It Forward Campaign
Set up a pay it forward campaign with your client base. This would include asking your clients to pay upfront for services. So ones that they’re booking for at time when your business is able to operate again. This would be particularly useful for service based businesses. You could also launch a gift voucher scheme. Allowing clients to buy gift vouchers for services that will be available when you’re able to trade again as normal.
Life is still going on, albeit behind closed doors. Your customers are still looking to buy birthday gifts for their loved ones…even if they can’t physically be present. Maybe a voucher could be the perfect gift. That not only helps their favourite local business. But also is something useful for a friend or loved one to benefit from, once the lock down is over. This will bring more money into your bank account now. Allowing you to pay those outgoing bills that are draining your company accounts.
People are looking for ways to come together as a community at the moment and support each other. So why not let them support you.
Cut Business Costs Where Possible
Although we’re sure the majority of business costs going out are accounted for. There are likely many subscriptions and other, small costs. Coming out your account on a monthly basis that are adding up, without you even realising. With a bit more time on your hands, why not use this to really scrutinise your bank statements. Seeing if there are any areas for quick wins to save a few bucks. You might be surprised to see that there’s money going out the door each month where you could make savings.
There are many areas where this can be done. Looking for cost savings where possible is the obvious solution. Particularly at a time where so many energy suppliers and other service providers are offering massive discounts on changing your services. It might even be worth asking your regular suppliers for a discount on their services, or a payment deferral. Many will be glad to offer these options if it means they won’t lose you as a customer.
Offer A Discount
Why not offer your clients a discount for paying their invoices early? This could be another useful way to increase the money coming into your company bank account at a time when you’re unable to trade. It will not only allow you to pay the necessary bills, but it will also benefit your clients. Keeping you front of mind when life ‘goes back to normal.’
Contact Business Gateway
This week we got in touch with our local Business Gateway office via email contact form on their website. We were pleasantly surprised by the rapid response time and helpful advisers that greeted us within 24 hours of our initial enquiry. They were able to send us various options and talk about the best ones to suit our business position. So we’d definitely recommend reaching out to them. They provided a list of useful resources which we’ve added to this blog post.
Aside from this, it can be good to check in with a Business Gateway adviser, at a time when business as we know it is changing for everyone. They may be able to offer suggestions on how to improve your business strategy moving forward. Perhaps you’re a small business who realises that the new home working environment is a lot more productive, and cost effective than the monthly overheads of an office. These business advisers will be a sounding board for your ideas and gives you points to consider to help your business grow more effectively.
As a side not, we created a blog post last month with top tips on working from home. It might be helpful and provide some useful ideas for you to implement.
Coronavirus Business Funding
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme:
The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) provides financial support to smaller businesses (SMEs) across the UK that are losing revenue, and seeing their cashflow disrupted, as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The scheme is a part of a wider package of government support for UK businesses and employees. You can find out how to apply for this and also a list of all banks that are participating and their policies on the link below which will take you to the British Business Bank website.
Business Support Fund:
Certain businesses may be eligible for a one-off grant aimed at helping to: Protect jobs, Prevent business closure, and Promote economic recovery. Ratepayers must have been in occupation of the non-domestic property as at 17 March 2020.
Find out more about what’s available through this fund on this Edinburgh Council website.
Small Business Help Package
The Scottish government has announced that they will be launching a scheme to provide additional support for the needs of small businesses and the self employed who weren’t previously supported in care packages that were launched initially.
The £220 million package includes specific help for the newly self-employed; smaller chains; businesses with acute short term cash-flow problems and for other firms excluded from existing help. This offering delivers small business grants in the region of £2000 delivered by local authorities. Business rates relief and financing for those in the creative, tourism and hospitality sectors. As well as an enterprise resilience fund.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme:
All UK wide employers with a PAYE scheme will be eligible – this includes the public sector, local authorities and charities. The 80% reimbursement will cover the cost of wages back dated to 1 March 2020. Although it’s initially open for three months, it will be extended if necessary. The government expect the first grants to be paid within the next few weeks. While they’re aiming to have it done before the end of April. HMRC will set out more details shortly. This will be applicable for employees who have been put on temporary leave (‘furlough’) due to the coronavirus epidemic.
Updates to the job retention scheme were published on 23rd April 2020. You can see these updates here – Job Retention Scheme Updates
Coronavirus Business Support
HMRC Self-Assessment Payment Deferral:
You don’t need to be self-employed to be eligible. You are eligible if you are due to pay your second self-assessment payment on account by 31 July. Although this is an automatic offer with no application required, it is an optional deferment. Anybody still able to pay their second payment on account on 31 July 2020, should do so. If you aren’t able to pay, you should contact HMRC to inform them of this. Also ensuring you have cancelled any direct debits that may be set up, or the funds will automatically be taken from your account. There is also the ability to defer corporation tax payments, however the same process applies.
Self-Employment Income Support Scheme:
Announced by Chancellor 26th March. The scheme will provide a grant to self-employed individuals or partnerships. Worth 80% of their profits up to a cap of £2,500 per month. HMRC will use existing information to check potential eligibility and invite applications once the scheme is operational. Individuals should not contact HMRC just now in relation to this scheme until further information has been released.
Federation of Small Businesses (FSB):
Another place to look for support for your businesses during Covid-19 is the FSB. You can join as a member for one-to-one business support and advice. Or if you’re not a member, their website also acts as a great resource with a tonne of valuable information that you may find helpful. We’ve joined several free online webinars this week which have been extremely useful in providing up to date coronavirus support and guidance.
Government Funding Initiatives
Funding for the creative sector under Creative Scotland:
There are several different options available for funding for creative businesses in Scotland. All of these can be accessed and applied for via the Creative Scotland website. These include bridging bursaries for both creative and screen related businesses. As well as an Open Fund for sustaining creative development in Scotland.
The Future Fund
The government has announced a new £1.25bn scheme to help innovative firms survive the Coronavirus pandemic.
The package is made up of a £500 million investment fund for high-growth companies impacted by the crisis, made up of funding from government and the private sector, called the Future Fund. As well as a £750 million of grants and loans for SMEs focusing on research and development.
The £500 million Future Fund will be delivered in partnership with the British Business Bank and launched in May. The loans will provide between £125k and £5m from the government, with private investors at least matching the government commitment. These loans will automatically convert into equity on the company’s next qualifying funding round, or at the end of the loan if they are not repaid. Qualifying businesses must be an unlisted UK registered company that has raised at least £250k in equity investment in the past five years. The government is committing £250 million in funding towards the scheme, which will initially be open until the end of September.
Funding For Charities
Third Sector Resilience Fund:
The Third Sector Resilience Fund (TSRF) is a £20m emergency fund. For charities, community groups, social enterprises and voluntary organisations working in Scotland. The fund supports organisations that already deliver services and products. Finding themselves in financial difficulties directly as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The primary intention of the fund is to help third sector organisations to stabilise and manage cash flows over this difficult period.
It’s worth researching online if there are any grants that you’re eligible to apply for that are not coronavirus specific. There will likely be much less demand for these grants during this time. Organisations such as The Princes Trust for example provide grants to businesses. As well as many other organisations. Do your research online. We’ve listed one that we’re aware of below that might be beneficial to many of our clients. However grants are classed as income, therefor you will need to factor in that these are taxable. So best not to apply for these unless they are necessary.
Digital Development Fund:
The Digital Development Loan has been created by the Scottish Government. Providing loans to companies who wish to improve their digital capabilities and processes. In areas such as cyber security, data analytics and software engineering. This loan could allow you to develop your business. Moving towards an online system that takes away many of the overheads of having a bricks and mortar business. Allowing you to future proof your business operations. Protecting the longevity of your business going forward.
150 Small Business Grants for UK Businesses:
We found a great article on smallbusiness.co.uk which lists 150 UK business grants that are available to apply for right now. These cover a diverse range of sectors, from environmental grants to broadband and tax relief grants. Although many of these are for England. There is a list of some that are available for Scottish businesses towards the bottom of the post.
Contact Your Local Councillor
It may be worthwhile reaching out to your local councillor. Particularly if you’re finding yourself in a position where the options don’t apply to your business needs. For example, we’ve found that there are much fewer options for support for a limited company than there are for some others. Therefore, making your local councillor aware of your situation will bring to light any holes in government support packages. Allowing them to issue new offerings for businesses that perhaps fall down the cracks for the funding that’s already been announced.
List Of Application Forms
For the skim readers, here’s a list of application forms that are available for some of the services we’ve outlined within this post. However some of the funding and grants don’t yet have an application form available. So check back as we’ll be adding these in as and when they do become available.
Edinburgh Council Coronavirus Business Support Fund – Apply Now
Business Interruption Loan Scheme – Available Lenders
Third Sector Resilience Fund For Charities – Apply Now
Creative Scotland bridging bursary for freelance or self-employed screen practitioners – Apply Now
Creative Scotland Open Fund Sustaining Creative Development – Apply Now
Business Support During Coronavirus
Hopefully this post has outlined a few ideas that could be useful. Helping your business navigate some of the financial challenges of the Covid-19 epidemic. Allowing you to find some business support for your company or organisation during this difficult time.
With countless funding sources out there, it’s a case of sifting through them. Finding the ones that best apply to your business situation. So hopefully this blog post is a starting point to help you on your way. You can also use this Coronavirus Support Finder on the HMRC website to find other possible funding sources which we may have not already covered that are specific to your business or sector.
We’ll continue to add to this list as and when we come across new funding measures. Please feel free to share this blog post with anyone who you think may benefit from the information.
We’d like to reassure you that despite the Covid-19 outbreak, business remains as normal here at Primal Space. We’ve been helping many of our clients over the past few weeks. Updating their existing websites with Coronavirus related pop ups, pages and blog posts through our website maintenance service. Please contact us if we can help you by providing digital services for your business or charity.
Got any of your own ideas that we can add to this post to help others? Let us know, we’d love to hear from you.