Expert Help for Small Businesses During the Coronavirus Crisis
As businesses are left reeling in the wake of the escalating coronavirus crisis, our expert advisers are here to help you every step of the way. We have a skilled team of business rescue professionals across over 70 offices across the whole of the UK; no matter where in the country you are based, and regardless of the problems you are currently facing, we are here to help. You can call us now for free advice on 0800 029 4074.
You can get further information about Covid-19 Business Support in our guide.
The travel sector was one of the first to suffer as the devastating virus spread across the globe. What followed was an unprecedented drop in bookings as holidaymakers stayed at home and business travel was all but curtailed in favour of remote meetings.
More recently, social distancing measures coupled with increased self-isolation means many within hospitality and leisure are experiencing a sharp decline in footfall as pubs, bars, and restaurants have been forced to close, while organised events are all but cancelled for the foreseeable future, having a devastating knock-on effect to caterers, entertainers, and the venues themselves.
No one knows for sure how long the situation will continue, however, what is clear is that for many businesses, things will never be quite the same again. We understand the distress this level of uncertainty can cause. We have an expert team comprised of some of the finest and more experienced business rescue and recovery professionals in the country, and we are here to help you and your business.
We can suggest and implement practical steps to ease cash flow constraints in the short-term, as well as putting plans in place to protect your company’s long-term prospects. Whether this is by negotiating with creditors, arranging a Time to Pay agreement with HMRC, or sourcing emergency funding, we have the skills and expertise to ensure your company is in the best position possible to ride out the storm.
Recovery may be a long process for some, but rest assured there are things that can be done right now to help and we are here to support and help your business through the challenging months ahead.
Here are some of the ways we can help.
- General professional business advice – Being in unchartered territory you may not be sure what sort of help you need, you just know you need help. We are here to provide you with support and guidance encompassing the full spectrum of business rescue, recovery, and finance options. Our business rescue experts can calmly talk you through the variety of routes open to you and your company and suggest the most appropriate steps forward. Once a plan has been decided, we will be with you every step of the way, guiding you and your company through this challenging time.
- Time to Pay arrangements and HMRC negotiation support – It was announced at the recent budget that the existing Time to Pay (TTP) scheme would be extended in light of the continuing crisis; this means more businesses would be given additional time to settle their HMRC obligations. A TTP arrangement is essentially a payment plan with HMRC that allows for outstanding tax to be paid off through a series of affordable instalments across a set period of time. This could be a lifeline to businesses whose cash flow is likely to be strained for the foreseeable future. Successful negotiation is key in these situations and you may feel more comfortable enlisting the assistance of a professional to enter into these discussions on your behalf. With years’ of experiencing dealing with HMRC we can facilitate the negotiations with HMRC giving you the best chance possible of securing a TTP arrangement, giving you one less thing to worry about.
- Raising additional finance –Many businesses will be in need of an injection of funds over the coming months as previously guaranteed income dries up yet outgoings and overheads remain constant. We can assist with a variety of additional finance options including invoice factoring and discounting, traditional high street loans, asset finance, as well as more niche lending alternatives. We understand time is of the essence in these situations and once the need for funding becomes apparent it is imperative this is actioned in a timely manner. Using our established network of lenders we can source this funding swiftly, getting much-needed funds into your company so they can be put to immediate use.
- Emergency funding via the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, Bounce Back Loans, or The Future Fund – Announced at the budget, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) temporarily replaces the existing Enterprise Finance Guarantee Scheme, and is designed to ease access to business funding. A variety of finance products are covered by the CBILS including traditional loans, overdrafts, asset and invoice finance, with both short- and long-term options available. Personal guarantees will not be required for loans up to £250,000 and they are interest free for the first 12 months. Our specialist business finance team can advise on the most appropriate funding channel for your specific needs - which may be through CBILS, a bounce back loan, or another finance channel - before sourcing competitive terms from across the lending arena.
- Assisting with debtor collections – It is understandable that many companies will be struggling at this time and it is likely some will fail to make good on outstanding invoices or money otherwise owed to your company; you should brace yourself for late payments and even the possibility of bad debt in some cases. Our debtor collection team is on hand to help in your relations with debtors and assist with the collection of late debts if they have the potential to turn bad. We can advise on recovering commercial debts even those you may have already written off as uncollectable. At a time where every penny matters more than ever, maximising your debt collection activities should be a priority.
- Personal guarantees and personal liability advice – Both limited company directors as well as sole traders could find themselves dealing with personal debt as business problems spill over into their personal life. Business owners may find themselves dipping into personal funds over the coming months in an effort to keep their company afloat. As a limited company director you may also find personal guarantees that you previously provided as security for an existing loan are called in if your company is not in a position to make the required payments. When you are doing your upmost to keep your company afloat financially, the last thing you need is your personal financial position being threatened.
- Company Restructuring – There may come a time when you need to consider undertaking a process of restructuring to your company in order to save the business as a whole. This may involve a reorganisation of its operating structure including closing down any unprofitable arms of the business. We can advise on a range of restructuring options from placing the company into administration while a strategy is formulated, or implementing a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) in order to restructure existing debts and liabilities while allowing the business to continue trading.
- Dealing with Winding up Petitions, County Court Judgments (CCJs) and Statutory Demands – As companies struggle with managing their cash flow and creditors grow increasingly anxious, there is likely to be an increase in the amount of Winding Up Petitions (WUPS), Statutory Demands, and County Court Judgments (CCJs) issued as companies turn to legal channels in order to recover money owed. If you are presented with such a claim, either against your company or against you personally, it is vital that swift action is taken to address the situation. The longer a WUP or CCJ remains outstanding, the more the risk to your company increases. There are ways of challenging such action; however, you need to move quickly. If you are presented with a WUP, Statutory Demand, or CCJ, you should make it a priority to seek expert advice as a matter of urgency.
- Creditor pressure – Everyone is on edge and will be getting nervous when an expected payment from a customer or client is missed. While a late payment may be inconvenient under normal circumstances, at the current time this could be potentially catastrophic to cash flow. You may therefore find yourself getting hounded for payment more quickly and more aggressively than would ordinarily be the case for a missed payment as your creditors grow increasingly nervous. The thing to remember is that this crisis is set to affect the vast majority of businesses across the country, and indeed the world. Your creditors will understand the problems you are facing, and may well be experiencing similar sort of issues themselves. The key is to communicate with them and arrange a mutually agreeable plan going forwards. We can provide sound and actionable advice to enable you to negotiate more favourable terms with your creditors either as a short-term measure or a more long-term solution.
- Redundancy claim advice – We understand you are likely to be concerned about your staff and how this situation may affect them if matters do not improve in the near future. We can direct you to a specialist redundancy claims company who can offer redundancy advice for both your employees and yourself.
- R&D tax credits – It is wise to look at all avenues of increasing the money coming into your business when cash flow is tight; one of these ways is seeing if you qualify for R&D tax credits. R&D tax relief is available to a whole host of businesses including both SMEs and large corporations from almost all sectors and industries. We can assess your eligibility for Research and Development (R&D) tax credits, and if your business is entitled then this could be a quick way of getting cash back to your company.
If your company is experiencing financial distress due to the coronavirus epidemic, there are helplines set up to support you during this time.
Free business rescue and recovery advice from Real Business Rescue.
If you would like specialist advice on any aspect of business rescue, turnaround, or possible recovery methods, the experts at Real Business Rescue are here to provide free advice and support. For a free confidential discussion with one of our experts advisers call us on 0800 029 4074.
You can also set up a meeting with one of our team of experts where we will be able to talk you through your company’s position and develop a strategy for the future. These are uncertain times, but no matter what the future holds for your company, we are here to help you through the challenges you face.
You can also contact HMRC’s dedicated Coronavirus helpline
Number: 0800 015 9559
Monday - Friday, 8am - 8pm
Saturday, 8am - 4pm
There is also a dedicated support page for small businesses on the government’s website which can be viewed here.