By James Thomas, Commercial Manager, d&t
According to the Office of National Statistics: 17% of the UK workforce were furloughed between 28 December 2020 to 10 January 2021 which is an increase from 14% from the period just before Christmas. Further, 80% of SMEs have reported declining revenue this year compared to last. It is clear the ongoing national restrictions will continue to affect business for some time to come.
To ensure the longevity of your business operations, war room planning is an essential exercise. Having a handle on the numbers in different potential scenarios enables informed and timely decisions to be made. The information gathered can paint a picture of the future in worst case scenario and so strategies can be put in place to mitigate the risk to long term trading. This may even be a complete re-design of business where pivoting the operation can create a new direction considering the adjusted and changed market conditions.
Financial and cashflow modelling creates a platform to see what’s possible and what work needs to be completed. Once completed, it’s easy to revisit and model different scenarios. In the ideal world, organisations would have been working on war room planning last year, but many have not, probably because they were battling the day-to-day issues that 2020 threw at us all.
To create a financial model, you need to include all the relevant figures. These may be loan repayments, deferred VAT or tax payments, all overheads and other costs plus projected income and any furloughed payments. Then consider the worst-case scenario. What if trading never returns to ‘normal’? In the retail sector this may well be the case. What if all your customers move over to new online platforms? How long can your business survive without major changes, if the National lockdowns continue or a mutant strain of the virus cannot be vaccinated against?
Is it time to come up with new ideas and a strategy to access your customers in a different (remote/online) way in order to keep trading over the long term? This may mean solution innovation, bringing in new staff with specific areas of expertise, introducing new ways of marketing and delivery of products and services. You may well be stepping into the unknown here. However, it’s better to do something than nothing. If long-term projections suggest inaction will mark the end of the battle for your business, you’ve got nothing to lose.
The good news is that the deadline to apply for Bounce Back and CIBLs loans has been extended to March. These can provide the necessary funds to reinvent your business at a low or no cost.
If you need help with war room planning, get help before it’s too late! At d&t our friendly, experienced team can help with financial scenario planning. Adjusting and pivoting practices and processes is necessary for most businesses right now and it’s time well spent, giving you the best chance of steering out of the crisis, whatever the scenario.
For further information please visit www.team-dt.com
d&t is a Swindon based multi-award-winning team of chartered accountants and expert business advisors to partners in multiple industries, as well as over 100 different franchise networks.