The business impact of COVID-19 is clear for all to see, with research highlighting that during the peak of lockdown a quarter of companies in the UK had temporarily closed, while more than 500,000 reported being in ‘significant distress’.
With lockdown continuing to ease significantly, the longer-term impacts are becoming more apparent. Although the government’s furlough scheme is still in place, many of the UK’s most prominent companies have made far-reaching jobs cuts, with thousands of jobs lost in the retail space alone in June.
It’s not all doom and gloom though. Our Allstar Business Barometer identified the green shoots of recovery, with an estimated 54 million additional miles travelled by wholesale and retail businesses in June 2020 compared to the month prior, highlighting the scope to which companies are beginning to get back on the road.
With this in mind, there are two key focus areas for your business – reactivating as safely as possible and ensuring the financial security of the company after what has been a truly tumultuous time.
While the prevalence of Coronavirus has reduced, the threat hasn’t dissipated entirely – with local lockdowns acting as proof. Your business can take simple steps including going cashless and moving to electronic expense claims to reduce the physical touchpoints which increase the likelihood of employees or customers contracting the virus.
When you consider the journey that cash takes – one bank note alone could have come into contact with endless different owners – it’s not difficult to imagine the potential for contamination from one person to the next. Receipts aren’t too dissimilar either, often travelling from being handed over in-store, to employees then to line managers or entire finance teams who approve expenses.
So by removing the potential contamination points of physical cash and receipts and replacing them with contactless payments, such as Allstar’s card solutions, the workplace will become a safer environment, whilst also creating a streamlined expenses process for your employees.
The next step is to audit your finances to ensure your business is in as secure a position as possible following the lockdown.
If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we can never be certain about what’s around the corner. However, investing time and effort in increasing the financial resilience of the business will go a long way to supporting a successful reactivation and futureproofing your company. Here are three steps we recommend you take:
Reassess commercial terms. Is there a way to improve your working capital and cashflow? Can you secure better payment terms? Your customers’ needs may also have changed significantly and it’s crucial that your business can adapt to new or altered demands. Consider ways to be as helpful, supportive and personal with your suppliers as possible to reinforce your value.
Make sure that you are getting the best value from a universal fuel network. Watch out for changes in the price of key costs, such as fuel, and encourage your teams to share information to make sure that you’re getting the best deals and value from your suppliers. Our UK Fuel Price tool and Business Barometer provides the latest pricing information and trends while our ServicePoint platform validates labour and part quotes against automotive industry data.
Prepare for uncertainty in your cashflow. Restrictions imposed to control the Coronavirus pandemic may remain in place in some form for months. Whenever you need to, speak to Allstar about your cashflow and credit situation to help manage the impact of future disruption.
At Allstar, we understand the pressure you and your company are under and how difficult managing periods of drastic change can be. This is why we have produced a series of resources to support your journey back on the road to ensure you have the practical guidance and support you need. Sign up to the Allstar Insights Newsletter to stay updated on the ways your business can help ensure it is resilient for the future.