7 Jun 2021
Although scientists advising the government are calling for the lifting of lockdown restrictions to be delayed, Step 4 of the roadmap is currently still set to happen on 21 June. Regardless of the exact date, what can businesses do to prepare?
As we approach the summer reopening, it’s all hands on deck for UK businesses – especially seasonal businesses preparing to reopen (or that are already open and gearing up for an increase in trade). If you’re one of them, here are six ways you can prepare:
Inventory forecasting in advance of a seasonal peak will help ensure that you’ve got enough goods to meet an increase in customer demand. This is even more important now, at a time when Brexit and the pandemic are causing some delays to goods entering the UK.
It’s all about balance – while you want to ensure you have enough inventory, ordering too much can lead to cash flow problems. If you lack the funds to be able to purchase more stock due to the coronavirus pandemic, you may be eligible for business finance.
The Recovery Loan Scheme (RLS) is open to businesses of any size: there's no minimum trading or turnover requirement. As well as the RLS, there are lots of other types of business finance out there to meet a variety of business growth needs.
If you run your business from a premises and are about to reopen after a period of closure, take the time to inspect your site and any furniture, furnishings and equipment.
If you find yourself in need of new machinery, vehicles or equipment ahead of a seasonal peak – but don’t have enough business capital to purchase what you need outright – don’t worry. There are lots of asset finance options out there to help you spread the cost.
Ahead of the summer rush, it’s also key to have enough employees in place so that you don’t have to scramble for good candidates at the last minute.
Of course, business owners will know that recruiting, particularly in the hospitality sector, isn’t exactly easy at the moment. Many are having to come up with creative ways of attracting applicants, including hiring through the UK Government’s Kickstart Scheme.
When onboarding new starters, make sure you invest enough time in training them on your updated coronavirus safety protocols. Be mindful that as we emerge from the lockdown restrictions, the situation is affecting people in many different ways.
Be sure to use all the platforms available to you – including your website, email lists and social media channels – to keep customers updated with what’s going on.
You could consider sending an email to subscribers with your updated opening hours, protocols and a simple message to explain how you’ve prepared for the summer reopening and how you can’t wait to welcome them back.
Adding some FAQs to your website will also help your customers feel more confident. You know your customers best, of course, but you could start with the following questions:
What are your new opening hours?
How many people can I book for?
Will I have to wear a mask?
What is your cancellation policy?
If you haven’t already done so, offering contactless payments to customers is a must. It’s more convenient, makes the payment process more seamless and the touchless nature of contactless technology helps curb the spread of the virus.
Offering contactless payment will also enable you to process card transactions quicker, reducing waiting times and enhancing customer service.
On average, a contactless payment takes around 15 seconds which is at least two times faster than normal payments, according to The Fintech Times.
If you take on-premise and/or online customer card payments, you might be eligible for a merchant cash advance. While a business loan can be secured against your personal or company assets, a merchant cash advance is based on a percentage of your future revenue.
It can be a convenient type of finance for business owners who experience cash flow fluctuation due to seasonal peaks and troughs. This is because you pay less when business is slow and more when trade picks up.
With rules and guidance changing at such short notice, it’s important to keep track of the government’s advice.You’ll find up-to-date information on how to make your workplace secure on the government’s Working Safely During Coronavirus (COVID-19) page.
A number of Funding Options’ lender partners are now accredited to the Recovery Loan Scheme, with more on the way. You can use our platform to apply for a Recovery Loan or any of the many other business finance options out there today.
Using a combination of the expertise of our Business Finance Experts and technology, Funding Options can match you with a business finance option suited to your business’ needs, goals and circumstances. Find out what your business could be eligible for today in just a few steps.
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