STEP

9 Sources of Crucial COVID-19 Support For Small Businesses

As the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has rocked all of our worlds over the last six months, small business owners and self-employed individuals in particular have been hit hard and are understandably worried about how it will impact them over the coming months. STEP has put together support solutions to help your business recover.

01| Your Landlord

Remember your landlord is a business too, but it may be possible to discuss deferred payments or other services that they can help with. Here at STEP we have helped some business trade online by getting them access to online systems and support with call handling.

02 | Your Insurer

There has been a lot of press lately focused on the High Court’s ruling in favour of the policyholders’ in a COVID business insurance case. Whilst this may be good news for some – although there is an appeal process – the FCA says that the majority of business interruption customers are not covered. It’s worth checking your business insurance terms and talking to your insurer advice. Also, take stock of what other insurances might payout. Do you have key person insurance? Check your liability insurance, to ensure you’re insured against any claims from employees, customers and members of the public related to the virus.

03 | Your Customers

In tough times it’s crucial to engage with the customers you have. Communicate often! Customers may be willing to buy vouchers for the future or make donations to keep your business open. If your business involves supplying, consider asking your customers to move their payment terms to immediate. It is crucial to keep on top of payments, invoices and your cashflow.

04 | HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)

HMRC has launched a dedicated helpline for businesses who need advice on any of their services (0800 015 9559).
· Furlough payments
· Statutory Sick Pay support
· Deferral of VAT payment
· Deferral of Self Assessment payments
· Self Employed Hardship funds

05 | Your Local Council and the Scottish Government

It’s crucial to keep track of the support that the UK and Scottish Government is making available and to claim all the help you’re entitled to. Guidance, regulations, support and funding is consistently changing to support everyone.

06 | Business Gateway

Business Gateway local offices and experienced advisers across Scotland are working with thousands of businesses to get through this pandemic. Plus there is free online support, guides, webinars and tutorials. Get in touch with the Stirling office on stirling@bgateway.com.

07 | Your Industry Specialists

Industry and membership organisations such as VisitScotland, Scotland Food and Drink, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Federation of Small Businesses, Scottish Chamber of Commerce and more all have varied support and funding packages available to sustain businesses through COVID.

08 | Your Bank

The Government has made it clear banks should take a sympathetic approach to small business customers during this crisis. Banks can offer Bounce Back Loans, new credit facilities such as overdrafts or loans, and payment holidays. Talk to your bank about the help that it might be able to offer your business.

09 | STEP

Of course, as ever we are here to support businesses in and around Stirling. Together with Stirling Council and Business Gateway Stirling, we have set up a local helpline (01786 498496) if you need support getting your business through these tough times.  We also have set up a weekly support e-mail with the latest funding and guidance. To be added to this list or if you need advice or support on any business issue you can contact the team at step@stepscotland.co.uk.

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