CEO of Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce, Sara Williams, is writing regularly about the impact of the coronavirus on businesses and what support is available.
At Staffordshire Chambers, we’re very aware of the many issues facing businesses at the moment and are regularly hearing from our members about these concerns. One of the big ones is managing cashflow, which is particularly tricky when businesses are closing down or changing so rapidly.
One of my main pieces of advice would be to talk to the Small Business Commissioner with examples of both good and bad practice you’ve experienced. Some of the bigger companies are changing their terms of payment so they are paying smaller companies sooner, which is great news. But on the other hand, some companies are being quite aggressive, such as blanket decisions on not paying their suppliers for a longer period.
We’ve also found that more businesses are demanding payment in advance of an order being dispatched, or reserving the right to change the prices, as duty shipping rates may change in transit. Our Department for International Trade team at the Chambers can give advice on this.
I’d suggest that if businesses are trading with another Chambers member, talk with each other and try to reach a compromise or an interim payment structure to help tide everybody over in difficult trading conditions. It’s important for the business community to support each other as much as possible to get through this together.
Also, if your business is struggling with the cost of premises then look to your landlord. Every landlord would rather have a business still resident in a few months’ time than deal with an empty property now.
I’d recommend too that businesses speak with their bank at their earliest convenience and look to prepare cashflow projections to help them through.
To support you with all this, we have a webinar on managing cashflow coming up on Tuesday 7th April – you can sign up for it here.
And through everything, Staffordshire Chambers and Staffordshire Growth Hub are able to talk to you about all of these issues and more – do get in touch and we’ll do all we can to help.