Support During the Covid-19 Crisis

We are all going to face unprecedented challenges in the coming weeks and months, personally and professionally. As we venture into the unknown and towards a new normal, this article aims to provide you with useful information and links to help you overcome the challenges ahead.

COVID-19: Government Support for Businesses

The situation is changing daily so the best resource to check for the latest business support information is the Governments own page: COVID-19: support for businesses.

COVID-19: Number of UK Coronavirus Cases and Guidelines

For up-to-date coronavirus information and guidelines, see this page from the Department of Health

Chamber Events & Membership

Because of the disruption to business activities due to the COVID 19 crisis, all Chamber events are postponed until further notice. Chamber communications via the website, newsletter, social media and other channels will continue.

In light of this disruption, the Chamber will be providing three months free extended membership to new and existing members. We will review this policy at the end of June and update members with any further developments.

 

Crisis Planning for your Business

As the leader of a business, you probably spend most of your time thinking about keeping growth on track. Now a new priority is upon you – planning to guide your business through the Covid-19 crisis.

A good place to start is to assemble your senior team (via Skype or Zoom etc) and determine:

  • What processes are critical to running business successfully? (can include payment processing, logistics, customer service etc)
  • Who is critical to the survival of the business?
  • Who is capable of covering important roles in case people are unavailable?

With that information to hand, the next step would be to ask:

  • What can be operated remotely, and what can’t?
  • Who can effectively work remotely and who can’t?
  • What equipment is needed for critical staff to operate remotely? (laptops, video conferencing tools etc)
  • How will your staff access critical data such as customer contact information?
  • Are there any new cloud based services that can help you adapt to having a remote workforce?

Finally, you should consider business performance:

  • What is your cashflow position?
  • What are your quarterly revenue expectations for the next 12 months?
  • What actions can you take to strengthen you position? (finance, debtors)
  • What government assistance can you access?
  • Are your key suppliers stable or are you likely to experience issues?
  • Consider if you have non-critical costs that can be paused or cut.

From this point on, effective communication will be key. Consider setting up a WhatsApp group with all key members. Productivity tools such as Trello may also help to effectively deliver specific projects.

If you are concerned about business survival and don’t have a clear plan, do this today.

Remote working

Working From Home Tips

Whether you are new to working from home or not, it can be good to refresh your best-practice to ensure you make things as easy as possible for yourself.

  • Have a dedicated workspace (if possible). Avoiding crossover between work and general life is easier if you have a space in your home that is only used for work.
  • Plan your day and keep to set work hours. There are plenty of mobile and desktop productivity tools but a pen and paper can still do the job too!
  • Avoid distractions including limiting access to hobbies and your family.
  • Leave the house every day and take short regular breaks. Staying at home is now very important, but a single outdoor exercise whether that’s a socially distant walk or star jumps in the garden will help keep your body and mind in good working order.
  • Spend time getting your workspace right. Make sure your chair is comfortable and supportive and that you have good equipment to work with.

Be Mindful of your Mental Health

Here are a couple of suggestions that may help you to keep a clear perspective:

  1. Avoid news paralysis: Trying to follow every twist and turn on the news might be tempting but can be bad for your mental health and your business perspective.
  2. We are hardwired to dwell on negative information. Consider how you feel emotionally after spending a period of time on social media. If you find that your spirits haven’t been lifted, consider self-Isolating from non-critical social media. It’s the scary stuff that sticks – and that isn’t helpful at all.

Stretch

At 9am each morning, over a million people are tuning in to Joe Wicks’ 30 minute PE workout. It’s aimed at the whole family so give it a go!

 

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The support and networking opportunities that the Chamber offered to me as director of a new business really appealed. The board and members I spoke to seemed really interested in my business.

Alastair James Roberts ACII
Alastair James Insurance Brokers

 

“I can see there is a lot of energy there, a lot of passion for doing the best for the town and we want to be part of that.”

Oliver Wiliams
Ellenborough Park

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The Cheltenham Chamber of Commerce represents the interests of thousands of local businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions. Our members range from small shops and local business groups to leading industry associations and large corporations. They all share one thing in common—they count on the Chamber to create opportunities and to improve the local business environment.

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