The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on business is unprecedented in our lifetime. Never before have companies and their employees faced a challenged like it. As lockdown in the UK continues, managing your business through the next 90 days and beyond is going to be tricky. But with a plan in place you can weather the storm and set yourself up to prosper in the aftermath. Nutbourne are a leading IT solutions company; Managing Director, Marcus Evans, advises taking the following four steps…
Manage your cash flow
Cash is king in business. Without it, things can go badly quite quickly – and that will likely be the case for many businesses that are trying to navigate their way through the lockdown. So, what should you do to mitigate that risk, or deal with it if you’re struggling for cash?
“The first step is to be honest with your suppliers,” Marcus advises. “If you’re going to be late with a payment, just let them know in advance. Most companies are honest and adaptable and will try to help as and where they can. In this current scenario, where a lot of companies are going through the wringer payment plans will become more common. We’ve offered them to some of our customers.
If you are owed money, then the advice is to keep an eye on the companies that have gone quiet i.e. the ones that have gone overdue and that you can’t get hold of. Those are the ones that will have to be managed and who may need help paying the money they owe you. Either way, you don’t want them to become a long-term problem, so keep a close eye on them.
“Finally, know the difference between cash flow and profitability,” says Marcus. “If you are not profitable i.e. if you are losing money each month, then there is a very serious question over whether the business is viable, regardless of the situation we are in. If you are having cash flow problems i.e. you are profitable but debtors haven’t yet paid you then that’s much more manageable.”
Be prepared for some clients to go bust…and be prepared to help
None of us knows what the next three months looks like – it’s an almost impossible question to answer. With shops, bars and restaurants shut, and with virtually all sporting events cancelled, a return to normal life and normal trading seems a little way off.
“I think we will see some business go pop, but in the meantime. I think we need to be as supportive as we can. For example, here at our IT solutions company, we’ve frozen contracts with some clients – clients that are currently unable to trade because of the restrictions. What that means is that they won’t pay us for 90 days until their contract starts again, and they won’t have incurred any fees.”
If you’re in a position to help, Marcus recommends doing so, simply because it’s a sound long-term plan. If clients are up to date on payments and have a good payment history, then they’re a safe bet.
“We want to be on good terms with our clients. When this phase passes and we return to working life we will have a good relationship with them,” Marcus says. “It’s the right thing to do.”
Adjust your service…
If the lockdown lasts until June, or goes beyond it you might want to think about how you offer your service long-term – or at least until a return to normal is on the horizon. Being able to operate during a crisis is one thing, but if there’s a diminishing scope for the service you offer then you will need to look at adjusting your offer to the market for the company to remain viable.
The daily service for Nutbourneremains the same. We are still offering technical support and IT solutions to its clients, albeit to a vastly dispersed network of people. After getting everyone up to speed in the first three weeks of lockdown, additional services are now being launched to combat potential problems on the horizon.
“We’ve introduced a infrastructure baseline, with a report, service where we look at the state of an organisation’s IT setup,” says Marcus. “For the first 4 weeks we get them up to speed. Making sure all their workers are on board and that their systems can cope. Once we’ve navigated that part, we review their systems, their processes, the efficiencies they have and we ask if it’s good enough, is it secure? Cybersecurity solutions are essential at a time like this.
“Yes you’re operating, that was your number one priority. But are you operating well? We go in, we baseline the systems against what organisations should be operating at and suggest solutions, costs savings and optimisation. So, for example if you’ve furloughed lots of staff, maybe you can take away some of their office 365 logins away and roll them back out when you return. There’s costs savings to be had across the board when it comes to IT services.”
… and pivot where possible
Tough times often present timely opportunities, and for Nutbourne, it’s presented an opportunity to pivot the business towards several key strengths. While the infrastructure baseline service wasn’t a priority when lockdown began, it became apparent, Marcus says, that helping clients in different ways was going to be a priority – and it was also a very natural progression of what the organisation was already doing.
“This will keep us operational and will keep our clients operational,” he says. “The key thing for us – and for our clients – is to be adaptable and flexible. That plays into our two core strengths which are being helpful and solving problems – so there are more people working from home and as such, more targeted phishing and ransomware attacks. So, how can we resolve that? How can we make life easier for them, how can we protect them better? That’s how we’ve looked at it. We’ve always been a consultancy with our IT solutions; we’re just being clearer on what that looks like. We’re just adapting and working with what we have and keeping our clients working as best they can.”If you’d like to find out more about Nutbourne and our IT solutions, then get in touch! Contact us today on