New Year – Time to plan and implement your post Brexit/Covid Plans
As we enter into the New Year with a new Covid variant leading to increasing social restrictions and rising case numbers and sadly deaths, it is tempting to be drawn into the cycle of despondency that confronts us all as soon as we open a paper or watch the news or click on social media.
This is particularly dangerous for business owners who have found themselves continually confronted by thousands of pages of confusing and often conflicting and rapidly changing advice at a time when they need to focus on their businesses and the year ahead.
This is the time when as business owners we need to plan (and start moving plans forward) for the opportunities that will be ahead for all of us, so that we know that we can move forward both now and as the position becomes better as the vaccines start to make an impact on all our lives.
This article sets out some key areas which may impact you and your business in the year ahead both in terms of legal issues and on wider business basis.
Those people who have coped best during the pandemic have done so largely because they have had the support of their staff in terms of flexibility of working patterns etc . There are a number of things that we should all consider at this point including:-
- How will Covid change the way your business operates on a permanent basis – do you need to engage with your staff now, to see what changes you and they may want to consider at this stage, to ensure that you keep key staff who may have different priorities in post Covid environment.
- Changes to contracts may be required to reflect new working patterns.
- Reassurance – by giving a clear positive message in terms of being seen to plan for the future this will provide much needed reassurance to staff that you and your business are going forward with a plan rather than reacting to whatever may/may not occur.
- Changes to recruitment policies may be required to reflect peoples changing priorities post Covid and to reflect potential staff shortages in a post Brexit environment.
It is clear that we are yet to see the full impact of the pandemic on the commercial property market. Early indications are that retail, hospitality and town centre locations are seeing a massive acceleration of the social changes that were already underway as a result of the digital revolution.
Whilst we don’t know where this will eventually lead it is clear that there will be massive opportunities to review property costs for many businesses and potentially to reorganise in a way that allows small businesses to reap the rewards that can be achieved by moving away from their traditional location centric property based model.
Based on a review of the transactions we are being required to become involved in it is clear that this is the time to be considering your next steps as delaying any action at this stage could leave you unable to obtain what you want in terms of property at a later date. If you have a break clause coming up this should be considered very seriously both from a Landlord and Tenant perspective.
If you haven’t done so already consider the impact of digital competitors and how you and your business can move forward into the brave new digital world. Are there new markets available to you that because of the reach of the internet can now be accesses in ways you wouldn’t have thought possible previously?
Revisit clients, customers, prospects, and ensure they know you are open for business – engage with them to assess their requirements and see how you (and not someone else) can fulfil those requirements.
Consider if you need to change your terms and conditions to reflect the changing nature of your sales as a result of increasing internet sales or to reflect post Brexit changes.
Regrettably, many potential successful businesses will fail as things improve if they lose sight of the need to stay on top of cash flow as they start to grow and recover after the pandemic.
Revisit your cash flow forecast, to take account of a potential stuttering start to the New Year & extended payment cycle from challenged customers - continue to monitor customer credit terms.
Monitor increases in base costs which may need to be passed on to clients and customers.
Don’t lose sight of the fundamental point that small businesses have an innate ability to adapt and take advantages of the disruption caused by the current situation.
Remember as a business leader you have the chance to make a real difference even though there are times when this situation may feel overwhelming.
Please contact Mark Pelopida if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of commercial law.