6 ways your business can prepare for the unexpected

If there’s anything we’ve learned this year, it’s that the world is an unpredictable place. And while no-one saw a global pandemic on this scale coming, there are some good learnings for businesses of all shapes and sizes.

Something that’s become very clear is that a little forethought and planning can really pay – whether it’s checking how easy it might be to run your business remotely, or knowing what support is available when times are tough.

This guide will help you think about your priorities for the short and longer term and get you ahead of the game.


  1. Pandemic latest

We’re not out of the woods yet when it comes to Coronavirus, but the government has a number of support schemes in place to help businesses navigate through the ever-changing restrictions. For the latest advice, keep a regular eye on this section of the Gov website.


  1. Continuity planning

If you didn’t have a business continuity plan at the beginning of this year, you might have wished you had! Some might argue that no business could have been ready for such a rollercoaster year – but on the other hand, some companies were very quick to adapt to an unprecedented situation.

It always pays to have at least thought about the main priorities and requirements for your business and make contingency plans for the things that could really hurt your company.

Examples might include:

  • Sickness or injury preventing you or another key employee from working
  • Something happening to your business premises e.g. flood, fire, accidental damage
  • The loss of a major client or supplier

It might just be that an insurance policy or a cloud-based computing system is all you need to prevent total catastrophe. Contact us for a business continuity plan template, to help you get started.


  1. Cashflow planning

It’s all too easy for a small business to fail because it hasn’t got a good handle on its cashflow. You should chase up unpaid invoices as a matter of course – get in touch as we have a standard payment reminder template for you to adopt, as well as a cashflow planning template.

Find ways to have a cash reserve within your business so that you can still pay your overheads for a month or two if your business income suddenly stops for some reason. Do think about how you would manage a cashflow emergency. Having a plan up your sleeve will stave off panic and help you make more rational decisions.

In general, you can often navigate cashflow issues by prioritising – are there any payments you can defer? Can you negotiate with partners and suppliers for extra time? Can you access any cash through grants, loans or any other sources?


  1. Accessing capital

Following on from the previous point, there are various options if you need to access additional funds, fast.

At the moment of course, there are Covid-specific support systems, but in more normal times you can still benefit from business grants and other sources of income.

Great places to start are your local authority, who will often have schemes and grants to help local businesses achieve their goals.

You can also look at https://www.gov.uk/business-finance-support-finder for a round up of regional schemes that you could tap into.

If you’re looking to fund the development of new product or service you could also consider crowdfunding – there’s a good round up of platforms here. Or, there’s the more formal venture capital route. There’s more information on this in this article.


  1. Establishing an efficient business

Keeping your business going isn’t just about cash, though. It’s also about making sure you have good systems in place to keep things running smoothly and efficiently.

Could your business be more productive? There are lots of online tools that can make time consuming jobs much simpler, including:

  • Social media management tools like Buffer and Hootsuite, where you can share a single post across all the main social platforms.
  • Email tools like Boomerang that help you craft and schedule emails – and reminds you to follow up if you don’t hear back
  • Various website analytics tools to help you understand what people are doing on your website, what’s working and where you need to improve.

In a nutshell, whatever your challenge, there’s an app for it!  Think about the slow processes in your business and take a look at potential online solutions. You’ll be surprised how much is out there, and how much of it is free.

Another important aspect is general business planning. Do you have a business plan? It will help you focus on achieving your goals and avoid being distracted by things that won’t deliver on your targets. We have a template to help with this, if you need one.


  1. Reaching out

Something many businesses have missed this year is the opportunity to catch up with peers, suppliers and partners and other contacts with whom they share a friendly, informal and collaborative relationship.

But with restrictions staying in place for months to come – and likely more challenges coming in 2021, don’t wait for things to return to normal. If you have a business dilemma, reach out to your contacts.

Here at Thobani Accountants we love to hear from acquaintances old and new – and we also reach out to other businesses to find out how they’re overcoming the hurdles we’re all facing. A problem shared is a problem halved.


We’re here to help with any Peterborough accountancy services from payroll and bookkeeping to VAT Return Services. Our clients choose us for corporation tax services, as accountants for sole traders and personal tax planning. Get in touch to see how we can help – email us on contact@thobaniaccountants.co.uk