Many small businesses have faced their hardest year ever and business owners have had to come up with inventive solutions to get through this period. Some businesses though have found it easier than other, especially with different industries being affected harder than others but, on the positive side there is Help for Small business through COVID-19 and some small businesses have used their ingenuity to adapt their business and do well out of the current situation.
Here is a round-up of some of the help available to businesses at the moment.
As a small business owner, your first port of call should be https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support This is where you will find all of the official help and guidance from the UK Government.
You can find information on Loans, tax relief and cash grants that are available, Keep up to date with furlough arrangements and grants for the Self-employed, for the first round of self-employed grants, you could receive up to £2,500 per month in for at least 3 months. If you were eligible for the first self-employed grant, a second phase of the self-employed grant will be open for applications from 17th August.
You can also find information on how to re-open your business safely and what financial support schemes and other grants you might be eligible for. Some of these schemes have passed their deadline but keep on top of information and additions to the schemes.
VAT has also been cut from 20% to 5% for all hospitality spend until 31st January 2021, some are choosing to pass some or all of the discount on to help bring customers back in through the door, others are bolstering their income… which option works out best for your business?
Businesses in England in the retail, leisure and hospitality industry have been made exempt from paying any business rates in the coming year, check to see if you are eligible for the ‘tax holiday’.
Don’t forget to check out your local council websites for local help.
But; it doesn’t just stop there.
Many of the banks have provided some help to their customers with Business and mortgage customers being given 3 month capital repayment holidays and providing extensions to overdraft facilities. Business loans have become more available during the pandemic to help bolster businesses through this difficult period
A variety of businesses have also started providing their own help, for example:
Reed are currently providing a variety of free training courses, why not use any down time to hone your skills, further your knowledge or learn something new that could benefit you or your business now or in the future. Courses are online and you can find details of the courses here: https://www.reed.co.uk/courses/free
You can also find free courses at free course England, not new but beneficial https://freecoursesinengland.co.uk/
You can get access to some free meditation from Headspace https://www.headspace.com/covid-19 to relieve some of the stress that many are under.
Even Google are sharing some free courses that may be of benefit to a small business owner, see here: https://smallbusiness.withgoogle.com/intl/en_uk/news/resources-for-smbs-impacted-by-coronavirus/#!/
Enterprise software giant SAP has opened up access to a series of massive open online courses (MOOCs). All classes are accessible through the openSAP platform, and span topics including RPA, data science, machine learning, ethical AI and the IoT.
In fact, software companies are providing a range of software solutions to help business for example:
Google Meet, Googles Video conferencing services is available for free until 30th September 2020.
Microsoft Teams, are offering a 6 month free trial to business users.
Cisco Webex, will give a 90 days free business license.
VyprVPN is offering VyprVPN Business cloud free for three months for businesses with up to 15 employees.
Hide Me VPN has increased the data transfer limit attached to its free accounts from 2GB to 10GB. The free plan includes 5 worldwide locations and support for all major operating systems.
BreachTrak™ from DQM GRC is offering a free 3-month subscription to its data monitoring platform BreachTrak™, so businesses can monitor for data leaks or misuse during this uncertain period, where employees may be accessing and processing information outside of the normal security perimeter.
HP Inc. – HP Sure Click Pro are helping those with potential cybersecurity risks whilst working or learning from home, HP is offering HP Sure Click Pro for free. The service uses isolation technology to guard against embedded malware, ransomware, and viruses, and this Pro version also allows users to edit Microsoft Word and Excel documents, read PDFs, and access .zip files within an isolated container.
If your staff are out and about, keeping passwords safe is important, here are a couple of free options:
1Password Business has extended the 30-day trial on its enterprise password manager 1Password Business to six months, allowing newly remote employees to work in a secure and efficient fashion.
SecureAuth is offering its Intelligent Identity Cloud package for free through December 15. The package includes risk-based multi-factor authentication, single sign-on, biometric authentication and fraud prevention.
Want something more?
Apple has extended the free trial of its professional video editing software Final Cut Pro X from 30 to 90 days for all users. The company has also made its audio editing software Logic Pro X available for free for the first time, also for 90 days.
Foxit Software has made its cloud-based PDF editor, PhantomPDF Online, available for free through September 30. The tools allow users to create, edit, save and compress PDF files, among other features.
Remote contact center solution CXone@home from NICE is available to all businesses for a period of 45 days. The offering is designed to help contact centers transition to a remote working model in 48 hours or less. Key functionality includes 99.99% availability, e-learning for agent onboarding and no seat limits.
Email client Superhuman is available free of charge for life to all those directly involved in the coronavirus relief effort. It bills itself as the fastest email experience ever made. This is only available to healthcare, charities, non-profit organisations, so if you are in one of these categories, is it useful to you?
Apomatix is offering up its active audit management software free for 12 months. The platform is designed to help businesses ensure they remain compliant with international standards relating to information security, occupational health and more.
Document productivity platform Nitro has launched its new e-signature and digital collaboration tool, Nitro Sign, which will remain free throughout 2020 to support businesses during the pandemic.
This is by no means an exhaustive list but will hopefully give you some good ideas for things that will help you and your business over the coming months.
And don’t forget, if you need any bookkeeping help, Rosemary Bookkeeping are always here. We can help you keep on top of your books, provide reporting, monitor your incomings & outgoings. Well-kept books will mean you can see early where you are doing well in your business and where you may need to watch costs, it’s not always where you think.
Make the most of Rosemary’s FREE Bookkeeping health Check, just get in touch with your local bookkeeper.