Remaining resilient in a shrinking economy
Despite a small growth in the economy in November of 0.1%, the UK has been struggling under the weight of high inflation and rising borrowing costs. Most economists are predicting a contraction in the economy in the next six months. Conditions are likely to remain challenging for businesses and individuals alike, so now is a good time to focus on resilience.
Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress — such as business, workplace, and financial stressors. It means “bouncing back” from difficult experiences.
So what actions can you take now to remain resilient to any downturn in the economy?
Here are a few suggestions to help you think about your business:
- Review your Budgets and set realistic and achievable targets for 2023/24.
- Be careful with ‘can’t pay’ customers and get rid of ‘won’t pay’ customers.
- Review your debtors list and chase up overdue invoices (if appropriate).
- Offer existing debtors extended payment terms and/or discounts (if applicable).
- Make sure your terms of business contain explicit payment terms.
- Assign responsibility to one individual for invoicing and collections.
- Agree extended payment terms with all suppliers in advance (if applicable).
- If appropriate, review banking facilities and discuss future needs.
- Put extra effort into making sure your relationships with your better customers are solid.
- Review and flow-chart the main processes in your business (e.g. Sales processing, order fulfilment, shipping etc) and challenge the need for each step.
- Encourage team members to suggest ways to streamline and simplify processes (e.g. sit down and brainstorm about efficiencies and cost reduction).
- Review your staffing needs over the next few months.
- Review your list of products and services and eliminate those that are unprofitable or not core products/services.
Establish your key performance indicators (KPI’s) and measure them on a weekly basis, e.g.:
- Sales Leads generated,
- Orders supplied/fulfilled,
- Cash balance,
- Stock Turnover,
- Debtor Days,
- Gross Profit, and
- Net Profit.
Statutory Pay Rates from April 2023
The UK Government has published the proposed statutory rates for maternity pay, paternity pay, shared parental pay, adoption pay, parental bereavement pay, and sick pay from April 2023.
The rates normally increase each April in line with the consumer price index (CPI) and the increase normally occurs on the first Sunday in April, which in 2023 is 2 April. See: Benefit and pension rates 2023 to 2024 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Innovation Loans Future Economy competition – round 8
Innovate UK is offering up to £25 million in loans to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Loans are for highly innovative late-stage research and development (R&D) projects with the best potential for the future. There should be a clear route to commercialisation and economic impact.
Your project must lead to new products, processes or services that are significantly ahead of others currently available or propose an innovative use of existing products, processes or services. It can also involve a new or innovative business model.
Innovate UK are particularly interested in projects that focus on the future economy areas included in the Innovate UK plan for action.
You must be able to show that you:
- need public funding,
- can cover interest payments, and
- will be able to repay the loan on time.
You can apply for a loan of between £100,000 and £2 million to fund your project’s eligible costs.
Round 8 of this competition closes for applications on Wednesday 8 March 2023 at 11am. See: Competition overview – Innovation Loans Future Economy Competition: Round 8 – Innovation Funding Service (apply-for-innovation-funding.service.gov.uk)
Employers should prepare for a warmer future
It might sound strange when we are in the middle of Winter just now, but science shows the planet is getting warmer and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is advising businesses to think how they need to adapt to warmer working conditions for their staff.
Employers have a legal obligation under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations to assess risks to the health and safety of workers. They must review the risk controls they have in place and update them if needed. This includes risks from more frequent extreme weather such as heatwaves.
While there is no maximum temperature for workplaces, all workers are entitled to an environment where risks to their health and safety are properly controlled. Heat is classed as a hazard and comes with legal obligations like any other hazard.
The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations require employers to provide a reasonable temperature in the workplace. See: Heat warning: Employers must prepare for a warmer future | HSE Media Centre
Age inclusion online workshops for employers Responsible business network Business in the Community Cymru is offering employers fully funded places for its Age-inclusive Learning Network online workshops. Part of the Age at Work programme, the interactive workshops are ideal for HR professionals or those with D&I responsibilities, who will hear from expert speakers, learn and share best practice, and take away practical actions to implement that will help them to recruit, retain and support over 50s in their own workplace.
Upcoming workshops Positive Ageing | Wednesday 25 January 2023 10am to 11:30am Explore how you can support individuals over 50 to adapt their behaviours for a healthier and longer working life and learn how to build a diverse and inclusive workplace culture that perceives ageing positively.
Preparation for Retirement | Wednesday 1 March 2023 10am to 11:30am Discover how your business can offer support to help its employees gain clarity and feel confident and better prepared for retirement, building a future that is right for them. This session will help employers to support their people through the post 50 stage of their employment journey by looking at providing support for planning for retirement as part of a wider wellbeing strategy. See: Age inclusion online workshops for employers | Business Wales (gov.wales)
Proposed new licensing scheme to level the playing field and improve the standard of visitor accommodation in Wales
The Welsh Government has launched a consultation on establishing a statutory licensing scheme for all visitor accommodation providers in Wales.
The primary aim is to establish a level playing field for all visitor accommodation businesses operating in the sector. The concern around the lack of a level playing field has been a long-standing area of discussion with concerns certain parts of the sector do not meet or comply with their statutory obligations.
The Welsh Government’s Co-operation Agreement with Plaid Cymru commits to a statutory licensing scheme for holiday lets as part of a package of measures to address the negative impact second homes and short-term holiday lets can have on the availability and affordability of housing for local people in Welsh communities. See: Statutory licensing scheme for all visitor accommodation providers in Wales | GOV.WALES