The coronavirus epidemic has had a dramatic impact on small businesses around the UK, with the leisure industry hit the hardest.
With the closure of public places including restaurants, theatres and clubs, many SMEs and entrepreneurs have had to diversify their businesses to generate some immediate income, maintain their customer base and reduce the risk of full refunds.
Nic Redfearn of Know Your Money commented: “Many businesses will need to take immediate action to get through the challenges that coronavirus has caused. The government has announced they will offer financial support to struggling businesses, but there are other steps businesses can take too.”
“For example, they can approach their bank, suppliers, and other companies they work with to see if they can help to ease any financial pressures. Businesses could also try to adapt to the circumstances by diversifying their services, whether that’s by offering new products or by delivering to those staying at home.”
Food businesses including restaurants and caterers have turned their attention to making deliveries or running takeaways only.
High street restaurants no longer able to service customers in-house, are offering generous discounts and bespoke takeaway menus and options. An example this week showed Nandos and Carluccio’s offering a 50% discount to NHS staff and anyone with a Blue Light Card.
For caterers, there has been a natural transition into running a delivery food business, promoted heavily through social media. This follows the inevitability of cancelled events for things such as corporates, weddings and birthdays. Having food delivered to customers’ doors is saving households the risk of infection and the effort of panic buying at their local supermarket.
Video streaming services
The role of video streaming services has become essential for people working from home so they can continue to offer their services.
From priests giving sermons using Google Hangout, gym instructors running fitness classes on Facebook Live and people giving consultations via Skype – many have had to adapt their businesses to online sharing platforms.
For those cinemas, restaurants, bars and clubs unable to serve customers, they have turned to selling any existing stock in the form of food and beverage, especially those goods with a limited shelf life.
For people working in IT, there has been an influx of people on Linkedin offering services to help you set up a work station from home – including the use of high speed internet, servers, monitors, VPNs and more.
Many companies and business owners will continue to diversify their services to keep their fledging businesses afloat.
Earlier this week, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that he was extending the business rates holiday to all firms in the hospitality sector and funding grants of between £10,000 and £25,000 for small businesses. The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak said that for those in financial difficulty due to coronavirus, mortgage lenders will offer a three-month mortgage holiday.