Having glimpsed the light at the end of the COVID tunnel, many of us will have everything crossed that progress towards normality will continue. The winter months are not a brilliant time for infection and we should expect the usual rash of flu, and now COVID, cases to increase.
In the past two years words such as unprecedented and exceptional have become widely used. But do we need to redefine the new normal to include these uncertainties?
What is round the corner?
Government, apparently, is bending to medical opinion that the October, half-term break should be extended and compulsory mask wearing extended if, as is likely, infections rise and threaten the ability of the NHS to cope.
Regional variations will continue to plague a consistent approach even though the borders can be crossed with impunity.
Business owners – having spent the summer reasonably free of restrictions – will dread the thought that compulsory homeworking will return or that their last-ditch attempts to recover from lockdown closure are about to be reversed.
We live in uncertain times and to survive we need to react and reshape our business plans based on current challenges. Strategies need to be developed and implemented that acknowledge the disruption of the past two years and plan, albeit reluctantly, for their unwelcome return.
We recommend that business owners keep an eye on the following in order to minimise any exposure to these disruptive influences:
- Staffing – now is not a good time to operate with surplus capacity.
- Cash flow – you should have forecasts for at least six months to a year ahead so you can see when dips in funding require action.
- Investment – are there investments in IT, software, equipment or other assets that will improve your ability to trade in a stressed market?
- Financials – are you profitable? Can you sustain loss-making periods? If so for how long? Are you solvent? How long can you sustain loss-making activity before you become insolvent?
We can help you create and maintain vigilance in these areas. Call if you need more information.
Aside from COVID issues, supply lines continue to be stretched due to transport delays – not enough drivers – and locally grown crops may become food for the birds if “pickers” cannot be found at harvest time. The transfer of goods back and forth from the EU continues to be an issue as border controls struggle to deal with the Brexit enforced end of free movement.
There is much in the “uncertainty” pot to consider. To quote yet another cliché, we are not out of the woods, just yet.