COVID-19 – what it means for small business

The coronavirus outbreak presents challenging conditions for businesses. Here’s what you need to know about the impact of the virus on business operations, insurance and finance.

12 March 2020

The coronavirus outbreak presents challenging conditions for businesses. Find what you need to know about the impact of the virus on small businesses in our following articles.

Due to the fast changing nature of the coronavirus outbreak, information and advice from the government can change quickly and has done since the first business support packages were announced on the 16th March 2020.

To help you keep on top of the latest updates, guidance and support your business may be eligible for, we’ve collated all of our coronavirus related articles here.

The information below is under continuous review for the latest updates.

Jump to our article specifically about business finance during the outbreak.

What’s the general advice?

The NHS has a range of advice on how to avoid becoming infected with and spreading coronavirus. The UK Government published its Coronavirus Action Plan on 3rd March 2020. While these measures could help prevent or slow the spread of the illness, they will have a serious impact on trade and business.

In relation to business, the gov.uk website has thorough guidance for employers.

The gov.uk information includes:

What about advice for small businesses?

Specifically for small business, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has collated information and advice for employers in relation to coronavirus. In addition to the basics covered by the government, it includes guidance on:

For the full information, visit the FSB website.

What’s the government doing for business?

The chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has detailed increasing levels of investment and support for the business community. For a full breakdown of the financial options available, visit our page dedicated to coronavirus finance for small businesses.

The headlines include:

More details continue to be announced by the government. For information on the measures unveiled so far, visit the government website here.

What’s happening with insurance?

With the trading of many businesses being impacted by the coronavirus situation, business owners should know if they can claim compensation for loss of income.

Learn whether your business could be eligible for an insurance claim and how to make the most of your business insurance in light of coronavirus, in our article here

Coronavirus updates for SMEs

Coronavirus: stay updated

Our coronavirus bulletin covers all the key developments and delivers a digested summary straight to your inbox. We’ll send these out whenever there are key updates we think will help your business.

What about finance?

On 19 March, the Bank of England cut UK interest rates to an all-time low of 0.1%. This emergency move is designed to lower financing costs to encourage borrowing and investing, stimulating economic growth at a time of low optimism in the economy.

However, Stephen Jones, chief executive of UK Finance has suggested businesses who expect to be impacted by the coronavirus outbreak should contact their finance providers as soon as possible.

“Banks, building societies and credit card providers understand that some of their customers may be worried about the effect that contracting the Coronavirus (COVID-19) could have on their finances, for example due to a drop in income or because of unexpected expenses or bills to pay,” he said in a statement released on 5 March. “All providers are ready and able to offer support to their customers who are impacted directly or indirectly by COVID-19, which could include offering or increasing an overdraft or allowing repayment relief for loan or mortgage repayments: asking for help early is key.”

Find all the available financial support for small businesses during the coronavirus crisis in our article here for more information.

We’re here to help

Now, as ever, we are committed to making finance accessible to UK small businesses.

iwoca Flexi-loan

We designed our Flexi-Loan as a working capital solution for small businesses. Our customers, such as Simply Plants and Aldershot Play Centre, have used it to overcome unexpected costs and provide liquidity in times of uncertainty.

Existing iwoca customers

If you already work with us, then contact your account manager to discuss additional funding, top-ups or changes to your repayment schedule.

New customers

If you're not an iwoca customer but are interested in learning more, call us on 020 3778 0274 or apply online. Our application takes five minutes from start to finish and, as a responsible lender, we take a 360-degree view of your business performance. This helps us to offer a solution that is affordable to your circumstances.

Once approved, customers can transfer as much as they need to their bank account, and the funds will typically be in your account in hours. We only charge interest for the days you have the money and there are no early repayment fees.

Issues with invoice payments

If your customers are in an industry heavily affected by coronavirus, they might experience a sudden cash flow gap and struggle to pay their invoices. Read our guide on how to protect your business against such late payments during coronavirus here.

iwocaPay
If your customers do struggle to settle what's owed, you may need to offer extended payment terms. If this creates a problem for your business, get in touch with our iwocaPay team. We can help you offer your customers an additional 90 days to pay, while you get the funds up front.

#Stockupsmall

The #Stockupsmall campaign encourages customers to support small businesses in their community by letting them know who is still operating and delivering or doing collections during the lockdown. We're supporting the scheme to ensure the UK continues to be a home to a diverse range of businesses. Learn about the stock up small campaign here.

If you own a small business and would like to raise awareness of it, then sign up below to be added to the #StockUpSmall directory. Alternatively, if you just want to add some of your favourites then feel free to sign them up too.

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This article was created by the Insights team at iwoca.

Article updated on: 23 March 2020

Coronavirus updates for SMEs

Our coronavirus bulletin covers all the key developments and delivers a digested summary straight to your inbox. We’ll send these out whenever there are key updates we think will help your business.