How can you prepare for the weeks and months ahead? Right now, it’s difficult. That’s why, Finance Director, Helen Fleet, joined us to share 10 questions that business owners should be asking themselves as they head into 2021.
1. What do you want from your business?
Time out or a slowing down of work last year has given some business owners time to really think about what they want. How many hours do you want to spend working, how much income do you need and what really drives you? This has sparked thoughts with our clients on succession planning and personal work life balance.
2. How long do you want to run your business for?
With little spare cash around, pension payments may be something you have had to pause in 2020. Think about when you want to finish work and speak to an IFA about your plans. Financial advisors have some great tools to map out current pension payments and projected retirement income. Even if you can’t meet those payments now you know what you need to work towards.
3. Growth or Maintenance?
After twelve months of uncertainty, what do you want moving forward: – a return to where you were, a smaller leaner business or growth on your pre-pandemic position.
4. What will your business do?
2020 may have meant a change in your product or service offering- is this temporary or has this put your business on a more stable footing with a broader offering. Think about your service and client mix how this has changed and how you want to build from here.
5. How will your business be structured- office or home workers?
I think the office is crucial for team building, knowledge sharing and employee development. We all accept a hybrid model is probably more likely moving forward so how will you structure this – hot-desking, a permanent but smaller office space.
6. How will your employees be supported if they are home-working?
Do they have the space and the right equipment to be homeworking? Not everyone has space for a home office and how long will the lack of commute outweigh working from a bedroom. Consider how you will ensure team working continues, how knowledge will be shared and how any new employees will be onboarded.
7. Is your business profitable?
Given any changes in product offerings, is this work more or less profitable? Have the changes above had an impact on how you deliver your product or service? Do you have visibility of which work or client is more profitable?
8. How are you managing cashflow?
Chris Whitty said there may be further restrictions next Winter – what would this mean for your business. Cash reserves took a massive hit last year so do you have anything left for a bad month? Can you restrict spending for the next few months to build up reserves?
9. Do you know your cash position?
There are still some government support packages in existence and decisions to be made over the next few months. Do you need to use the flexible furlough scheme between now and the end of April? Did you defer your Vat last year and are you going to repay this in one go pre-March or take advantage of the ability to pay by instalments? If you took out a CBILS or a Bounce Back Loan are you going to repay over the next five years or take advantage of the extension available and repay over 9 years.
10. What are the non-work things you have enjoyed about 2020- can you make time for more of them?
I hope that it hasn’t been all bad. For all the grimness that we have lived through there have been moments of joy; – extra time with family, time for walks, new hobbies maybe, zoom quizzes. Give some thought to the things you never usually have time to do but have done last year. Life is not all about work and if we can all find more time to do something joyful then we can at least take something good away from 2020.
Need help with your finances?
Helen Fleet of HF Financial Strategy works as a finance director and guides companies to delivering their financial and business objectives which can include cashflow planning, pricing reviews and ways to improve profitability.
If you’d like to know more about Helen, visit her website here or follow her on LinkedIn.
With the (dare we say it?) unprecedented events of 2020 behind us, it’s time to look ahead to 2021. January is the ideal time to reflect on lessons learned in the previous year and prepare for a successful 12 months.
Now, more than ever, it’s vital to tackle the year head-on armed with as much information and foresight as possible.
Read on to see what we gleaned from the challenges of 2020, and how you can set your business up for a fruitful 2021.
How did we support you through 2020?
Hopefully, we were able to support you and your business during the trials of 2020, whether as a client or simply by reading our blogs for HR advice and suggestions on navigating the many issues the year threw at us.
In a rapidly changing landscape of furlough, redundancies and working from home, we sought to be your HR helpline and respond to your shifting needs. As well as providing plenty of free advice, we also created useful resources to address topical challenges happening in your business.
Finding the positives in 2020, we posted a guest blog full of insightful advice on maximising efficiency, income and budget, as well as encouraging you to recognise your strengths and congratulate yourself on surviving what was undoubtedly one of the most challenging years in business.
Appreciating your positive qualities is a fantastic way to grow, both personally and professionally.
In July, we created a free restructuring toolkit to help you work through the changes in your business from an HR perspective. The kit featured advice on redundancy, a business plan template, meeting record templates, at-risk employee communications and a redundancy notice period template.
Aimed at maximising your reduced budget and limited time, the kit is still available for free on our website – download it here.
Return to work toolkit
Bringing your employees back to work after lockdowns and furlough periods was another task to overcome in 2020. To ease the transition, we created a free HR return to work guide. This pack included risk assessments, Covid-safe workplace advice, office hours tips, flexible working support and wellbeing guidance.
Now we’re in our third lockdown, this pack will once again prove useful when your team returns to the office. Download yours here.
Why is HR important to your business in 2021?
With constant changes occurring in the world of work, HR is the cornerstone of your business and can enable you to support your teams through the pandemic’s everyday challenges.
As HR specialists, we understand your employees’ needs and can help you implement processes and procedures that will support your teams and safeguard your business.
Plus, we stay on top of HR trends, technology and challenges to communicate the critical takeaways to you in a simple, digestible format with clear advice on how you can keep your business protected and productive.
Why you need to start planning your year
Forget diets and detoxes: top of your list of new year’s resolutions should be business planning!
Plotting out your objectives and targets for the year may seem tricky at such a confusing time, but it will provide you with a roadmap through which to steer your business through the coming months.
Setting targets helps you prepare for all eventualities, meaning no nasty surprises. Plus, it can encourage positive changes in behaviour which spark higher retention rates, less pressure and increased productivity among your team.
What’s more, planning the year will enable you to react fast to industry or nationwide changes, understand your budget and funding options better and manage staffing levels successfully.
A crucial part of your planning for the year should include your appraisal schedule. As every business tries to perform to its potential during challenging circumstances, appraisals can help you assess what’s working and what’s not. In doing so, you can carve out a clear action plan to ensure your business maximises its resources to hit key targets.
Find out more about appraisals and download your free guide here.
HR changes post-Brexit
January 2021 sees a new points-based immigration system implemented in the UK, so employers who wish to recruit or retain non-UK citizens must follow specific processes to stay compliant. Plus, employees themselves may have the reapply for residency status.
If you’re unsure about these issues and how they might affect your team, check out our blog on the subject here.
Keep following our blog and social media channels to stay updated on all the latest post-Brexit HR news as it develops over this year.
Preparing for IR35
Originally scheduled to be introduced in April 2020, the IR35 tax legislation will now come into play this April.
For a full explanation of the changes due to be implemented – and how you can prepare for them – check out our blog on IR35 here.
Here to support you
As you take your business into 2021, we want to reassure you that we’ll be here with you every step of the way.
HR is a critical element in the smooth running of your business, especially during challenging periods. So, we will be providing advice, support and guidance at every turn.
Whether you’re a client or you use our free HR resources – like the restructuring toolkit, the return to work toolkit or the appraisals toolkit, for example – we will be working hard for you throughout 2021 and beyond.
Remember, we’re always available for a chat, advice or support – please contact us if we can help your business with any kind of HR guidance.