Supporting your business during coronavirus (COVID-19)
Find out what you can expect from us as well as ways to support your business
Putting our customers first
Some of our customers have implemented unique strategies to continue offering their services and overcome the fact that their customer base has begun self-isolating, or to assist NHS workers. While these measures might not be viable for every business, it’s worth considering how exactly you could cater your business accordingly.
What 123 Reg is doing
Want to know what we’re doing to assist our customers and employees during COVID-19? Check out some of the most frequently asked questions below.
As the government begins easing the lockdown and allowing non-essential retail shops to open, businesses will need to implement new measures to stay in accordance with social distancing rules. For example, these measures may include providing hand washing facilities or hand sanitiser, cleaning busy areas and limiting how much customers handle merchandise.
Companies will also need to instate measures that ensure customers are kept 2 metres apart from each other, such as floor markings or physical barriers. For further details, including which types of businesses are exempt, be sure to check the government’s . You can also use this to check what your workplace needs to do to keep people safe.
International business travel
Although travelling internationally is not recommended at this time, if it’s a necessity for your business then you’ll need to take a few precautions. Before and while you’re travelling, be sure to check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s travel advice for the country you’re visiting as well as their official coronavirus requirements.
Once you arrive back in the UK, you may need to self-isolate for 14 days, unless the country you visited is on the government’s . If your journey includes any transit stops, this rule also applies should any new passengers get on or if any passengers mix with people outside the transport and then get back on .
As always, please refer to the government’s as well as the for any further developments.
Make sure that you inform customers about any changes to your service operations, opening hours or delivery options as soon as possible. Furthermore, be sure to announce these changes across your entire website and social media channels.
Honesty and transparency are always appreciated and, given current circumstances, most people will understand if it’ll take longer for them to receive their goods.
In any case, any messages sent out to your customers should be as brief and clear as possible, since many will probably be busy dealing with the effects of the outbreak on their personal lives.
If, like us and many other companies, you’re now working from home, it’s worth downloading video conferencing and messaging software to ensure a smooth transition. Some great options include:
- – a free version is available that offers unlimited chat and video calling, although you may already have Teams if you’re subscribed to our
- – host unlimited one-to-one meetings or 40-minute sessions with 3 or more people on a free Basic account. Our (excluding Starter) include Zoom meeting tools as standard. Zoom has suspended this time limit and you can request to have this restriction lifted by
- – make free group video calls for up to 10 contacts
- – send automated messages and quick replies to potential clients
- – broadcast live events to your customers
With more businesses placing a greater emphasis on their online presence, here are a selection of easy-to-use marketing and design tools that can help you boost your company image and workflow process:
- – enhance your social media images and graphics
- – create professional-looking designs for your images, gift vouchers and more
- – a library of free, high-quality stock photos
- – send surveys that collate your customers’ feedback
- – organise your work and collaborate with your colleagues
- – manage your social media from one place
- – get up to £120 in credit for Google ads
Helpful blog articles
Here are a few articles we’ve produced featuring general tips and advice on how you can adapt your business and make the most out of the current situation.
In addition to this, the government has launched that will support small and medium-sized businesses that need access to bank lending and overdraft services, provided they have an annual turnover of up to £45 million. For start-up companies that are unable to apply for this scheme, the government has also announced the , which offers these innovative businesses loans ranging from £125,000 to £5 million. This loan is subject to equal match funding from private investors and the business having raised £250,000 in equity investment from third-party investors within the last 5 years.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
If your employees have been placed on furlough, you may be able to claim 80% of their wages, up to £2,500 per month, along with any National Insurance and pension contributions through the government’s . From 1 July, employers can bring furloughed employees back to work for any amount of time and any shift pattern and will still be able to claim this grant for any normal hours not worked. When claiming for furloughed hours, employers will need to report and claim for a minimum period of a week.
However, this scheme will close to new entrants from 30 June and employers will only be able to furlough employees that have been furloughed for a full 3-week period prior to 30 June. As such, the final date an employer can furlough an employee for the first time will be 10 June. Employers will have until 31 July to make any claims in respect of the period to 30 June.
Bounce Back Loans
Since some businesses have missed out on or don’t meet the criteria for existing schemes, they may apply for a , which serves as a simpler and quicker alternative to the Business Interruption Loan Scheme. To qualify, a firm must be UK based, established before 1st March 2020 and been adversely impacted by the coronavirus, whereupon they could receive up to £50,000. All lenders will charge a flat rate of 2.5%, while the government will cover the cost of fees and interest for the first 12 months and guarantee 100% of the loan if the firm defaults.
Plans for Jobs 2020
In addition to this, the government has unveiled its Plan for Jobs which will support the UK’s economic growth, employment rate and public finances going forward. Among the most prominent points of this policy include:
- The Job Retention Bonus scheme, which will encourage UK employers to keep on furloughed workers by rewarding firms with one-off payments of £1,000 for every furloughed employee who remains continuously employed through to the end of January 2021
- Implementing a temporary VAT cut on supplies of food and non-alcoholic drinks, from 15 July 2020 to 12 January 2021, to support jobs and businesses within the hospitality sector, such as bars, restaurants, pubs and cafés. This reduced rate of VAT also applies to supplies of accommodation as well as admission to attractions across the UK
- Temporarily cutting Stamp Duty Land Tax to help protect and create jobs as well as boost confidence in the housing market. As part of it, the Nil Rate Band of Residential SDLT will be increased to £500,000 until 31 March 2021 and cut the tax due for everyone who would have otherwise paid SDLT
If, however, you’re facing immediate cashflow issues, you may be able to to HMRC by calling their helpline on . Alternatively, you could get in touch with the , an independent office dedicated to assisting small businesses affected by late or unfair payment issues.
It’s also worth checking to see if you’re covered by your business insurance – especially if you’ve purchased supply chain or denial of access cover – since the Chancellor has that the government’s advice is sufficient for businesses to make a claim, where they have appropriate interruption cover for pandemics in place.
As always, you should stay on top of the latest information and advice for businesses on the government’s website and the latest health guidance from the and .