Updated: Apr 17, 2020
So, we're locked down for at least another three weeks. Which means I guess I'm committed to a few more of these...which I suppose is a positive ?
Speaking for the cross section of businesses that I am regularly talking to, it strikes me that we are a particularly resilient bunch. Nobody has thrown in the towel, continuing that analogy nobody has had the towel taken away.
Everyone I'm talking to is framing their conversations along the lines of 'when' they reopen, not 'if', constructive conversations are taking place about refinancing.
Most are talking in terms of using this time to make some overdue changes, whether that is pruning staff resource, shaving overheads or completely rewriting their website whilst closed.
And in the context of the predicted 35% shrinkage of the economy that's got to be a good thing. Let's make sure we all sit in the other 65% !
Perhaps the final word on the subject should go to someone older and wiser than me, who this afternoon stated the fact'No-one said that being in business would be easy'. How true.
Remember, if you have 'missed' any previous editions, they can be found at
What are my positives today:-:
1. It's so funny watching people look like criminals
My desk looks out over the our front drive. A van cruised past very slowly then stopped on the side of the road. It caught my eye.
The driver looks all around him. Pulls up his hoodie and puts his sunglasses on.
He tiptoes (no exaggeration) around the back of the van with something under his arm. He opens the passenger door.
I'm expecting him to walk through our (open) gate but all of a sudden he sprints, vaults the wall and dashes to the front door.
Something is thrown to the ground and then he sprints away, vaults the wall again and throws himself into the van through the passenger door. The engine revs, the wheels spin and he's off whilst still doing his self belt up.
Was it an illicit bag of contraband ? Some blackmarket toilet rolls ? Was it all because the lady loves Milk Tray ?
Sadly not, just a carrier bag of bank statements.
2. I received a flattering email from a competitor. A much larger firm, well respected locally It told me what they were doing about making furlough claims for clients, how they were going about it and what they needed clients to do.
I recognised the content of the email. Aside from being sent six days after the one I sent out on the subject it had things in the same order as mine, reached the same conclusions and requested the same information. The wording used was strangely familiar
All it lacked was the same timetable that ours did, (perhaps just as well given that they will have missed all our deadlines) and it wasn't our phone number at the bottom.
What's that about imitation being the best form of flattery ?
3. I found a use for studying Air Law
When getting a pilot's licence there a number of mainly dull written exams to pass. The driest by some margin is Air Law. So dull that most flying schools insist you pass it before sending you solo - they know there needs to be a considerable carrot to make you pass it.
A bit like the Highway Code, once you have your licence, you know it's there, you know what you need to know and otherwise just kind of leave it dormant.
Today, in the context of a client complaining about drones over their locked down property I found myself being able to talk knowledgeably about maximum heights (400 feet), compulsory registration and line of sight (must be able to see it with the naked eye). Now my question is,can I retrospectively put my training costs through as a business expense ?
And what am I talking to clients about today ?
When can the furlough money be expected ? HMRC have gone public on this and said that they expect to pay it out six working days after the claim is made.
The portal is supposed to go live on Monday 20th. Assuming that it works, and assuming that it can cope with the demand, that means that claims made on Monday should be paid out by Tuesday 28th.
Are redundancies looming ? Furlough's all well and good, but at the end of May, unless extended, the scheme stops. Furloughing was an easy decision in many respects - send the staff home, change their status, pay them the amount and the Government picks up the tab.
But what about when the Government stops paying ? Is the business going to be able and/or willing to re-employ those people at its own cost ?
I sense the answer to that in many respects will be 'no', in which case redundancy kicks in, and with it the minefield that is employment law. Making sure that you have consultation periods, fairness in selection etc. And whilst I'm happy to be a sounding board, it's an area where legal advice is needed.
It might be worth talking to an employment lawyer or one of the many HR Consultancy firms about this. Like most of us they are generally working remotely and under quite a bit of pressure right now, so I suggest striking a relationship and getting some advice sooner rather than later.
Stay safe, until tomorrow
Early stage of the lockdown we found this Amaryllis languishing in the greenhouse. It had a shoot so we brought it indoors, to be rewarded with this