PKF Francis Clark has a wealth of experience in supporting businesses in a wide range of sectors to review their strategy and find the best way forward in uncertain times. Here, Andrew Killick and Lucinda Coleman share their views on how to prepare your business for life post-COVID-19.
How has your business strategy changed as a result of the pandemic?
Within the space of just a few months, the world has been radically altered by a global public health crisis whose effects are being felt in every region and almost every sector. In many cases, long established ways of doing business are no longer viable, and few commentators expect a return to business as usual.
Business owners are re-evaluating their future plans in light of this new reality, and those who respond quickly and intelligently will be best placed to thrive in the years ahead. Those who don’t risk being left behind by more agile competitors.
Andrew Killick, corporate finance partner at PKF Francis Clark, said: “COVID-19 has had such a profound impact on our economy that few businesses will emerge from this crisis looking exactly as they did at the start of 2020.
“The impact of the pandemic is different for every business. At one end of the spectrum, some are having to adapt and scale up to capitalise on new opportunities, while at the other end many have suffered major disruption and significant financial damage.
“Now is the time to step back, consider the bigger picture and ask yourself some fundamental questions about the future of your business.”
PKF Francis Clark has brought together experts from across the firm to launch a new Covid Business Review service. The aim is to help business owners to refocus or restart their operations as we enter a new era.
Key components of a Covid Business Review include:
- A comprehensive assessment of your existing assets – including intellectual property, skills and connections, as well as physical assets
- Analysis of how your marketplace is changing
- A fundamental review of how your assets and skillsets could be used to exploit emerging opportunities
- Setting out your options, including potential routes to market and financial projections
- Recommendations and actions
For some companies, the impacts of COVID-19 are likely to prove temporary but will still be felt for an extended period of time.
Andrew added: “We are working with business owners to help them understand how their market has changed since the pandemic, so they are fit for the future.
“The first step is understanding where your business is right now, before exploring how your physical and non-physical assets can be used profitably going forward. This could be as simple as a pub or hotel turning under-used outdoor space into a venue for socially-distanced events.
“Our ethos of shared ambition means all our energy and expertise is focused on helping our clients to succeed.”
For businesses which are more financially troubled as a result of COVID-19, an objective analysis of the situation and potential routes forward can be the key to survival.
This is particularly important as the withdrawal of government support schemes, coupled with creditor overhang from the crisis period, puts strain on cash flows. In some cases, directors will need carefully to consider their duties.
Lucinda Coleman, business recovery partner at PKF Francis Clark, said: “The earlier you seek advice, the more options you are likely to have. By being involved at an early stage, we can often find creative alternatives to a formal insolvency process to keep a business trading, enhance its opportunities and safeguard employment.
“Often this will involve working with all the stakeholders to find common interest in the future success of the business.”