Plan B leaves small businesses with little support – what can they do to protect their future?
The government announced on Wednesday that they were turning to Plan B as the latest step in the fight against the Omicron variant. This has led business leaders to demand more clarity on what Plan B Covid restrictions in England are and how they will affect their business, with firms throughout the UK calling for support as the restrictions imposed could severely damage their business as they head into one of the busiest times of the year.
The fresh restrictions imposed are a massive setback for UK businesses, who were gearing up for a lucrative festive period, with Omicron most likely not being the last Covid variant to emerge, businesses must create consistency in their approaches to combat this variant and prepare themselves for the future. UK businesses must create astute contingency plans, not only to deal with the current situation and limit the effect which Plan B will have on their businesses but also to prepare their companies for future situations.
The world is now on high alert, with the World Health Organization stating that the Omicron variant poses a ‘very high’ global risk, causing stock markets to fall the world over. It was announced on the 27th of November that the first Omicron case had been discovered in the United Kingdom – meaning that UK businesses will likely have to deal with this potential new threat in the near future, with the cases of the original Omicron variant rising in the UK by 101 on Tuesday, taking the total number of cases detected in the UK to 437. The spread of the Omicron variant already appears to be doubling every two to three days, with Omicron likely to be the dominant strain of Covid in the UK before Christmas.
In many ways Omicron is both nothing new and the next frontier of SME’s having to battle Covid. Whether or not Omicron will cause major impact on the economy remains to be seen, however Western Governments are unlikely to provide support additional large scale to SME’s as they would prefer to keep the economy open and utilize various other tactics such as limited capacities, vaccine passports and etc to manage the virus. Consequently, SMEs are going to need to take mitigating the impact of Covid into their own hands.
RWT Growth- a sustainability driven consultant, is dedicated to supporting businesses worldwide and developing corporate strategies to combat the Omicron variant and prepare businesses for the future. With this in mind, founding Partner of corporate advisory firm RWT Growth has analysed what uncertainty could mean for the UK M&A market, especially for SMEs:
Reece Tomlinson, founding Partner of RWT Growth discusses the need of UK businesses to act fast in combatting the Omicron variant:
“The swift turn to Plan B from the government shows that the UK business landscape can change swiftly and with no warning. This is a small glimpse into what is developing into the future for UK businesses, with several Covid variants already emerging and more predicted to develop in the future, businesses must be ready to adapt at the drop of a hat and have an astute crisis plan in place.Their leaders must also successfully prepare their companies to navigate the ever-changing business environment caused by the Covid pandemic, the longer the pandemic continues, the more important creating a safe space and culture for workers becomes.
“There are four critical areas in which UK SMEs must protect themselves against the Omicron variant, firstly you must do the upmost to protect your team, follow protocols and implement policies that ensure Covid is least likely to spread in your workplace. SMEs must implement these policies to ensure that it protects their ability to conduct business by ensuring their workplace is as Covid-free as possible.
“Secondly, SMEs must ensure they instil Covid confidence, with the higher degree of confidence that customers have in your business relating to the more they come and do business with you.
“SMEs must ensure that they also get capitalised, meaning that the company has enough liquidity on the balance sheet to weather disruptions caused to your business and short-term lockdown measures implemented by governments. It is vital to ensure credit facilities are bumped as high as possible to give the SME more leeway if and when it is needed.
“Finally, SMEs must be well stocked, the Omicron variant will likely further challenge the already constrained global supply chains, subsequently causing many retailers to state that as much as 30% of their inventories are in transit, meaning that SMEs will have less products available to sell. It is pivotal that SMEs are adequately stocked, especially considering the additional threat from the Omicron variant, they must be well stock and carry enough inventory needed to continue to thrive during these challenging times.”