No one could have predicted what was going to happen in March 2020, and like so many businesses ours was affected too. Lockdown hurt. All our staff at home from March 24th with laptops and like so many others, trying to work as best as they could.
We did better than do the best we could, in fact we smashed it…
The first thing we did was to contact every single customer that had an agreement with us to check they were ok. Whether that was by phone call, or e-mail, we made sure we contacted them.
Although it affected our income drastically, without hesitating we arranged new payment plans to reduce outgoings for many customers and are still having conversations with our customers to help them through this difficult period.
As soon as we were given the green light we were delighted to be able to offer Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Schemes (CBILS) and encouraged other customers to take up bounce back loans if we felt that was a better option for them, even though it wasn’t a product we offered.
On many occasions, we’ve been pleased to act as a business advisor as much as a supplier.
And to give you an example, one of our many loyal Credo customers, with more than 30 current agreements, faced the challenges that many of us did when the pandemic hit its peak in March.
The initial support from Credo was liaising with lenders to arrange payment holidays and forbearance to limit outgoings. This firm’s cashflow had generally been fairly steady, but with the unknown ahead, the business had to look to limit outgoings.
Once this was organised in a timely fashion, the client turned their focus on to how they might take advantage of government support; a local government grant was received for £10,000 but for a firm whose turnover is in the millions of pounds, this didn’t stretch far. Their Credo contact, Lewis Buckley, supported to explore the government backed loan facilities. The firm quickly removed the Bounce Back Loan from their radar as they deemed the facility too small to support their business. Their bank was also in touch to discuss a CBILS facility however this was quickly declined, despite year of year growth & profits due to the bank being fully committed with overdraft facility support.
Fortunately, Credo were able to support further by accessing 2 loan facilities via partner banks. Both facilities were written for £100,000 which both supported the businesses initial cashflow requirements, but also allowed them the cashflow to kickstart the business post-lockdown. The firm complete most of their works on 30-day terms, so cashflow to enable materials to be purchased for works initially was crucial and having access to capital to commit to new contracts & jobs was critical to the firms recovery plans.