Stu’s take on Coronavirus


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Stuart Wood from Woodshires shares his blog regarding the current coronavirus pandemic.

Right then first things first, I am by no means an expert in anything. . . barr which beer should be ordered first in a beer garden. I’m not here to share an opinion on the severity of the current situation or how best to arrange toilet roll into a throne configuration, but I would like to shed some positivity on how to proactively get through what will be a testing time for many businesses.

One other item I would like to address is the name of this Virus, for this blog I am renaming it to LV (Lager Virus), this is mainly because I do love a bottle of Corona and don’t wish to tarnish the lovely beers name. . . 🙂

Now, some people reading this will already know me and some may not, so I’ll be quick with the life story! My Name is Stu Wood and I am the owner/director in a couple of different Birmingham based businesses. I am today going to run through my core business Woodshires (Tax Consultancy) and how we are using this time positively and pro-actively to help our clients but also us as a team.

March 2020 is the start of a journey for us all and especially in business. Whether you own your own business or are employed in another, this is the time for us all to remain pro-active and make positive changes that will affect the way we all work from this day forward. Let’s use this LV as a positive spin to change the way in which we all work to push better efficiencies.

I have set out below my thought process for this time and what I intend to do. Maybe it will help you or waist a couple of minutes of your time whilst seating on the toilet roll throne!

For the team!

Step 1 – Don’t worry or panic!
If we all could make money from worrying, we would be all be exceedingly rich! One thing to remember is that we are still a country of 66+ million people who all need product and service even when they are all at home. We all must realise that we are all still here, just maybe not out and about as much for a few weeks/months. So a reduction in beers which does make me very sad indeed!

Step 2 – Work smart not hard
This will be carved into my tombstone as I am naturally a lazy so ‘n’ so. So clients are cancelling meetings, networking and social activities and drying up. . . dooooooom! Well no, now is a perfect time to re-engage and use new technologies to still keep conversations flowing. We all have LinkedIn, we can all use items such as Google Hangouts and Zoom to keep the conversations flowing. Clean up the data and re-engage with your clients. Diversify your offering and look at other ways you can help your clients. We are using this time to cleanse our data and look to re-engage with all our clients proactively to see if we can do anything to help them.

Step 3 – Look at the expenditure
When I say look at the expenditure, I don’t mean panic and don’t spend anything. If anything I mean look at investing more. A reduction in cost for travel and entertainment will inevitably happen. So use these funds effectively to generate more business and interest. Look at your brand strategy, engage with professionals to help you. This time is to reflect on your business and how you engage with others, use it effectively and create some new opportunities.

Step 4 – Plan for the positive outcome
We can all either self-isolate into nothingness orrrr plan for the sun shining out the back of this dilemma. This time will be the making of most businesses and individuals and will show some true colours. My advice is always to plan ahead, write out on paper a 6-month goal/target both personal and professional and focus on that. Work your way back to March/April as these will be the toughest times and know that these months will be spent not out, but in working on your business. We have had our last group meeting on Monday to specifically do this, now we all know what we should do for the next few months to hit our goal in 6.

I know these things are bloody simple and are pretty obvious, but it can be very common for people to overlook the most obvious and concentrate on the very negative in such a testing time! Being smart and working efficiently is the key; even quiet time is positive time!

For our clients

For Woodshires, this time will see an increase in demand. Our job is and has always been to help companies gain access to as much tax relief as possible and at this time it is imperative to assist with their cashflow. One simple item to look into for any business is to ask your accountant (or us, obviously) if there are any HMRC reliefs you should be claiming and get as much relief back into your account as possible.

The HMRC have many reliefs that sit within and help multiple sectors. So for this little snippet, I’m going to give some free advice. Research & Development tax credits; if you are not claiming it, you should be. To put it simply if your business has a new or existing product, idea or system that you are developing or adapting then the time and costs incurred could qualify for the R&D Tax Credit. Now is the time to look into this as even if you are a loss-making company you can gain a cash relief!

You may believe you are already claiming or been told you can’t claim. There are fantastic specialists all over the country and they will advise you if there is a claim for free. My best advice is always to seek independent advice. We have had toooo many cases where clients have massively underclaimed or have been told they can not claim. This is down to not understanding a business and the process within it, although R&D is a tax relief it is actually more about understanding the business itself and how it does what it does.

This relief in most instances does result in a considerable cash relief so pleaseeeeeee make sure you are looking into it fully, especially during this time.

My final note
Let us all remember that we are all still here. It is incredibly important that we all understand our natural reaction is to self-isolate. But we must push past this and more than ever reach out to everyone we know. Collectively we have the best understanding and expertise to help one another come through the LV smelling of roses! Use the time effectively and think smart about gaining more business and how you positively conduct that relationship.

Although we will be all locked up in our homes, drinking beer on our toilet roll thrones, we can at least keep making positive changes to our work and make much more of it in the long run!

Much love to all;

Stu Wood

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