A quarter of shops in Southend on sea closed during the pandemic.

Highstreets are bare.

People working from home are fighting to keep their businesses alive, but the government lacks any practical support for smaller teams that are struggling to keep the cash flowing.

Craig says “Bounce back loans bridged the gap in some instances, but now I am seeing these businesses struggling to pay them back which is taking them back directly to square one. You can negotiate to extend your repayment schedule – but by that point most of those in charge are burnt out and overwhelmed by all the other demands of their business.”

NOA reported in March 2021 that estimated 37% of Bounce Back Loans worth £17 billion would not be repaid. This represents both legitimate and fraudulent loans however a significant proportion were taken up by business who want to repay but are unable to either because their business closed, is close to insolvency or because they had little insight into the long-term impact of the scheme and their long-term profitability.

“The money was false support, it lacked longevity though I know many were grateful for the help at the time – now we need a structured way forward for these businesses to operate if we are going to make it through the next few years.”

“It’s not about providing more cash, it’s about giving businesses the tools to manage what they have well and safeguard the position of their organisation.”

This isn’t just about retail, or service providers. Consider the impact this is having on private care homes, nurseries, home and building maintenance businesses, and private healthcare services. We are going to lose these critical services without action.

There is a much bigger impact to consider.

As a result of all of this – the wellbeing and financial security of families are under increasing pressure. We need our local businesses to thrive if we are going to maintain and healthy and productive community.

If you are struggling to recover payment, cash income is over stretched, or you are worried about defaulting on a payment yourself – It’s not too late to turn things around.

It’s time to take control

There are some key things business can do TODAY to get themselves in a better position going forward.

·       Make sure you get a credit check before undertaking any work. This is critical.

·       Clearly define your payment terms and share the process of how you or your business will approach the recovery of debt.

If you are interested in supporting Craig in his mission, and have services to offer your community – please sign up to ‘Take Control’ at www.creditcontrolservices.co.uk/takecontrol

You can also apply for access to a credit control analysis workshop to explore your position and options at ‘Take Control’ at www.creditcontrolservices.co.uk/takecontrol. There is a prequalifying form to ensure this service, normally £300.00 is only access for free by the businesses that need it. (Financial teams of 5 people or less, Under 3m turnover, significant debt challenges, for businesses based in the Essex area). If you know someone that could use this support, please spread the word.

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Is anyone else watching the hashtagnews this morning? We want to support our local hashtagessexbusiness community. Get in touch for a free workshops (check you qualify).