BY THE SIDE OF BUSINESSES THROUGH COVID-19

By Ed SavoryBirketts LLP 
The last few months have been brutal. For everyone. Remaining energetic is hard, but as business leaders your role is to invigorate your people and to give them hope, taking everyone with you through this bizarre journey.

Published in Norfolk Director Magazine Summer/Autumn 2020

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Business Legal Advice

One thing to point out is that Birketts is first and foremost a business. In some ways we are several small businesses within a larger business, although we are run by an executive board. Our Board has been exceptional – maintaining calm, acting with measure and providing considered guidance. We understand the Covid-19 challenges being faced, whether it’s furloughing (and unfurloughing) employees, managing cashflow, carefully monitoring aged debts, utilising the Government’s Time to Pay schemes, or negotiating deferrals of rent payments. 

Redefining our culture

As a firm we have recently completed a “Good to Great” programme re-defining our culture which revolves around being a family, not just a firm. Our priority is, and remains, our people followed closely by our clients. Birketts has a very relaxed culture with an entrepreneurial spirit which has blossomed in lockdown. I am blown away with the initiatives’ colleagues have taken – whether it’s flexible working around family commitments, delivering sensational webinars, running an online quiz for over 450 people, or by our CEO, who has been providing regular video updates and calling around to check up on people. 

All this means that when we advise we can empathise, as we are aware of the difficult circumstances many of our clients are facing. Reassuring clients that they are not alone and that we are prepared to continue to advise, even in circumstances where we know the client’s business is at risk (and so we may not get paid) is perhaps more important than anything. 

Prior to lockdown we had on-boarded some advanced technology which has enabled us to function remotely and seamlessly. We have super-charged our teach adoption and we are already reaping the benefits. 

We understand business

Why mention all this? It demonstrates that what we do as a business resonates with every business and allows us to remain relevant to our clients. Staying on the front foot has been essential. As soon as new Covid-19 measures have been rolled out, our teams have immediately jumped on them so that we are equipped to advise. For example, steering businesses through furlough, advising on CBILS and bounce-back loans, supporting re-structuring and re-financing, offering guidance on force majeure clauses, and assisting clients with re-aligning their workforce in response to the pandemic. We have pumped out numerous bulletins and updates so that our clients can learn (for free) about many of the changes.

What has been empowering is working with so many locally based SMEs which have pivoted so quickly and effectively, seeing and taking opportunities, rather than burying heads in the sand. Norfolk is a rural community and businesses have an opportunity to steal a march on the cities and industrial Midlands which are more reliant on large workforces and public transport. 

Working together

When contacting us, our clients must feel comfortable knowing that our objective is to support them in whatever manner suits them best. We have actively strived to remain in touch with as many of them as possible just to let them know “we are here” as and when required.

BY THE SIDE OF BUSINESSES THROUGH COVID-19 1

Ed Savory is a Partner at Birketts. T: 01603 756479 E: edward-savory@birketts.co.uk or visit birketts.co.uk

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