Yesterday’s announcement by chancellor Rishi Sunak, outlining the rescue package for 95% of the UK’s self-employed, comes as welcome news for the travel industry’s thousands of homeworkers.
As self-employed business owners, homeworkers will be breathing a sigh of relief that they have been rightfully acknowledged.
Over the next few days, no doubt the finer details will become clearer and I hope that any cracks in the legislation will soon become apparent and will be addressed.
Of course, it’s not completely black and white. Those with profits of more than £50,000 look, at present, to be the losers. Books showing £51,000 profit will slip through the net, but then they should be able to tap into the VAT breaks and business interruption loans.
Without a doubt there’s a rocky road ahead for many.
Indeed, the promise of a £2,500 a month taxable grant is much-needed – yet it will go unpaid until June. Yes they can continue to work during that time, but the reality is, sales will be a rare commodity over the next few weeks – possibly months.
And the majority of commissions for what they thought were secured sales have now been either cancelled or deferred, or are hanging in the balance. For those needing to pay bills and living expenses, this will be an anxious three months.
While magnanimous, this grant is not the answer to all their long-term problems.
Homeworkers need to take action themselves. And they need to do it now to safeguard their businesses.
While the immediate priority for homeworkers is to address the barrage of SOS calls from their affected customers – a mean feat in what is a forever-changing legislative landscape – beyond that they need to act to ensure that their businesses are still operating way beyond this crisis.
My advice to every homeworker now is to pick up the phone. Call every single one of your customers. Call every single one of your prospective customers. You’re not calling to clinch a sale – but we can always hope – you’re calling to connect; to cement relationships and to keep the doors of communication wide open. Your phone is your most powerful tool right now – use it.
Now is the time they should be interacting with as many of their contacts and building new relationships as possible – a tricky task while also having to perfect the etiquette of social distancing.
For this reason, we have launched The Business Nation – an online social platform that our consultants can champion in their local area. Free membership will bring together local businesses and local professionals in order for all to share tips and advice, not only to help them ride the Covid-19 storm, but also to future-proof their businesses.
What’s more, for the travel industry specifically, we are very proud to have launched The Travel Nation – a Facebook platform that unites, motivates, educates and inspires the entire sector.
Now is the time we should be pulling together as one and I hope this platform will enable us all to get through this crisis and emerge better educated, more skilled entrepreneurs and stronger people.
Steve Witt, co-founder, Not Just Travel and The Travel Nation