Look to the ELITE for a way forward

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to cause disruption to businesses across the UK, and globally, the importance of managing businesses effectively has never been greater.

Umerah Akram is head of business development, ELITE, London Stock Exchange Group

The Government has announced a number of supporting measures for businesses of all sizes but especially SMEs, including business rates relief, grants, and wage and loan support.

Listed companies have been able to turn to the public markets to raise capital to strengthen their balance sheets. In addition to financial support, scenario planning and sharing of best practices remains vital to business stability and long-term growth during this crucial time.

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Each business’s priorities will be dependent on factors such as working capital requirements, workforce, sector and supply chain. With a high proportion of the population now working remotely, companies need look at ways to keep employees motivated, engaged and productive. There are also the contractual obligations to clients to consider. Covid-19 has also exposed supply chain vulnerabilities in many businesses, meaning planning a short-term response as well as developing longer-term processes for improved supply chain management.

With the full economic impact of Covid-19 still unknown, and the easing of lockdown still undetermined, businesses are continually facing immediate financial implications, not only on cash flow management, but also on tax and accounting practices. Maintaining good communication with stakeholders is key for companies during this period.

At ELITE, London Stock Exchange Group’s offering for private companies, we are helping our companies assess the impact of Covid-19 on their businesses and accordingly devise resilient growth plans that consider five key aspects: people; sales; operations and supply chain; cost optimisation; and liquidity. Creating an action plan for each of these and tapping into expert advice will help companies emerge stronger.

In the days after lockdown, we realised that many of our clients were either dealing with immediate challenges or pausing to assess the impact. With a plethora of information out there, we launched #ELITEtogether to help bring valuable insights and practical advice from ELITE partners, stakeholders and businesses to ELITE companies and the broader SME community.

Companies have the benefit of learning from others’ experiences and also being better informed when navigating and adapting to evolving challenges. In addition, #ELITEtogether provides a platform for discussion and a forum toshare ideas.

Over the weeks we have seen many SMEs including our ELITE companies continue to innovate and contribute to addressing the challenges to us as a country. Robotics engineering business and Blythe based ELITE company, Tharsus, has developed a tech solution to support social distancing in the workplace. Company Shop is working creatively to deliver food essentials to those isolating. Benevolent AI has used artificial intelligence to analyse an approved drug that may have potential as a coronavirus treatment.

As the global response to the Covid-19 continues and businesses adjust their operations to comply with the latest government advice, effective management to ensure resilience and drive innovation will remain critical. At ELITE, and across LSEG, we remain passionate about supporting companies from across the country, working in collaboration with large and small businesses, capital providers, stakeholders and partners to help rebuild and reopen the UK economy.

For further information on ELITE please visit: www.elite-network.com #ELITEtogether