New Virtual Service to Help South West Businesses Survive and Thrive During Lockdown

Inspire, a not for profit company that specialises in providing business support to ambitious SMEs in the South West, has launched a new virtual offering to help businesses survive and thrive during the current crisis.

Latest figures from the Office of National Statistics show that 79% of responding businesses had applied for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and 28% of the workforce had been furloughed, while 42% of responding businesses had less than six months of cash reserves. To make it easier to access support, Inspire has undergone a digital transformation and launched a virtual offering, so businesses that are part of its membership can access a quick, easy, personal and bespoke service, to guide them through the changes and develop robust pandemic-exit strategies.

Inspire is also offering a free lockdown exit planning programme to existing and new members, funded by Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership. The free resource is available to any qualifying SME in the South West and includes:

  • Access to a series of webinars hosted by experts on topics which will form essential parts of an exit plan, such as planning your finances, growing through acquisition, revising your customer proposition to meet a changed world, getting your marketing right, and restructuring and motivating your team.
  • A one to one, virtual planning session with one of the Inspire team to pull all the elements of the plan together. This will include an industry impact analysis, defining the strategy, what to do next, and setting up a new economy initiative.

Rob Perks, CEO of Inspire, comments, “Sadly, we expect many small businesses to struggle or even close completely in the coming weeks due to running out of cash or because their previous market is disappearing. We know some businesses have kept going relatively normally during the last few weeks, but some have not, and being ready to take advantage in a changed world will be challenging for many of us.

“There is a lot of talk about how we as a society will exit lockdown. Shutting down was painful but relatively easy compared to getting fired back up again. We are focused on supporting businesses to create their own bespoke lockdown exit plan over the coming weeks, so they can fire up again and start rebuilding.”

Crossover Technologies, a software provider that specialises in golf and sport retail technologies, has accessed support from Inspire during the COIVD-19 crisis.

Claire Fraser, Managing Director at Crossover Technologies, said, “As you can imagine, it was a blow for us and our customers when they had to shut their doors due to the Coronavirus outbreak. We needed to make quick decisions and adjust our strategy, to protect both us and our customers. Inspire gave us one-to-one advice on how to tackle this challenge and were instrumental in picking apart government and bank guidance, to see what financial support was available to us. Even better was being able to pass this knowledge onto our own customers, to support them through this crisis.”

Inspire has also created a 12-minute video to take businesses through where we are now with the economy and what the future is likely to hold. To find out more about Inspire’s new virtual services, and to join the 100 partners connecting through Inspire in the South West, please visit: www.inspirebiz.co.uk.