The TBN Weekly Bulletin – 30/03/20

Dave Clarke – 2XL Commercial Finance

Future finance outlook and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)

As we continue to move through these unprecedented times, the health and well being of 2XL’s clients, introducers and team remains our leading priority.  Like many businesses 2XL has been greatly affected by the current situation but we remain open for business and are keen to support as many clients as possible, utilising our expertise and strong lender relationships to access funding.

2XL has been closely monitoring government updates and we remain in frequent dialogue with all our panel lenders, as the details of CBILS become clearer. We can provide the following key update, based on real world interpretation of the guidance received, not just a relay of information supplied by lenders.

  • CBILS is only available if a business does not qualify for funding via traditional lending sources, which 2XLS can help you determine. This is not a support blanket that is available to all businesses.
  • The scheme has been designed to support businesses in the absence of other funding availability; there must be a specific need or a case that a business is taking precautionary measures to safeguard its future.
  • The CBILS scheme will be available to businesses who can demonstrate a viable business proposition but who have insufficient security to be able to access funding in the ordinary course of business.
  • Those businesses that have access to available security would follow a Business as Usual process with any suitable lender.
  • The Government will provide a guarantee to a lender in relation to 80% of the required funding for between £25k – £5m. The scheme will run for an initial period of 6 months and will make finance available on a fee free basis, with no interest payable during the first 12 months and no capital repayment requirements for the first 6 months.
  • ”Available” security includes the personal assets of the Directors in addition to a Debenture and other tangible security; please contact us so we can explain this in more detail.
  • A financially viable customer is one that can demonstrate sustainable profitability and cash generation over time, pre-Coronavirus, to the extent that all its operating payments and financial obligations are sufficiently satisfied. Fundamentally, a business should be able to reasonably demonstrate that it expects to reproduce this historic performance in the future (post Coronavirus).
  • Typically, businesses will need to provide a range of information for both CBILS and standard lending which will include (but not limited to): Financial Accounts for last 3 years (if sole trader or partnership – Tax returns and Management Accounts); an overview of the business; a summary for the use of funds and personal income; expenditure for all Directors / Owners.

2XL has a long history of dealing with the Enterprise Finance Guarantee Scheme, which is very similar in nature to the CBILS.  Please get in touch for our full support regarding any lending requirements your business may have, including eligibility for the various finance packages that are available.

Dave Clark – 07842 191427

Heather Enticott – Compleat Conference

What could possibly go wrong?!

A few weeks ago, when a pandemic was unimaginable, I thought I would write a piece about some of the situations that have happened since working within the events industry.  I have always prided myself on being able to think on my feet, adapt to changing circumstances and deal with situations moment by moment as they happen. 

So now there’s another event to add to the list and this one makes all the others seem quite unimportant.  Here are just a few and I hope they make you smile. 

But, where is the wall?

Upon arriving at a venue for a two day residential conference for around 150 people I was confused by the layout of the main meeting room and the exhibition space which seemed to have been flipped making the main meeting room way too long and the exhibition space too small.  

This isn’t how I remember it from our site visit I said; the rooms are a different size.  Oh, says the venues conference organiser – did no one tell you, we knocked down the wall and moved it to here? No says I, it would have been good to know as these rooms no longer work for our event.  No, we realised this when we were setting up, so we have put your meeting in the exhibition space and your exhibition in the meeting space.  It still doesn’t work I said – we won’t all fit during the break time and the underfloor AV cabling is in the wrong room.  Hmm I see what you mean, could be a bit of a problem, I’ll get our technician to come up.  

Lots of head scratching later we were not much further on.  Off I went to meet with the client who had just arrived, suggesting they go for supper and I meet with them a little later as I had a few things to check.  Is everything alright they ask?  Oh yes, go and enjoy your evening I won’t be long.  Some hours later and then a 6am meeting with the technician and we finally get the AV working and the layout in a format which we can just about work with.  The only downside of a happy client who has no idea what has gone on is the suggestion that ‘this venue is good value; do you think we should re-book for next year’? 

I’m on the train…

Time is passing and the opening of the Congress is getting closer – where is my keynote speaker and why is she not answering her phone?  Finally, the call comes in – ‘I have a bit of a problem, I decided to delay my travel and just come up this morning; I am on the train but we have been held outside the city – we are moving again but it’s going to be tight’.  Stay calm, what can we swap, who could fill – plan B is quickly in place.

Then with just moments to spare the taxi pulls up – as we ‘walk’ to the auditorium she hands me her coat and says, sorry about that it will be fine – accessing the stage from the front, she allows the mic to be fixed and with the calmest of voices she starts – good morning everyone – and delivers the most impressive and professional presentation like nothing has happened. The audience delighted and none the wiser – I however may have just one or two extra

Why am I not on the programme?

Seeing one of my team being given a really hard time at the registration desk I go over to check what is happening.  A very angry ‘speaker’ has just arrived; she is furious.  She has travelled all the way from Europe, and she is not on the programme.  Stay calm, don’t panic, how on earth has this happened.  I just don’t remember inviting her and it seems strange she doesn’t know which day or at what time she should be speaking.

We ask her to allow us to look into this and assure her we will get it sorted.  We go back to check our system and have no record, nothing.  I return to speak to her again, does she have a letter or an email – she doesn’t but she will get her secretary to send it over.  We wait, the email arrives – it would appear she is at the wrong conference – same subject matter – wrong town – wrong date – exit stage left!  Not even a sorry about that!  Ah well on with the event. Next!

Can anyone smell gas?

900 attendees – all going well – then a room manager appears advising they can smell gas in their room.  Venue staff rapidly check, and they agree – alarms start ringing – everyone out – turns out a lorry delivering to the exhibition hall below has driven into the hall and not turned off his engine – not gas but also not good…

Sorry we burned the breakfast.

It was a very wet morning and for once I was glad I had been on site so early. Having left the hotel as the sun was rising, I crossed to the venue to prepare for the day. Not long after leaving the hotel the fire alarm went off. Poor colleagues, speakers and attendees – some dressed, some straight from the shower and some straight from their beds, all congregating on the pavement and left standing whilst the fire brigade did their checks.

On this occasion I was oblivious until they arrived – turns out the hotel kitchen had burned the breakfast. Not one I could have done anything about but I have never since that day stayed in a hotel without a coat which I can grab to make myself decent if I ever have to evacuate a hotel.

It does seem to be stuck over Glasgow.

The conference date is getting closer, 1400 national and international delegates are travelling to Glasgow and all flights are grounded due to the Icelandic ash cloud.  With around 100 speakers invited from as far as Australia and as close as Glasgow – what is the solution?  We can’t cancel; the hundreds of UK delegates can get to us just fine but how do we deliver the programme?

Some lengthy conversations with AV technicians, speakers and clients and we put a plan B in place.  Our overseas speakers will relay their presentations to the conference and we will record for those who cannot not fly in.  No big deal nowadays but something less common in 2010.  Thankfully the cloud moved just in time, flights were back on, everyone arrived safely and we reverted to plan A.   I thought that one was big! 

And now we have COVID-19.

The clue is in our name ‘Compleat Conference’ – we work in events.  Some of you will know we also specialise in Healthcare Events – and everything in our calendar is cancelled until September.  Many of our clients, our speakers and our attendees are currently working on the front line of our amazing NHS.  They are exhausted, they are working to save the lives of those we know and love and we must stay home.  We will come out of this and we will recover but only if we all do exactly as we are being asked and #StayHomeSaveLives 

These are the toughest of times and before last week I didn’t have a plan B for this one.  I do now and I am refocussing to non-conference activities for the foreseeable future.  I know many of you will be doing the same and finding your own plan B.  I have received some wonderful emails and calls from other small businesses and TBN members offering help and support and I offer the same to each of you.  If you think I can help, I will do my best.   

Stay safe, stay well and most importantly stay home. Sending my best wishes to you all.