Online support resources for businesses

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Alert

Many businesses are facing their toughest period of trading. For help, support and guidance, organisations are offering online assistance at this time, with access to business support and training on responding to the impact of Covid-19, including advice on regulation and adapting business models to support survival.

Across Waltham Forest, we have seen examples of local businesses tailoring their services online, working in partnerships to expand their offer and supporting the care sector to support our most vulnerable. Others are using the time to prepare for future trading conditions by improving their social media and marketing offer.  

Below, we highlight some of the available advice, support and training resources. 

The London Growth Hub portal has brought together essential resources to help your business manage and mitigate its exposure to the impact of coronavirus. Access free one-to-one support via their call centre to: 

  • Understand and access financial help, including the extensive financial assistance being made available by the government 

  • Start continuity planning to deal with the potential impacts of COVID-19 

  • Address and manage challenging sales, supplier, staffing and retention issues 

The North East Growth Hub has a useful Covid toolkit with more information.

The British Library's Business & IP Centre has a number of helpful, free webinars being held over the upcoming weeks. Topics change regularly and include:

  • Doing business research at home
  • Financial Friday: cashflow during COVID
  • Business planning
  • Stop procrastinating and get more done when working from home
  • Networking for success
  • Introduction to intellectual property
  • Daily meditation for freelancers and founders

and much more. To sign up for any that might be of interest to you, please visit the BIPC website.

Start-ups in London Libraries (SiLL) is designed to help aspiring entrepreneurs turn their business idea into a reality. By collaborating with our key delivery partner, the British Library, and our network of 10 London borough libraries, we are able to deliver grassroots support on your doorstep. Whether you have always wanted to start a business, or have just taken your first steps into entrepreneurship, we will give you the skills, information and know-how you need to build a viable business. This is done through the provision of ERDF-funded workshops, networking events, and 1:1 meetings with a local Start-ups Champion.  

SiLL has temporarily postponed all workshops, events, and in-person 1:1 sessions, but you can still access support services. Entrepreneurs are offered 1:1s over the phone on 07977 678447. Business and research enquiries can be emailed to Waltham Forest’s Start-up Champion for assistance. Join our local start-up WhatsApp group to stay connected.. Events will be running again in the near future depending on government advice. 

Building Legacies Develop your business in many different areas from Compliance to Branding, Leadership & Management to Mobile Content Creation and Procurement. Building Legacies helps your company grow by winning more business and will switch from face to face and group support to webinars, podcasts, and one-to-many video conferencing technologies. 

LBWF businesses who are on the Building Legacies programme and require support should contact their dedicated Business Growth Manager (Simon Lewin) on email simon.lewin@elbp.co.uk or mobile  07583 092735. You can also arrange with Simon to hold meetings via other appropriate media (Zoom, FaceTime, Skype, video conferencing etc). 

LBWF SME businesses who are not yet members of Building Legacies and who require access to FREE business support should register via the link on the home page of the website.

Forge  is a free 'scale up' business support programme for creative businesses located at and around the Blackhorse Lane Creative Enterprise Zone. Workshops and support are currently being offered online. 

Our new emergency series of Business Advice Webinars will draw on the expertise of businesses across the NLA network to offer critical advice to our members on business planning in current market conditions.

Marketing and sales Click to get info

Independents Day UK are launching a new video advice series for indie retailers affected by the Covid-19 lockdown, with experts from a number of fields answering your questions on digital marketing, accessing finance and more. Sign up at https://mailchi.mp/c58fc7f2273c/independentsdayuk 

TechPixies have launched free online workshops where you can learn about social media trends, SMART goals, money making strategies, and how to freelance to support your marketing and sales targets. 

Free social media marketing courses and sales courses are available on e-learning sites like Alison to help you up your skill levels in these areas. 

Selling Goods Online Click to get info

Become a Deliveroo take-away/delivery partner. Payments to partners have changed from bi-weekly to daily pay-out, to help cashflow – read Deliveroo’s daily payments from their FAQ. To keep everyone safe, they have created guides for contact-free deliveries as well as guides for running a delivery-only kitchen.  

eBay has pledged to support small business owners by offering a 30-day payment holiday for existing sellers and is waiving fees for all new businesses registering to list or sell until 31st May 2020. Find out full details here

  • First 250 listings per month free insertion fees (IF) and no ‘final value fee’ (FVF)  

  • Expected to help 99% of every new business-to-consumer seller listing on the site  

  • Sellers don’t need to do anything extra to take advantage of this offer. 

Open an Etsy shop

Advertise and sell on Amazon Marketplace.  

Selling services online Click to get info

Peopleperhour and Fiverr are both websites where freelancers can post about their skills and sell services direct to consumer.  

LinkedIn is a great tool for blogging about expertise and service offerings, and it is directly connected to expansive networks.  

Services can be sold through advertisements with groups like FacebookInstagramLinkedIn and Google Ads. These have helpful tracking tools to see how many people were reached and engaged in the ad.  

Teams, Zoom, Slack, OneDrive, Planner: Remote Working advice from ICAEW. Many of the software companies are offering 3-6 months free access to their apps at the moment. This is a roundup of the key apps and how you could use them better to increase effectiveness and efficiency.  

Access online digital skills training from Enterprise Nation and Google Digital Garage

National Cyber Security Centre offers cyber security advice for to increase your organisations preparedness for an increase in home working and spotting scam emails related to Covid-19. 

Local deliveries Click to get info

ZED zero emissions delivery service is open for business, making deliveries by courier bike for businesses across Waltham Forest. 

Consider utilising local taxi drivers or Uber drivers, who will have less work during the Covid-19 outbreak. 

Networking Click to get info

Hive Collective is a local networking group in Walthamstow. Hive Meets Online is a forum to support businesses and livelihoods at this strange time. Keeping a strong network is important in the coming weeks and months! 

Entrepreneurs and businesses are currently active and supportive on Linkedin.  

Your health and wellbeing Click to get info

Consider following advice from the Mental Health UK websiteAdvice provided by BBC for those working from home includes five key tips:  

  1. Clean yourself up and get dressed in the morning even if you don’t have video meetings. Self care helps you to feel more energetic and positive. 

  1. Set your work hours and stick to them – boundaries are essential to avoid burnout. If you would normally get to work at 9am and clock off at 5pm, don’t work at home outside of these times. 

  1. Get out and exercise, even if it is for a local walk or to get fresh air in the park. Utilise the allocated one hour per day to unplug and you will be more focused when you return to your computer. 

  1. Communicate with your peers and colleagues so you don’t feel too isolated. Make calls on your phone, engage with people face-to-face over WhatsApp, Skype, or Messenger, or arrange a virtual Happy Hour. 

  1. Take breaks throughout the day – schedule 2-4 recurring reminders on your calendar to take a break for 15 minutes, stretch, grab a cup of tea and reset. 

Check out one of the fitness plans created by the NHS to stay active or download a user-friendly app like 7 Minute Workout which guides you through brief, timed exercises.  

If you’re feeling consistently depressed or anxious, consider contacting Samaritans who are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year – call 116 123 for free or email.

Support for Employees Click to get info

As more businesses are impacted by travel restrictions or are encouraging their employees to work from home in response to the spread of COVID-19, you can help them stay connected and productive with G Suite. 

There is now free access to advanced Hangouts Meet video-conferencing capabilities to all G Suite customers globally, including: 

These features (typically only available in the Enterprise edition of G Suite) will be available to all customers until July 1, 2020.  

ACAS is offers advice for businesses whose staff will be working from home, perhaps for the first time

Ofcom has launched a national information campaign, backed by government and industry, to help broadband and mobile users get the most from their home networks.