Fighting this war, not the last one
The first people to realise that The Great War would be unlike any conflict fought before it were probably the poor soldiers manning the defensive forts surrounding Liege in eastern Belgium in August 1914.
They had performed admirably in beating back the invading German infantry with their impenetrable walls, interlocking fields of fire with neighbouring forts and barbed wire emplacements around their base.
Then they met Big Bertha and nothing was the same again.
Designed and built in secrecy by the company that is now ThyssenKrupp, Big Bertha was the nickname given to the largest siege cannon ever built at the time.
Capable of firing a 16.5 inch shell weighing 1,785 pounds a distance of nearly six miles with incredible accuracy – some shells also had delayed-action fuses which meant they could penetrate up to 12 meters of concrete and earth before exploding.
Defences that had withstood everything that was thrown at them for 82 years were reduced to rubble in mere minutes under Bertha’s barrages.
Amongst other firsts, this was the original practical demonstration of the “shock and awe” bombardment tactics still practiced by militaries today.
Shock and awe being what HM Treasury and the Bank of England were hoping to inspire in stock markets when the Coronavirus pandemic first began to drag the FTSE 100 and 250 down.
Despite various interventions announced by the Chancellor in his budget and subsequent statements of support, the trajectory has continued downward and the negative outlook has spread to the rest of the economy so an even bigger response is required.
The latest being the launch of the Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) aimed at giving larger companies a financial shot in the arm.
Both HM Treasury and the Bank of England acknowledge that “although the magnitude of the economic shock from Covid-19 is highly uncertain, activity is likely to weaken materially in the United Kingdom over the coming months.
“Temporary but significant disruptions to supply chains and weaker activity could challenge cash flows and increase demand for working capital from companies.
“The CCFF will help businesses across a range of sectors to pay wages and suppliers, even while experiencing severe disruption to cash flows.”
This is to complement the already announced range of measures aimed at SMEs including business rates holidays, grants, loans and additional time to pay taxes.
The Bank of England recently announced a cut of the base lending rate to 0.1%, the lowest level it has ever been at as “the Monetary Policy Committee judged that a further package of measures was warranted to meet its statutory objectives.”
Shock and awe
The daily news for SMEs about the COVID-19 pandemic keeps landing on directors and owners like an artillery barrage – it’s not just one blow, it’s several in close proximity almost designed to have a maximum bad news impact.
Once the initial shock has dissipated however, there are some defences that you can deploy to help your company protect and survive right now.
Get in touch with us today and one of our experts will arrange a free, virtual, initial consultation where we can get a clearer idea of your position and what the most immediate threats are.
We can then come up with a battle plan to follow that can help mitigate the most negative effects to come and help put your business in the best position to recover when the worst is finally over.
The Germans left Belgium and Big Bertha is now in a museum. The loop will end and businesses will open their doors again. You have to be ready no matter when that point is reached.