Keep your guard up

While his main earnings come from the one-off purses for his fights, he also has lucrative sponsorship deals with the likes of Under Armour, Jaguar Land Rover, Beats, Sky Sports and Hugo Boss.

He’s CEO of his own company – AJBXNG group – which he formed in 2015 which oversees his sponsorship deals, his own fight promotion and negotiations, his own clothing range and other merchandise and is actively signing and promoting the interests of other boxers and sports stars which will give the business longevity beyond his own athletic career. 

After his latest fight on Saturday with dangerous Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev, he will be straight back in the office working on his next deals for 2021 – probably including a huge unification fight with Tyson Fury. 

The analogies between boxing and running a business run deep. 

The mental strength required to begin and continue through adversity, the stamina to work long hours, the intellect to work out what’s working, what’s not and adapt accordingly. 

To have long term plans and other alternatives if plan A doesn’t work out and possibly the most important – not only to be able to absorb the blows you know are coming but be sufficiently stable not to fall when hit by those you don’t see until they connect.

Joshua will watch hours of his opponents’ fights to prepare for their attacks so consider this blog something of a training session because whether you know it or not, businesses need to be ready for the fight of their lives in 2021. 

In a heavyweight bout, an unseen punch can be absolutely devastating but more often than not it’s the cumulative damage caused by a combination of blows landing accurately in quick succession that will knock a fighter off their feet and into next week. 

In March and April next year, there’s a four punch combination coming that could lay out any unprepared business.

Duck, weave and get ready to counterpunch

If you know it’s coming you can take action either by getting out of the way or putting your defences up in time. Time to begin your training session…

  • First punch – Furlough scheme ending

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) is ending on March 31st 2021.

The CJRS has probably been the most noteworthy success from the range of coronavirus support measures the government rolled out to support the economy and will have been operating for nearly a year when time is finally called. 

But it is being called as the government, despite twice extending the scheme, have announced that the scheme will be withdrawn at the end of March and workers on furlough will have to be reemployed or made redundant. 

  • Second punch – Statutory demands, winding-up petitions and personal liability for wrongful trading reinstated

As part of the recent Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act becoming law, there was a restriction placed on the issuing of statutory demands and winding-up petitions which has also been extended temporarily until March 31st 2021. 

Bailiffs are still able to operate in the meantime in the pursuit of outstanding Council Tax arrears but will also be able to be invoked for other outstanding business debts certified by a court within 14 weeks.

Once the embargo is lifted and it’s assumed that courts are operating at close to full capacity, expect a deluge of winding-up petitions and statutory demands to be issued and granted in the Spring. 

Additionally, a temporary removal of the threat of personal liability for wrongful trading for directors is being lifted on April 30th 2021. 

As Chris Horner, Insolvency Director with BusinessRescueExpert already said when the first suspensions were announced: “These rules are not a get-out-of-jail-free card. 

“The rules on preferential payments and transactions at undervalue will still apply and wrongful trading will still apply if the business had already reached the point of no return prior to March 2020. 

“It remains important to take advice if you still expect solvency issues, regardless of the government assistance.”

  • Third punch – Loan repayments come due

As well as March being the first anniversary of the first UK-wide lockdown, it’s also going to be when the first repayments come due for a host of temporary government support measures. 

Anybody who took out Bounce Back Loans (BBL) or Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) early will have to make their first repayments in April if they haven’t repaid the amount already. 

The standard length of these loans was six years but companies will have the option to extend the repayment term to ten years if required.  They will also be able to ask for a six-month window when they will make interest-only repayments (up to three times during the loan term) or ask for a six-month repayment holiday (only if they have made at least six repayments).

A potentially bigger problem also crystalises in March when any deferred VAT payments for 2020 come due. 

Businesses who took the opportunity to defer their VAT until then will have the option to pay their owed amount in full by March 31st 2020.

They can also opt in to a new VAT deferral payment scheme that will allow them to pay the delinquent amounts over a year until March 2022, although this just covers the 2020 deferral, 2021’s amount will also have to be paid. 

The final option is to approach HMRC for a Time To Pay arrangement. 

  • Fourth punch – Business evictions are back

The latest temporary measure announced this week is that landlords are forbidden from evicting business tenants until the end of March 2021

Announcing the measure the Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick MP said: “I am extending protections from the threat of eviction for businesses unable to pay their rent until March 2021, taking the length of these measures to one year. 

“This support is for the businesses struggling the most during the pandemic, such as those in hospitality – however, those that are able to pay their rent should do so.

“We are witnessing a profound adjustment in commercial property. It is critical that landlords and tenants across the country use the coming months to reach agreements on rent wherever possible and enable viable businesses to continue to operate.”

Some businesses have found meeting their commitments a stretch this year but others have taken advantage of the situation and actively withheld rent even if they’ve been able to pay. 

Others still have used insolvency tools such as CVAs to their advantage and secured lower rents or exited expensive leases as part of the process.

We’re always in your corner

Regardless of previous relationships, March and April 2021 will see gloves coming off all over the economy as aggrieved and frustrated creditors finally get to unleash their pent-up frustrations and seek repayment and possibly revenge. 

Of course not every business has acted badly during this time but in the wave of recovery action unleashed as the restrictions expire, it will be hard to separate the goodies from the baddies. 

The only sure way of making sure that your business is spared from aggressive creditors is to get professional advice now on what you need to do in the meantime. 

You can get in touch with us right now to arrange your free initial consultation

We’ll work with you to better understand where you could be vulnerable and produce a plan to shore up these weaknesses and make the overall business strong enough to survive whatever 2021 might throw at you.