Programme: Bounce Back Loan Scheme
For this childcare provider, COVID-19 took away almost 90% of our business overnight. Needing funds to cover monthly overheads for premises, salaries and other general running costs, the company turned to the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) for financial support.
Read what it had to say in this BBLS case study.
British Business Bank: Can you tell us what your organisation does?
Bryony Sullivan, founder and director of Like Minders: We provide childcare, full-time and part-time nannies and babysitting services to clients across Greater London and the surrounding areas.
How did COVID-19 affect your business, and why did this mean you needed funding?
COVID-19 had a massive impact. Almost 90% of our business disappeared overnight. Nobody was going out and therefore nobody required childcare. Because restaurants were shut down, people weren’t going out and didn’t need babysitting. Much of our business is ad hoc and emergency care, so nannies would go to new families regularly. This meant that many nannies we work with couldn’t work during the lockdown. In addition, our nannies were nervous about being exposed to COVID-19 too, and weren’t keen to travel on public transport either, which was understandable.
We needed funding to cover monthly overheads such as premises, staff salaries, services such as card machines, and general running costs. In addition, much of our income is through membership subscriptions and many customers cancelled due to COVID-19.
How did you find the application process?
We were surprised how easy it was. It was super-simple – we just went through our online banking with HSBC and the money was in our account within a few days. It was really easy to understand and we were reassured by the fact we didn’t have to make any repayments for 12 months and it was helpful to know the interest rate was capped at 2.5% over the life of the loan. That made it manageable for us.
It was so easy to apply and it’s been such a comfort to know the money would help us through a really difficult period and keep our business alive. Now we’re ready to plan for future growth, and the flexible repayment terms of the loan will help.
Bryony Sullivan, founder and director of Like Minders
What do you think would have happened to your business if your application hadn’t been approved?
We would have struggled to keep going. The Bounce Back Loan enabled us to get through the first lockdown and allowed us to restructure how we manage our childcare services, focusing more on long-term nannies, rather than ad hoc and emergency childcare.
Can you provide a specific example of how you used the funding to bring about a positive change (or changes) to your business?
It allowed us time to restructure the business going forward to cope with the changes to how people are using our services and switch our focus away from ad-hoc and emergency childcare. Along with a grant we received from elsewhere, the Bounce Back Loan has allowed us to stay open and move forward. We’ve kept a percentage of our loan back for 2021 to allow us to focus on marketing and PR when the COVID-19 situation allows, to help us get back to growth rather than just survival.
What advice would you give to other businesses that are applying for a Bounce Back Loan?
Just go for it. It was so easy to apply and it’s been such a comfort to know the money would help us through a really difficult period and keep our business alive. Now we’re ready to plan for future growth, and the flexible repayment terms of the loan will help.
How did your Bounce Back Loan help your business (for example, with paying bills, paying staff, buying stock, paying down debt etc.)?
It has helped with many of those – for example, in the short term covering general costs and paying essential bills. Separately we’ve kept some capital aside for future growth.
Did the Bounce Back Loan allow you to feel more optimistic about the future of your business?
Yes, it’s given us a sense that there really will be a future for our business. It’s given us the ability to survive the difficult lockdown periods of 2020 and we’re hoping to move back to growth again in 2021, especially if the vaccine enables people to start socialising again, which benefits our business model.