Stop us if this sounds familiar: you run a small business which has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. Maybe you’re working in hospitality, maybe it’s travel, or any other one of the many industries that have been at least partially shut down.
How do you keep your staff on? How can you keep the money flowing in?
These are definitely challenging times, but with some careful planning (plus government small business assistance) there’s a way through. Here are our tips to keep your business running through the pandemic.
1. Understand your current financial position
It’s essential to keep track of where you are and your financial standing in the market before you restart your business activities. Also, keep an eye on any restrictions imposed by the government: these may restrict your ability to trade through this period, pay outstanding debts, keep employees or meet existing leasing or loan repayments. Cash flow is critical, especially if your existing income and trade has been significantly disrupted by COVID-19.
2. Check your eligibility for government small business assistance
The Australian Government has rolled out a number of small business assistance measures to try and keep businesses running through the pandemic. This includes access to the JobKeeper payment, which is available to businesses that can prove their turnover has decreased significantly due to COVID-19.
3. Contact your financial advisor/accountant/bank
Banks are currency offering deferrals on loans – this means that you may not have to make the same repayments that you made pre-pandemic. To find out more, the best option is to contact your financial advisor or bank. The Australian Banking Association website for a list of hardship contacts for each bank.
4. Communicate with your stakeholders
It’s important to let your stakeholders know what is happening in your business during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Being straightforward with your staff is crucial at this stage and informing them of how likely your current decisions would affect them beforehand.
You’ll need to follow up with anyone who owes you money and try to get any overdue payments in. But be compassionate: everyone’s doing it tough right now, and you may need to consider negotiating, based on what they are able to pay in the current circumstances. Also communicate with your creditors to see what payments you may be able to defer.
It’s also imperative to keep your customers posted with your future plans and arrangements you’re planning to implement when reopening. Keep them engaged with your brand and they’ll reward you when you can open back up.
You should also check the latest Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) advice on how to manage cancellations, delays or suspension of products and services in relation to your consumer obligations.
5. Consider withdrawing your Superannuation
The Federal Government is allowing special access to withdraw funds from your superannuation. The tax-free withdrawals are capped at $10,000 this financial year, and there are a number of eligibility criteria under which you can apply.
6. Build your networks
This is an important time to reach out to your networks for support and advice. Getting involved and being connected can open up new opportunities for you for sharing ideas and innovative creations.