The threat which seemed to be a part of China has now engulfed the entire world, and no country has been spared from the wrath of the lethal Coronavirus pandemic. With more than 3000 positive cases and 13 deaths in Australia, we have come face to face with the life-threatening disease, which is spreading like wildfire. The economy has been hit hard, with several retailers and small businesses shutting down their shops.
The federal government is resorting to radical measures to keep the commercial sector safe from the damaging debts and help the economy pull through the catastrophe. They have announced two business stimulus packages for businesses that are struggling to survive and are expected to come up with a third one shortly.
If you are an entrepreneur or have recently purchased a business for sale in Brisbane, Sydney or any other major business hub of Australia, then you must be feeling anxious about the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic on your organisation. However, instead of panicking, this is the time to take charge of the situation to reduce the risks and keep your employees protected.
Besides following the instructions of the government, here is what you need to do to keep your business afloat in the current scenario.
1. Create A Crisis Management Plan
Most small businesses do not have a contingency plan in place. However, this is the right time to develop it. If you already have one, then make changes to it to accommodate the conditions associated with the novel coronavirus. It should have the details of how the business will cope with the disaster. For example, if the operations are affected, then which functions can be scaled back to maintain a specific level of production.
Create a new marketing strategy that includes communicating with the customers about the current situation and how your offerings can help them. Also, devise a strategy to maintain safety at the workplace and keep the faith of the employees and the customers in the company intact. Make a list of how things will proceed in lockdown and how you can mitigate the impact of the problem.
2. Safeguard Your Employees
As a business owner, you are responsible for the workplace safety of your teams. Set down the protocol by starting a no handshake policy and following social distancing. Clean and sanitise the workstations every morning and evening, and place hand sanitisers in the office space. Make sure that the employees are washing their hands with soap every few hours and are not touching their faces.
It is natural for some people to become extra cautious out of fear of contracting the disease. So you must reassure them of the precautions being taken and offer them your support. Also, ensure them that their jobs are safe, and they do not need to panic. If any employee is sick, then ask them to self-isolate and find others who can act as their back-up.
3. Keep A Check On the Cash Flow
Every business prepares a budget for the financial year. However, you will have to tweak the figures and take into account the decline in sales over the next few months. The estimations should also include delays in receiving payments and reimbursing suppliers.
Speak to your bookkeeper to ensure that you are aware of all the tax changes for this year, and check what happens if you are not able to repay the loan instalments. If you have a leased office, then speak to your property manager for an extension in the rent payments. Make use of the business emergency fund to pay for the most urgent needs.
4. Devise A Remote Working Strategy
If the situation worsens, then it is possible that all the employees may have to work from home. In such a condition, you will have to devise a strategy for working remotely. All the travel should be cancelled, and meetings should be organised via teleconferencing. The sales pitches should be conducted online with clients instead of meeting them in person for presentations.
If you are selling directly to the customers, then take your selling online and communicate the same to the buyers. Make sure that the supply chain and delivery network is working according to your needs. If they are not operational, then you must find other suppliers and vendors and connect with them during this phase.
5. Communicate With Your Customers
Your customers are highly significant for your business, and you need to retain them. Maintain complete transparency with your clients and inform them about any delays so that they are not under false impressions and do not end up feeling cheated.
Ensure them that you will be working as usual with minor changes in the operations and ask them to understand the gravity of the situation. Use your website to send out the messages and also use SMS, emails and social media platforms to deliver the important information.
6. Take Advantage of The Business Stimulus Packages
Small businesses need to be aware of the stimulus packages announced by the government and must leverage them. The Australian Banking Association has put a 6-month deferral on loan repayments for small businesses which have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The instant asset write-off has been extended until June 30, 2020, and the accelerated deduction packages have gained validity for another 15 months. Also, businesses can now claim 100% of PAYG withholding on employee wages.
The sole traders and self-employed entrepreneurs will get income support of $550 per fortnight starting from April 27. Additionally, small businesses which have employed apprentices and trainees can claim a wage subsidy of 50% on their wages. Stay on top of all the relief packages being announced and make use of them to steer clear of business failure.
7. Use The Downtime To Plan for Long-Term
With the slow pace of your business in the current conditions, you will be left with ample free time. You can utilise this time for long-term financial planning according to the changing global economic conditions. Think about ways of using online marketing and online selling strategy and staying in touch with your employees virtually.
Create new work procedures to enhance productivity while working from home. Involve your teams in group chats and discussions to maintain consistency and coherency. Keep a positive attitude and make sure that you infuse others with the same vigour.
The impact of the coronavirus will be felt even months after it is completely removed. Thus if you are a business owner or have acquired business for sale in Australia, then you must keep the tips mentioned above in mind during this emergency period. It will help you to rise above the challenges and find a new way forward.