COVID19 Resources for Small Business

Calum Maxwell

COVID-19 Business Survival Kit

Following the worldwide outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, the number of cases in Australia has been relatively small to date. However, medical advice is that the virus will continue to spread though the Australian community over the coming months.

Many small businesses have found themselves in difficult times and are already feeling economic impacts. It is anticipated this situation may become worse as the wider impacts of the virus are felt throughout the community.

Here’s few tips you can use to survive this crisis and emerge as a stronger business when it’s all over:

  • Call the ATO
    Call the ATO on 1800 806 218. Payment plans or tax debts can be deferred until June - this will also stop interest accruing. If things are not better by June, call the ATO again to discuss your options. If you don't get somewhere with the operator you spoke to, hang up and call back. You could get a more sympathetic person the next time.
  • Call the National Debt Hotline
    Call the National Debt Hotline on 1800 007 007. Their advisors can give you tips and information on the Government's initiatives.
  • Cut Wages/Change Trading Hours
    Cut wages or change trading hours. Be as fair as you can and keep morale as high as possible. You could consider rallying your team to collectively take a hit for everyone’s benefit. We have just done this with our team at Optimise Online and everyone has agreed to band together to take a pay cut while we weather the storm. What a great team we have here!
  • Discuss Rent with your Landlord
    Push as hard as you can for reduced (or free) rent until things get better. It's better for the landlord to receive less (or no) rent for a few months than their property ending up vacant. A good way to negotiate could be to show your landlord actual data and figures about your financial situation. Show them your turnover and compare figures to previous years. You could even show a Profit & Loss statement to demonstrate your current situation.
  • Renegotiate Terms with your Suppliers
    Renegotiate terms with your suppliers. They, too, want your business to survive and could consider writing off some debt, extending payment terms, or offering a payment plan. Together you can get through this difficult time and come out with a stronger relationship at the end.
  • Stop Non-essential payments
    Stop all non-essential payments. Apply for hardship on credit cards, car payments, phone bills, anything and everything.
  • Call your Bank
    Call your bank to discuss a halt on your mortgage, credit cards and loan repayments. Some banks may have a dedicated COVID-19 hotline. Call now! Stop cash coming out of your account - you will need that to keep your business afloat over the coming months.
  • Shift your Business Model
    Shift your business model - if customers are not able to come to you, think of a way you can bring your business, product, or service to them. Focus on your strengths during this time, even if it's not the most lucrative outcome, it could be enough to keep cash flow going.
  • Talk to your Accountant
    Consider all options. Talk to your accountant, talk to a liquidation specialist, talk to a business broker. Work out your options as soon as possible before it’s too late. Remember to choose your advisers carefully.
  • SME Guarantee by COMBANK
    Offering an unsecured loan of up to $250,000 on Principal & Interest Repayments over 3 years (lending criteria applies). For the first 6 months, interest will be deferred and capitalised at a reduced variable rate of 5.5%, reducing to 4.5% on the 3rd April 2020. Full repayment will be required over the remaining 2.5 years. No establishment or account fees. You should consider this the same as any commercial loan (it is not a government grant) - learn more here.
  • The Treasury of Australia
    The Australian Government is supporting Australian businesses to manage cash flow challenges and retain employees. Assistance includes cash flow support to businesses and temporary measures to provide relief for financially distressed businesses - learn more here.
  • DON'T PANIC
    DON'T PANIC! Take care of your mental health. Try to get some sleep. Go for a swim or a run. Don't let fear drive your decision making. You need emotional and mental clarity now more than ever.
  • WORKING FROM HOME
    Here at Optimise Online we're running Slack (team management), Zoom (meetings) and Avaza (client/project/task management). However our friends at Domain Digital have put together a tips for working from home to help you out.
Download a Client Meeting Policy - feel free to amend and use in your business.

Support your Local Business

Finally, if you know a small business that is affected by what’s going on right now, here’s a few things you can do to help them out:

  • Call Them
    A call will go along way. Give them a call to see how they’re doing or send an encouraging message. Right now is a frightening and uncertain time for them. It’s important for them to know other people care and want the best for them.
  • Are you one of the Lucky ones?
    If you are one of the fortunate people with a stable income, keep using their service, buying their products and recommending them to your friends and family. Do what you can to help keep their business afloat.
  • Offer to help
    Offer to help where you can. Perhaps you can offer your time, knowledge or skills. It's times like this we all need community support. We’re all in this together and we need to help each other any way we can.

From your friends here at Optimise Online, our thoughts and our hearts are with you during this difficult time. With a bit of love and understanding, together we will make it through the other side.

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