COVID-19 Business Survival Tips & Helpful Resources
A test on agility and responsiveness during unprecedented times
With the widespread impacts of COVID-19, many businesses have had to be agile, adapting and pivoting to ensure continuity of operations. While some have been forced to shut their doors until restrictions and lockdowns are lifted, there are still many ways you can ensure that your business survives the coronavirus pandemic.
To put the current situation into perspective, 64% of small businesses are operating under modified conditions, with 36% of businesses changing the way products or services are being provided to customers. From health services being provided via telehealth channels through to brick-and-mortar stores starting up online websites and large corporates regulating their workforce to continue activities remotely, there’s no question that survival is dependent on a business’s ability to be flexible and resilient.
However, it is heartening to see that reported business revenue is seeing some relief, according to the findings from the ABS ‘Business Indicators, Business Impacts of COVID-19‘. 61% of businesses are expecting revenue to stay the same in October, compared to 45% reported in September. Similarly, only 14% of businesses have reported an expected decrease in overall revenue for October, a smaller sum than the 38% reported in the previous month.
9 tips on how you can adapt and keep your business afloat until normality resumes
While there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach when it comes to ensuring your business’s survival, there are some overarching ways you can put in play and new avenues to explore (if you haven’t already).
Here at Australia Profits, we’re passionate about supporting local businesses, our people, our communities and our country. We’ve put together our top 9 tips for how you and your business can tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.
1. Review your current financial situation
To stay operational, you need to check in on your business’s financial health. Review your cash flow statement, profit ratios and budgets to see where you currently stand. If you have outstanding debts, understand what’s involved to get you back on track.
The most important thing to remember is that you don’t have to do it alone. Work with your business accountant, financial or business advisor to set up a strategy that’s tailored to your current financial situation. Once you have a clear understanding of what’s required, you can tackle the road ahead with clarity and minimise COVID-19’s impact.
2. Apply for Government support and assistance
The Australian Government has been working hard to throw businesses with crucial lifelines during this pandemic. Depending on your business’s eligibility, there are multiple government financial assistance options available.
From local grants to cash flow support and the JobKeeper payment scheme, learn more about your options here.
3. Talk to your bank and insurer
If you’re currently in hardship or having difficulty making payments, make sure you contact your bank or financial lender to discuss potential arrangements. For small businesses impacted by COVID-19, Australian banks are deferring loan payments for six months, as well as fast tracking the approval process.
In the same tune, insurers are also offering deferred premium payments and refunds as part of their COVID-19 relief measures for eligible small businesses.
4. Plan your next move
Rather than playing the sit, wait and see game, use this time to plan your recovery. Create a business continuity plan that outlines all the steps you need to take to keep your business running and the cash flow coming in. There are also plenty of resources guiding business owners on how to reopen and stay COVID safe once normality resumes.
In light of the evolving nature of the pandemic and the responses, ensure that you keep your business plan updated to reflect current conditions. Find downloadable templates and guides here.
5. Look after your mental health
It’s not all about the dollar figures. Running a business can be stressful and challenging at the best of times, let alone during a global pandemic and economic crisis. Looking after your mental wellbeing and that of your loved ones should be at the top of your to-do list.
Beyond Blue now has a dedicated coronavirus mental wellbeing support service to help you manage during this time.
6. Stay connected with your customers
Whatever industry you’re in or how impacted you are by COVID-19, now’s an important time to reach out to your customers and clients, both existing and new. While there’s no need to flog them with sales pitches, you can start strengthening your relationship with them for the future. Social media isn’t just great for marketing your business, it also creates a two-way channel for staying connected with your target market.
Listen to what they’re saying and offer real value and expertise. Even if you can’t provide a solution now, it’s one you can add to your to-do list at a later date. Whether you’re now offering virtual classes or are experiencing delivery delays that are out of your control, keep the communication lines open.
7. Reach out to your community
Especially during a time where many are feeling isolated and lacking social interactions, business owners and entrepreneurs should consider connecting with others in the same industry for support. Whether it’s through social networking platforms such as LinkedIn or through a local Facebook group for business owners, find a strong community of peers who are in the same situation to you.
This creates an opportunity for you to support one another, start valuable conversations and share knowledge on how you can all come out better and stronger on the other end. Community over competition.
8. Invest in training and development
Often, business owners are in the ‘go, go, go’ mode and rarely afford the luxury of free time. Use this downtime to identify gaps in your business and update your and your team’s skills. Whether it’s building more confidence around public speaking or learning how to master the art of product photography for your store, there’s always room for improvement.
There are plenty of online webinars and events that are geared around upskilling, as well as online training resources for those looking to acquire new skills.
9. Amplify your online presence
If the coronavirus pandemic has taught us anything, it’s the importance of having an online presence. A critical differentiating factor for any business, not just in the current situation, an online presence ensures the accessibility of your business 24/7. Keeping you connected with your customers no matter when and where they are, it’s a great way to leverage existing and new sales opportunities.
If you’re a local business, make sure that you’ve set up a Google My Business listing – it’s free and will ensure that you come up in Google Maps when customers need your products or services. If you currently operate out of a physical store, consider setting up an online website to magnify your reach, and depending on your capabilities, you’ll now be in front of more local, interstate and even international customers.
Even if you’re already well set up on the online front, now’s an opportune time to audit your current online presence. Update old content that’s on your website, create new, relevant content, revisit your email marketing strategy and stay connected with your customers through all your social media outlets.
There’s opportunity in disaster, where innovation and creativity can be embraced
Regardless of how your business is currently faring, perhaps this is the time to look around you with a glass half full. In amidst the uncertainty and chaos, use this time to lay a foundation for the future. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime golden nugget for you to reinvent the current way you do business and re-evaluate how you can best serve your customers and clients.
Plus, Australians are more incentivised than ever to shop small and support local businesses, in a bid to help the local economy recover. If you’re an 100% Australian owned business, be sure to make your presence known by joining Australia Profits certifications and memberships.
If you’re willing to challenge the status quo, change your approaches and explore new ways of working, use it to your advantage and give yourself a leg up from the competition. Take proactive steps to discover how you can continue to improve and bolster your business model with the primary focus to build a stronger community and loyalty amongst your customers beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.
We’re here for you.