Keeping your business running and afloat is very challenging. Doing it while in the middle of a pandemic is not only laborious; it can also stretch you thin. Many businesses around Australia are affected by the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic. During the early days of lock down, sales petered out as many citizens were advised to stay indoors. Now that many states are open Australia-wide, businesses still have to cope with health measures such as frequent hand washing and sanitizing of premises.
If you’re an SME who find these times grueling, we have some tips to help you and your business cope better.
Analyze Your Current Financial Standing
During these pandemic times, cash flow is critical. For many businesses, existing income and trade is already disrupted by Covid-19 so your ability to pay outstanding debts, keep employees or meet existing leasing or loan repayments will be determined by your financial position.
If you still haven’t, contact your accountant to discuss various options so that you can make informed decisions about your business. This is a good way to come up with a plan on how you can minimize the impact of the pandemic on your business.
Contact Bank & Insurer
Many banks offered loan deferments to SMEs during the Covid-19 crisis and many still do. Contact your bank or financial lender to avail and discuss arrangements for relief for mortgages or loans. The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) also authorized insurance companies and brokers to offer payment deferrals and refunds to businesses impacted by Covid-19. Suncorp, Allianz, QBE Insurance as well as any other insurers or insurance brokers who choose to take part, as long as they notify the ACCC.
Communicate with Stakeholders
The Covid-19 pandemic’s impact is worldwide. However, it is still important to communicate to stakeholders about what is happening with your business. For example, your employees will need to know how your decisions will impact them. Your debtors will also be contacting or has contacted you regarding payments or overdue accounts. Negotiating with them will let you see which payments you will be able to defer.
Customers should also be updated as to your new business hours, product/service availability or changes in delivery time and shipping. Your social media accounts are good platforms for reaching out. You can also communicate through your website or through email newsletters.
Seek Advice On Deferring Tax Payments
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) can grant you a deferral of certain tax obligations if your business is impacted by COVID-19. However, tax deferments can impact your eligibility for other government stimulus packages.
Talk To Your Landlord
Your landlord should also be briefed regarding your current financial status. You can talk to them to talk about deferring rent for the meantime or to reduce amount paid for a couple of months or to ask them not to increase rent while the pandemic is ranging. Communicating clearly can help you come to a negotiation. Landlords tend to be flexible especially to long-term tenants and those that pay their rent religiously. Most of them would also rather negotiate payment rather than have their space sit empty for months.