Fair Work has this page dedicated to providing information on your obligations as an employer, and what some support packages for employees may be. It is recommended that before making any decisions you get in touch with an HR Specialist to discuss your options.
Call your bank’s hardship line. They can put a halt on your mortgage, credit card and all loan repayments. Be proactive, call them now and stop the cash going out of your account as you may need that to run your business and support your family. Each bank has its own unique support package, but the key is to touch base with them now. All banks are offering interest rate cuts and higher interest term deposits – now is the time to see what benefits you can access. Whilst some have yet to publish their position, it is anticipated that all banks are offering small businesses six months relief on making their loan repayments. Also refer to the “Support for business investment” stimulus package to see what lending options could also be available to your business to get you through this tough time.
Supporting Small Business:
As we’re all in this together, the more we can do to help each other out the better, so here are some more ideas and suggestions:
Australian Tax Office:
The ATO have a dedicated line for COVID-19 affected businesses, at 1800 806 218. Call this number to discuss your options and/or liaise with your accountant to make a plan with the ATO. It is very important to ensure the lines of communication with the ATO are sustained. The ATO are very understanding that businesses are going to be impacted and that this will affect businesses ability to meet their tax obligations and the ATO will work with you to ensure these can be managed appropriately. They are there to help and you can find a full list of the tax based initiatives here.
A brief summary of these are as follows:
WA Government’s Coronavirus relief package for small business:
Information regarding the WA Government’s relief package can be found here.
Basically there is a freeze on some household utility expenses plus payroll tax rebates and extensions, as well as increasing the payroll tax threshold.
Other Small Business Tips & Support Options:
Some of these are our own ideas, while others have been borrowed - but we felt they were too awesome not to share! We all just want to do our bit to make people’s lives better.
1. Most importantly look after yourself, staff, family, friends etc. Seek support & advice from those you trust. Put plans in place to reduce the threat of Covid – 19.
2. Call the National Debt Hotline, 1800 007 007. They have advisors that can give you some tips and get information on the government's incentives a few days before the public.
3. Renegotiate your rent with your landlord, keeping the lines of communication open is key. It is better for everyone that you remain trading by paying a reduced rent for a few months, than for you to close the doors and the property end up vacant with zero rental return. Show the landlords actual data and figures, highlight the decrease in turnover day upon day or month to month, compare the figures to previous years as a point of reference, attach a cash flow to show you are running at a cash outflow.
4. Renegotiate your supply terms. Everyone is in the same boat and your suppliers want you to stay in business. They might extend the payment term out for several more months, or you can suggest a payment plan. Once again be proactive & work with each other. Touch base with key suppliers to make sure the products and services you require will still be available.
5. Stop every non-essential payments from going out. Apply for hardship on your credit card, your car repayments, phone bills, everything.
6. Shift your business model. We have to find a way to adapt our products and services to our new paradigm – research & development. Can you bring your business, product, services to the customer if they can no longer come to you? Can we extent into new service offerings? Think proactively!
7. Consider all options. Talk to your accountant, talk to a liquidation specialist, talk to a business broker. Work out your options whilst you have some still. Just choose your advisers wisely.
8. Forecast what the next few months could potentially look like, prepare for the worst case scenario and what cash-flow you would need to survive this. Planning your cash flow allows you to determine what you need to negotiate with your banks, ATO, landlords, suppliers etc. This also allows you to determine what expenses you can afford and it is also important to factor in what incentives and tax savings you can access from the ATO. This is our specialty and we are here to help!
9. Embrace technology; technology to work from home, zoom meetings, POS systems that allow you to sell online, offer contactless payments.
10. Don't panic. Phone a friend. Look after your mental health. Try to get some sleep. Go for a swim or a run. Don't let fear take over your decision making. Now more than ever we need to have emotional and mental clarity.
11. Reach out to your customers, ask them how they are, what they are seeing and how this may impact small businesses out there. What does the customer need right now that you can provide? This is a great time to focus on your existing customers & provide them with an excellent service. Make sure everyone knows that you are open for business and your customers know how to interact with your business.
12. Whatever may happen, be honest, transparent and upfront with your employees. Let them know what you know and ask them for suggestions, your best ideas may come from this. Take time to understand the individual circumstances of your employees.
13. Review your general insurance policies for any Business Interruption Insurance inclusions. Now is the time to contact your insurance agent to review your policy to understand precisely what you are and are not covered for in the event of an extended incident.