By mid-February, it was estimated that 1 in 6 Australian businesses were already feeling the impact of the coronavirus. First detected in the province of Wuhan, China, the pneumonia-like virus has infected over 90,000 people worldwide and is currently affecting 76 countries and territories. This week we’ve seen the Australian dollar hit a decade low as fears of a global pandemic begin to take their toll on financial markets.
SMEs are the backbone of our country. It’s important that business owners act now to safeguard their business. But there’s confusion about what steps people should take. Here are our five tips for protecting your company from coronavirus.
Be proactive about preparing your supply chain for coronavirus
We’ve already seen a direct impact on tourism, education, manufacturing, retail and food services. But we’ll see more businesses succumb to pressures in the coming months. SMEs would be foolish to assume they’re immune to the flow-on effects of this virus.
Don’t be complacent and stick your head in the sand. Take steps now to minimise the impact. Even if it’s not obvious at the moment, the effect on long supply chain channels will come into play at some stage.
Plan for supply chain and cash flow disruptions
You need an effective plan. Meet with your accountant and discuss the immediate and potential broader impacts on your business. Talk about cash flow, discuss the possible threats to your supply chain and communicate with suppliers. If you’re the owner of a successful business, you’ll be faced with issues you’ve never had to deal with before, but your accountant can advise you on the best course of action.
Get insolvency advice and weigh up your options
While you should get advice on your options, it’s also essential that you’re aware of your obligations. You may not understand that there are processes available that will enable you to get some breathing space. Even if there are no immediate financial issues, sound advice will allow you to make realistic predictions about the future. We have no idea how long this virus will be around, so you need to take preemptive, long-term action.
Stay informed of relief measures to keep your business trading
We all know that SMEs are sensitive to cash flow issues and often rely heavily on single suppliers, so the virus will have a serious impact on the SME economy. At the moment, there’s a lack of communication around what action the government intends to take to assist SMEs. There are rumours that the Australian Government will adopt a range of relief measures including tax incentives. Ideally governments at all levels, the tax office and banks will all work cooperatively to provide SMEs with solutions that ensure their survival.
The good news is that the government has the capacity for monetary and fiscal responses and politicians have signalled a willingness to act.
Make your workplace safe
This is a public health emergency, so it is essential that you stay up-to-date with the Australian Government Department of Health advice. Encourage all people in your workplace to practice good hygiene, including frequent hand-washing and the use of hand sanitizer. Staff should be encouraged to cover their mouth and nose while coughing and sneezing. Anyone on the team that starts to feel unwell must seek medical attention as a matter of urgency.
BlueRock can help you take preventative action. Just because you don’t have a history of financial issues doesn’t mean you won’t be impacted. Come in to BlueRock to discuss your options and we’ll help you create a plan to protect your business.