What Steps Can Small Businesses Take to Minimize the Impact of COVID-19?
Australia’s confirmed cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus) continue to rise in number. The virus could trigger an economic recession as people forgo trips to hotels, restaurants, and shops. Fortunately, small businesses can find many ways to minimize the negative impact.
To prevent the spread of COVID-19, encourage all workers to stay home when sick. They shouldn’t have any fear of losing their jobs. After all, no customer wants to visit a business with an employee who exhibits potential coronavirus symptoms.
Prepare for sickness absences by training your employees to perform the duties of fellow workers. If you run into financial difficulties, consider reducing work hours rather than terminating personnel, you may need again in the future.
Think about cutting business hours to limit labor and energy costs. It may not make sense for a shop or restaurant to stay open when it has few or no customers. Shorter shifts also reduce the risk that COVID-19 will spread among staff members.
Employees ought to thoroughly clean rooms and empty garbage bins before they get full. It’s vital to disinfect doorknobs, tables, countertops, desks, and other surfaces regularly. Frequent handwashing generally yields better results than wearing gloves.
Avoid leaving large quantities of cleaning or bathroom supplies in unsupervised areas. Customers and employees may be tempted to take these items because of the shortages in stores. Other types of theft may also increase in a recession; consider using security cameras.
Think about introducing new services that reduce contact between customers and employees. For instance, your business could start offering curbside pickup and providing deliveries directly or through a courier. Inn guests may prefer room service to eat in a dining hall.
The falling value of the Australian dollar isn’t necessarily bad. If you can find a way to serve international customers, the current exchange rate will help your business gain clients. You could export goods, provide internet-based services, or cater to foreign diplomats.
Consider offering more discounts. This strategy has enabled some hospitality businesses to stay open and attract new clients. At the same time, prioritize customer satisfaction. You’ll retain far more long-term clients if a discount doesn’t reduce the quality of service.
Many materials, supplies, and goods come from heavily affected countries like Italy and China, the nation’s top trading partner. Make an effort to carefully evaluate your supply chain and search for equivalent products or substitutes if necessary.
Plan ahead and tell your employees what to do in specific situations. They should know how to react if a sick customer visits your establishment, a delivery of imported seafood doesn’t arrive, or the business runs out of cleaning supplies.
Provide information so that people know what to expect. Employees, suppliers, customers, and creditors need to learn about potential problems as soon as possible; this will help them prepare. If you’re worried about an upcoming rent payment, warn your landlord ahead of time.
Your small business might qualify for help from the national or state government. The authorities are offering direct aid to firms with employees, trainees, or apprentices. If you have business continuity insurance, contact the agency and inquire about claiming benefits.
Has COVID-19 made it difficult to pay your taxes? If so, call the Australian Taxation Office at 1800 806 218. They can evaluate your situation and determine if you qualify for special tax relief.
While this is a difficult time for people in countries around the globe, Australian small businesses have survived many serious challenges in recent decades and continued to prosper. They can do so again by embracing flexibility, planning, and wise precautions.