As small business owners ourselves we understand the issues facing our clients and business owners across the globe. These unprecedented times bring challenges due to the economic and health impacts of COVID-19.
With appropriate planning and support the impacts on business can be reduced and measures can be put in place to enable you to be ready and able to bounce back.
Below we have included some basic tips to assist business owners during this difficult time.
Cashflow is the lifeblood of every business, during a downturn having a good handle on your financials is vitally important. Here are some key cashflow management points:
- Fixed vs Variable Costs – know how much it costs to keep your business running. Looking at your profit and loss statement for the past 12 months will give you a good starting point, work out your average monthly fixed expenses, such as rent, loan repayments, utilities, insurances & administration wages. Variable costs are costs directly related to the sales in your business.
- Break–even point – you then need to understand when your total revenue equals your total costs or expenses. That is at what point does your business actually start making a profit. You can use this interactive calculator to assist you. https://www.business.qld.gov.au/running-business/finances-cash-flow/managing-money/break-even-point
- Aged Receivables –look at your aged receivables reports and follow up outstanding debtors to get cash owed to you into the business as soon as possible.
- Contact your landlord or bank – discuss the impact of the current situation and negotiate better loan terms or rent reduction.
- Work with suppliers on obtaining cheaper pricing for your goods or services, during a downturn they are often more willing to negotiate.
- Maximise the use of Government assistance. The Government will be providing multiple stimulus packages to help get the Australian economy through this time. The Government has just released its 2nd Stimulus package to help small businesses and households financially through this time. More information here: https://treasury.gov.au/coronavirus/businesses
It is highly likely that most businesses will be required to close their doors for a period of time and as such, ensuring you can have the people you need setup and working efficiently and effectively from home is important for the continuity of your business during this time.
Below are some tips to keeping your business running remotely throughout this time:
- Cloud Based Storage – having documents accessible for all staff using a cloud-based system such as sharepoint, dropbox or google drive.
- Phone Systems – there are apps or services that enable your phone system to be run remotely.
- Team management – your staff can collaborate easily from any location with the use of tools such as Microsoft Teams or Slack.
- Screen Sharing – you can assist staff remotely using screen sharing services such as a team viewer.
- Meetings – video conference meetings can be conducted via tools such as Zoom or gotomeeting.
- VPN Access – Remote access to the corporate network to connect to files and services hosted on premises. VPN servers need to be reviewed to ensure enough licensing and processing capacity.
- Cyber Security – Robust firewall and anti-virus systems should be in place to control access and cyber threats both on staff home systems (if being used) and head office.
- Internet Bandwidth – If staff are to be working remotely, internet bandwidth need to be reviewed at both staff premises and head office to ensure capacity to handle increased load. Failure to review may result in poor performance when staff are working remotely.
- Staff Training – Staff will need to be trained on remote access systems to proactively minimize support tickets and disruption.
The forced use of these tools during this time may have long lasting benefits for the efficiency within your business.
If you are experiencing a quieter time in business with the lock down occurring in Australia here are some things you can focus on for your marketing:
- Marketing Strategy – Revisit your marketing strategy and plan and review what’s working, what’s not and areas for improvement. Where are all your customers coming from? Is your marketing spend being allocated in the right place?
- Social Media – Keep posting on social media share video tips, engage with your audience, keep showcasing your work and the types of clients you can help.
- Local SEO – From an SEO point of view, make sure you are still ranking for your key search terms on Google by writing relevant blogs, posting on your Google My Business page, ask your customers for Google Reviews, and start creating a free tool or eBook that can be downloaded from your website.
- Email Marketing – Continue to grow your email list and share useful content to potential clients via email marketing. What can you offer a complimentary service at this time in your business?
- Website – Do an audit of your website, assess it’s ease of use, customer experience and is it easy to identify who you help, how help them and what do you want them to do. Perhaps add to your website that you are doing Zoom consultations via video too during this period.
- Videos – Start recording a series of educational videos for your business that can be released over time to your social accounts and website.
The key thing to do in this period of uncertainty, is to keep marketing yourself, stay visible online.
If you would like to arrange a time to discuss these or any other areas within your business that you require assistance and support with, please contact us at GreenStalk.