KEEPING YOUR BUSINESS GOING THROUGH THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
At IBA, we know that Indigenous businesses have a special kind of resilience. As an Indigenous business owner, you are supported and made strong by your culture and community. IBA is also here to support you through COVID-19 and onwards to recovery.
Every business and industry are different, some will be more affected by COVID-19 than others. Some businesses will be busier than they’ve ever been, others will be moving into hibernation, many will be putting plans in place to cope throughout the restrictions, and many will be thinking about opportunities and strategies to keep trading.
The following is a step-by-step guide to managing your business, to assist you in trading through if possible, and plan, prepare and take action for the future.
STEP 1 – LOOK AFTER YOUR STAFF AND CUSTOMERS
Understand the restrictions placed on your business by the Australian government here and also by the State where your business operates, and work out whether you can continue trading.
Determine whether you can stand down staff with the JobKeeper payment during restrictions if you are forced to hibernate. If you are still trading make sure you check Safe Work Australia guidelines to ensure you provide a safe environment for staff and customers. You should also visit the Fair Work Ombudsman to ensure you continue to meet responsibilities to your staff.
Stay in contact with customers, advise them of any changes to your trading and opening hours, and encourage them to continue supporting your business, where possible.
STEP 2 – UPDATE YOUR FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
It’s critical to ensure your financial statements and tax returns are up-to-date, and your business activity statements have been lodged. Your access to special assistance loans, grant and business support may depend on having current financial documents on hand.
Understanding your cash flow and how it’s been impacted is also important in understanding how significantly your business has been affected. You should contact your accountant to discuss preparation of financial statements.
If you are an IBA customer and are having significant financial difficulty, you should contact your Relationship Manager to discuss your situation and how we may be able to support you to get financial statements completed.
STEP 3 – CONTACT IBA
The Business Solutions team will discuss your situation and the unique needs of your business. IBA can provide you access to someone who can walk you through some of the assistance available from the Federal and State governments and other industry specific measures.
If you are an existing IBA customer with a loan or lease facility we may be able to offer immediate relief, you should contact your IBA Relationship Manager to discuss how we can help.
IBA is also delivering the Indigenous Business Relief Package to all eligible Indigenous businesses (including non-IBA customers), which includes access to specialist advice and working capital assistance. You can find more information here and you can register your interest for support.
STEP 4 – UNDERSTAND YOUR ELIGIBILITY FOR GOVERNMENT AND OTHER ASSISTANCE
Federal and State governments have made a range of announcements about support and stimulus measures during recent weeks. Support, advice, grants, fee deferral’s and waivers may be available at a range of different organisations, including the ATO, banks, insurance companies, landlords, local councils, peak bodies, chambers of commerce and other organisations.
IBA can provide you with access to someone who can assist you to navigate these along with other industry specific measures. These measures may mean the difference between continued trading or business hibernation, they may enable you to continue paying staff and keep your business afloat during COVID-19 restrictions, so it’s important to understand what may be available.
STEP 5 – LIST THE IMPACTS ON YOUR BUSINESS
Think about and list down how the COVID-19 restrictions have affected your sales or ability to service clients, staff availability, your supply chains (access to materials and resources) and your finance, i.e. your cashflow and cash reserves. Also think about possible future impacts. You can find a List of Impacts worksheet on the CPA website, which may assist.
STEP 6 – ACT NOW TO IMPROVE CASHFLOW
Consider how you can manage or increase sales of existing stock, how you may transition your business to offer different products, and look for new markets, including transitioning to online business models, if possible.
Contact your debtors to discuss payment, don’t delay invoicing for payment and follow up. Review contracts to determine if you have the ability to cancel orders with creditors and negotiate where possible. Investigate and make use of any support to waive or defer rent, fees and charges, or other business costs.
STEP 7 – KEEP IN CONTACT WITH IBA AND SEEK ADVICE EARLY IF YOU’RE IN FINANCIAL DIFFICULTY
During the crisis, regularly ask:
- Is your business able to pay your creditors, your tax obligations, employment obligations and make loan repayments as they become due?
- Do you have adequate financial reserves to cover debts due and payable in the next few months?
If you answer no to these questions, you should immediately seek professional advice, to assist you to understand your position.
The CPA website has detailed tips for small businesses navigating their way through COVID-19 restrictions. You should also look at developing a business continuity plan so your business is prepared to weather emergencies in the future.
You can also find a worksheet to help with your continuity planning here.
Please contact your Relationship Manager or register your interest for further assistance or to discuss any matter relating to your business. We are here to help.