Tips to tackle event-triggered economic downturn

Retail focus

Retail trade can be particularly vulnerable in the event of unexpected events and emergencies, like the current Coronavirus (COVID-19). We’ve compiled the following tips and information to help Monash retailers to deal with the potential impacts.

Staff

One of the greatest resources impacting your business success is your staff. When your business is under financial stress it is understandable to focus only on your business challenges. However, your staff may be feeling the stress too. It is therefore important to consider the wellbeing of your staff, and how their wellbeing can be important to your customers.

  • Check in with staff on how they are dealing with the challenges (in this case the impacts of the Coronavirus)
  • Ensure they are aware of the realities of the risk to prevent unnecessary stress and the practical steps to limit risks (Department of Health and Human Services advice)
  • Keep your staff informed about what is happening within your business (they may be afraid that their job/shifts are at risk)
  • Encourage staff to engage with your customers in a positive way – if there is less custom you may be able to provide a more personalised service, thanking customers for their continued support when they do come into your retail premises.

If managed well, rebuilding from an unexpected event or emergency can bring teams closer together and provide a shared sense of achievement and loyalty. Staff may be affected for a long time and just as businesses recover at different speeds, so do people.

Health and Safety

  • Check on your own mental health and that of your staff.
  • Celebrate successes – a good day can break the cycle of anxiety.
  • Call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or check Lifeline Australia for 24/7 support for anyone suffering emotional distress or trauma.

Finances

  • Continue working with your accountant or advisors on your cash flow, outgoings obligations, financial planning, and on developing a recovery plan
  • Investigate negotiating repayment plans for loans or request payments to be deferred due to the impact of the loss of trade
  • Look to State and Federal Government announcements that may have assistance packages.
    Apply for and/or check on the progress of disaster grants and/or loans. Do any apply for what you are experiencing (these currently tend to focus on flood or bushfire recovery)?
  • Ask landlords (or banks) about payment plans over the period of the downturn and recovery
  • Apply to utility providers for hardship assistance, and/or a payment plan
  • Speak with your accountant about any tax implications that may impact your business as a result of the loss of trade and/or apply to the Tax office for deferral of payments if applicable.

Connect

  • Thank your customers and suppliers for their support during the downturn, and encourage them back. Stronger relationships are often formed as part of a challenge. Lean on those who offer support
  • Connect with other businesses and the community to assist your own recovery and that of others
  • ‘Buy local’ for goods and services you need, if practical and possible. This supports other local businesses and strengthens the local economy. Encourage others to do the same.

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Last updated: 02 August 2020