We now know that one in six businesses have been affected by Coronavirus. Protecting your business during tough economic times or a downturn – like Coronavirus – is something that should always be on your business radar. As a business owner, it’s important to be front-footing the situation rather than back-pedalling.
Depending on your industry, Coronavirus may be having a serious impact on your manufacturing, product, logistics and supply chain. In that case, you’re probably making plans to diversify your suppliers so your product is no longer reliant on one economy or location. While it’s important to be taking these reactive steps, these long term solutions won’t help you in the immediate months that follow this pandemic – and we don’t foresee it ending anytime soon.
So, let’s make a plan on how to protect your business during a downturn like Coronavirus – now and for the long haul. Every business is going to meet its challenges, so it actually becomes about future-proofing (rather than virus-proofing) your business. The earlier you start preparing for a change in the market, the better.
YOUR IMMEDIATE PLAN TO CORONAVIRUS-PROOF YOUR BUSINESS
If your products are currently tied up in Asia, reevaluate your product offering. Can you implement a new service that can be made available immediately? Can you turn your expertise in your field into an educational product? Can you create events? This is an opportunity to expand your product line, so make the most of it.
If your products are made in Australia, this is an INCREDIBLE opportunity. Use this advantage and start pushing out advertising heavily, highlighting your unique selling proposition, ‘Made in Australia’ so your audience is fully aware that your product is available immediately to them. Don’t miss this chance!
Likewise, if you’re in the Australian tourism or hospitality industry, this is your moment to shine! Target your digital advertising to your Australian audience and invite them to explore their own backyard.
If you’re a retailer who is having trouble getting stock, list your products online as pre-orders. Your customers still have money, it’s about giving them the most accessible ways to spend it.
We now know that the virus has reached India. If India is linked to your supply chain, be proactive. Increase your orders and get your stock here sooner.
Supply and demand is all about matching your price offering to suit the current market situation. If you have limited stock, raise your prices. This doesn’t mean you are ripping people off – it’s about supply and demand. If you know there is going to be a shortage, and people are willing to pay the price, then that’s up to the consumer. If they want it, they’ll pay. Make it known that you have limited stock to create some urgency and exclusivity around your product. Maximise your margin while you can. If you don’t, your competitors will anyway.
If you’re really struggling to pay the bills, find out where you can get support. As a bricks and mortar store, you may be able to strike a deal with your landlord. Ask for a pause in your lease during this difficult time. The likelihood of gaining their help is high – they know that Coronavirus is having an impact on small businesses, they know they won’t be able to replace your tenancy anytime soon and there should be a level of empathy there. They will also be able to ask their mortgage lender for a pause as well – banks are more understanding than you realise.
If you are really struggling for cash flow, reach out for government support, relief or grants. Reach out to the Australian Government here.
If you’re having a tough time financially, contact your bank – they often will help you if you ask. Most people don’t realise that the support is there.
If you still can’t access help from your landlord, and you need cash flow elsewhere, request a pause on home loan repayment from your mortgage lender. There are ways to free up cash flow if you look for them.
Raise capital from friends and family. Provide incentive for their loan. If they have savings, they are currently getting little to no return on their money. The amount of money sitting uselessly in term deposit accounts across Australia is huge; there’s no shortage of money out there! If you can provide your friend or family member with a reasonable percentage of return, and a well-developed plan on cultivating your repayments, you’ll be in a far better position to save your business during this downturn.
Foreign visitors spend up big in Australian retail and during the travel ban they won’t have access to our bricks and mortar stores. This is where you ensure your digital marketing is reaching your international audience and pointing to your website.
YOUR LONG-TERM PLAN TO FUTURE-PROOF YOUR BUSINESS
Always be in growth mode.
Always be taking market share.
Always be looking to expand.
Increase your product range.
Diversify your supply chain.
In growth mode you have the opportunity to add more staff. If you’re a one-person business in a downturn, you’ll only have yourself to lose. If you have 100 staff, you can make cuts in the business. It’s not a nice position to be in but it DOES safeguard the business.
Have a holding warehouse of stock in Australia.
The truth is, there’s actually a real opportunity here to IMPROVE your business. Instead of burying your head in the negativity of the media or an influx of toilet paper, look after your business. There are genuinely positive outcomes to be found! Keep an open mind and always look for opportunity. Isn’t that the crux of being an entrepreneur anyway? Don’t miss this opportunity for GROWTH!
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