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Best Practices for Small Businesses During Lockdowns

Small businesses account for almost 98 per cent of all companies in Australia. They contribute to 35 per cent of the country’s economy and employ around 44 per cent of all Australians. Sadly, the recent lockdowns have seen small businesses struggling to stay afloat - with many closing down. While lockdowns are never easy, there are a few measures that small businesses can take to mitigate losses and stay ahead of sudden changes.

So what does the lockdown mean for small businesses? The inability to run their business as usual affects small businesses through customer demand. This forces business owners to change their business model and re-look at their finances.

 

With many customers staying at home to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses find themselves dealing with a sharp decline in demand. Industries such as retail, restaurants, and travel companies are hit exceptionally hard with these lockdowns. For example, reports show that hotels are losing millions of dollars for each week of lockdown due to the mounting bills and salary payments. 

 

Small businesses have always been resilient and adaptable to change. But living in a pandemic brings a greater change than ever before, and small businesses are forced to rethink their strategies. This ranges from switching their business models to complying with daily health and safety policies. Essential business owners who are exempted from lockdowns find themselves asking questions such as: 

  • Does my business have everything it needs to operate safely (i.e. hand sanitisers, face mask, and contactless payments)?
  • Do my staff feel safe coming to work?
  • Do I have adequate contact tracing set up for my business? 
  • Does my business comply with social distancing rules? 

 

The pandemic has put the global economy at the brink of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression - and small businesses have gone into survival mode instead of growth. Instead of expanding their business, most owners are now taking a harder look at their finance strategies. Mainly, this consideration means trying to minimise their losses and significantly minimising operational costs. 

 

So what are most small businesses doing to cope with the lockdowns? Here are our five best practices. 

 

5 Best Practices for Small Businesses During Lockdowns

 

Prioritise Business Health and Safety

Health and safety is more important than ever, and small businesses must ensure that they comply with the government COVID-19 health regulations. Companies should also ensure that they are well-equipped with hand sanitisers, face masks, sign-in boards, and soap and towel dispensers for staff and customers. Safe Work Australia has an excellent health, hygiene, and facilities checklist for small businesses. 

 

Keep Employees Safe 

All staff should feel safe in the workplace, and businesses must take the necessary steps in ensuring this happens. Employee safety generally comprises the following items: 

  • Ensuring physical distancing
  • Ensuring employees are appropriately trained on health and hygiene practices
  • Equipping employees with the necessary tools to stay safe
  • Allowing employees to work from home if possible 
  • Conducting a COVID-19 health and safety risk assessment for your business

 

To learn more, Business.gov.au has a great resource page on how businesses can keep themselves and their employees safe during COVID-19.

 

Go Contactless

As an essential measure to keep employees safe, businesses should minimise employee and customer contact as much as possible. This includes incorporating contactless tools in business transactions, such as using prepaid corporate cards and point of sales systems. In addition, minimising cash transactions decreases the spread of viruses, and it also reduces the unnecessary need for employees to ask the company for cash. 

 

Rethink Current Business Operations

Many small businesses are considering alternate or different revenue streams to be sustainable. Retailers are looking to sell their products online, tourism operators are setting up virtual tours, and restaurants are ramping up their takeaway orders. In an unexpected silver lining, the pandemic has encouraged businesses to transform and be more agile for the future, which a small business should be doing anyway. 

 

Develop a Cash Management Plan

A report from Deloitte highlights how it’s crucial for businesses to review their cash management process in the pandemic, and that even the most stable companies are not immune to losses. Small businesses should assess their business longevity in a lockdown and hold off any investment plans that aren't necessary. In addition, understanding budgets and keeping track of transactions is vital to ensure that no unnecessary spending is done during this time. 

 

Lockdowns can be difficult, but small businesses that follow hygiene guidelines and have proper cash management in place will find it a much easier affair. To learn about Budgetly and how we manage contactless payments and expenses, download our eBook, Managing Expenses with Budgetly. Or, schedule a demo with us today to see how it works. 

Managing expenses with Budgetly eBook

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