Strains on business activity generated by counter-COVID-19 measures have left many businesses facing challenging times — and world market observers are predicting significant long-term economic impacts from this global health issue.
Earlier this year or in late 2019, some businesses may have been preparing their expansion into Australia, or might have just touched down in the country. Then COVID-19 hit.
Now, it’s important to find any possible opportunities to mitigate the challenges business owners are facing and to prepare for the longer-term effects.
The following are several tips that may support business development and create a better understanding of how to navigate Australia’s future economic circumstances.
1. Create a strategic plan for your recovery and continuity
Be strategic about how you see your business in 12 months’ time, or even further down the track. Although many elements of business in Australia may be uncertain, you can certainly work on setting a clear path forward for your business with the information you do have.
The current health situation will inevitably force companies to get creative and innovate their own business models to adapt in the coming months. This means that business owners should think outside the box on how to grow their business in Australia — though it may be tough, it’s not necessarily impossible.
Find opportunities in online communities. If your business is not yet prevalent online, it should be.
While social distancing regulations may prevent businesses from operating in a physical capacity, you may be able to use one of a number of online platforms to market your product or service. Modernise your sales strategy by considering online marketplaces and social platforms, such as Instagram and Facebook.
Investigate what opportunities are available for you to participate in online public relations, such as podcasts, webinars and news sites. Consider joining a business council or chamber and conduct proactive virtual networking.
Finding new avenues is essential to achieving business growth during this time.
2. Seek available government support
The Australian government recently released an economic support package for individuals and businesses in Australia. To date, the government has reportedly invested about $214 billion into supporting individuals and businesses.
Find government advice and resources on:
- finding opportunities to increase income support
- improving employers’ cash flow
- supporting new employees: apprentices and trainees
- offering early access to superannuation
- providing assistance to affected regions, communities and industries
- enabling the flow of credit
- support for sole proprietors
- additional tax support.
Don’t hesitate to take advantage of the support mechanisms available to you, your business and your employees.
3. Use available resources to stay informed and prepared
Business Australia is an organisation focused on supporting companies within the country, and offers free membership. It offers advice to enable companies to succeed, and recently launched a campaign providing resources and guidance specifically around mitigating the effects of COVID-19 on business.
The organisation, which supports more than 40,000 businesses in Australia, is assisting business owners to galvanise their business continuity plans during this time of economic uncertainty.
Engage online with consultants to offer further specialist guidance on how to move forward in a way that will best benefit your business and address your specific needs.
4. Find cheaper methods to develop your business
Besides looking online for opportunities to grow your business, you can find lower-cost methods to help continue expanding, possibly into new market.
Companies may have found themselves in the middle of a major development or expansion initiative when travel restrictions were enforced, and government organisations reduced their operational capacity.
One cost-effective option to continue operating from abroad and enter the Australian market, is through a Professional Employer Organization (PEO). These organisations support companies with hiring and payroll management needs in an overseas jurisdiction, while the company’s executives remain in their home country.
A PEO in Australia can support company expansion by hiring the necessary talent on the ground and managing payroll and employment compliance requirements on behalf of a company. This requires a lesser upfront investment to expand than formal company incorporation, and can be achieved fairly quickly.
If you need to continue work and need help finding and hiring local talent, but are unable to travel to Australia, then PEO services can help you overcome this challenge. PEOs will act as the employee’s ‘Employer of Record’ in the eyes of local government, and are therefore responsible for complying with all local labour laws. Find the support you need to continue operations in Australia, so you can focus on your business’ growth.
5. Communication is key
Keep communicating with your clients, and be clear about what they can expect from you during this time. Maintaining relationships is crucial, and the more open and supportive you can be towards your clients, the more likely you are to retain that relationship.
Make sure to communicate any changes to your operations immediately, and forward on any helpful information about developments in your industry.
Finding small opportunities and modifying your business model, along with establishing a clear plan to recovery and continuity, can help relieve stress and achieve business growth in Australia during these challenging economic times.
You can help us (and help yourself)
Small and medium businesses and startups have never needed credible, independent journalism and information more than now.
That’s our job at SmartCompany: to keep you informed with the news, interviews and analysis you need to manage your way through this unprecedented crisis.
Now, there’s a way you can help us keep doing this: by becoming a SmartCompany supporter.
Even a small contribution will help us to keep doing the journalism that keeps Australia’s entrepreneurs informed.