As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve across Australia and the world, Byron Shire Council is urging residents, businesses and visitors to keep abreast of the situation.
Please find as follows resources for small businesses.
These can also be located on Council’s website, at: https://www.byron.nsw.gov.au/Business/Covid-19-information-for-businesses
The COVID-19 outbreak is impacting businesses globally in many ways, including reduced trade, temporary business closures, staffing issues, and supply chain interruptions.
The following information from the NSW Small Business Commissioner will provide you with tips and resources to help you manage your small business during the crisis and into the recovery phase.
The Australian Government is providing financial assistance to businesses via the Australian Tax Office.
Businesses impacted by COVID-19 are advised to phone the ATO’s Emergency Support Infoline on 1800 806 218.
If you are a local business there are some helpful free resources, such as posters, you can use to inform your customers and staff about healthy hygiene:
- Australian Government Department of Health Resources
- NSW Health Resources
- Business Australia Resources
If you, or someone you know, is experiencing depression, anxiety or stress, there are organisations that can provide information and support. Visit Mental health for small business on the NSW Small Business Commissioner website.
RESOURCES BY & FOR OUR COMMUNITY
Government Stimulus Advice
Shared by BBCC Board Member Matt Davison of True North Accounting
I hope you are coping OK with all the COVID-19 uncertainty and the impact that this may have on your business.
There is some help for small business in the Government Stimulus, but it will only really help employers and to be eligible you will need to be lodging a BAS and have PAYG withholdings on wages (including your own) paid (label W2). So if you are a Sole Trader, with no staff this isn’t going to help you.
The stimulus credit will be applied automatically after BAS lodgement if you are eligible, so no additional action is required.
I recommend that you stay on top of your lodgements through this time and this way the ATO will be more likely to assist if you are struggling. If you are a Director of a company it also keeps you compliant with your obligations.
Tip: If you have a company with no payroll I suggest you (i) make sure you are registered for PAYG and (ii) start paying yourself $350/week. There won’t be any PAYG (tax) as this is below the tax free threshold, but it should unlock the $2k minimum refund/credit.
The other advice I would give you to manage your cash flow:
Chase up all outstanding invoices/debtors now
Ask for upfront payments/deposits where possible for new sales/jobs
Consider a discounting strategy to shift inventory… it may reduce profitability, but it’s worth considering if it gets cash in the door quicker
Review costs and if you need wage reductions spread across all employees e.g. move to a 4 day work week.
Here is some more detail on the govt stimulus and at the bottom there is some information on tax payment deferments and other measures to assist small business.
BOOSTING CASH FLOW FOR EMPLOYERS
The Boosting Cash Flow for Employers measure will provide up to $25,000 back to business, with a minimum payment of $2,000 for eligible businesses. The payment will provide temporary cash flow support to small and medium businesses that employ staff. The payment will be tax free.
Small and medium business entities with aggregated annual turnover under $50 million and that employ workers will be eligible. Eligibility will generally be based on prior year turnover.
The payment will be delivered by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) as a credit in the activity statement system from 28 April 2020 upon businesses lodging eligible upcoming activity statements.
Eligible businesses that withhold tax to the ATO on their employees’ salary and wages will receive a payment equal to 50 per cent of the amount withheld, up to a maximum payment of $25,000.
Eligible businesses that pay salary and wages will receive a minimum payment of $2,000, even if they are not required to withhold tax.
The Boosting Cash Flow for Employers measure will be applied for a limited number of activity statement lodgments. The ATO will deliver the payment as a credit to the business upon lodgment of their activity statements. Where this places the business in a refund position, the ATO will deliver the refund within 14 days.
Quarterly lodgers will be eligible to receive the payment for the quarters ending March 2020 and June 2020. Monthly lodgers will be eligible to receive the payment for the March 2020, April 2020, May 2020 and June 2020 lodgments. To provide a similar treatment to quarterly lodgers, the payment for monthly lodgers will be calculated at three times the rate (150 per cent) in the March 2020 activity statement. The minimum payment will be applied to the business’ first lodgment.
Sarah’s Construction Business – Sarah owns and runs a building business in South Australia and employs 8 construction workers on average full-time weekly earnings who each earn $89,730 per year. In the months of March, April and June for the 2019-20 income year, Sarah reports withholding of $15,008 for her employees on each Business Activity Statement (BAS). Under the Government’s changes, Sarah will be eligible to receive the payment on lodgment of each of her BAS.
Sarah’s business receives:
A payment of $22,512 for the March period, equal to 150 per cent of her total withholding.
A payment of $2,488 for the April period, before she reaches the $25,000 cap.
No payment for the May period, as she has now reached the $25,000 cap.
No payment for the June period, as she has now reached the $25,000 cap.
Sean’s Hairdresser Salon – Sean owns a hairdresser’s salon on the Gold Coast. He employs one apprentice who earns $37,970 per year and two stylists who both earn $44,260 per year. In the March and June 2020 quarterly BAS, Sean reports withholding of $4,570 for his employees. Under the Government’s changes, Sean will be eligible to receive the payment on lodgment of his BAS.
Sean’s business will receive:
A payment of $2,285 for the March quarter, equal to 50 per cent of his total withholding.
A payment of $2,285 for the June quarter, equal to 50 per cent of his total withholding.
Sean’s business will receive a total payment of $4,570. Sean may also benefit from the assistance for existing apprentices and trainees measure.
Tim’s Courier Run – Tim owns and runs a small paper delivery business in Melbourne, and employs two casual employees who each earn $10,000 per year. In the March and June 2020 quarterly BAS, Tim reports withholding of $0 for his employees as they are under the tax-free threshold. Under the Government’s changes, Tim will be eligible to receive the payment on lodgment of his BAS.
Tim’s business will receive:
A payment of $2,000 for the March quarter, as he pays salary and wages but is not required to withhold tax.
No payment for the June quarter, as he has already received the minimum payment and he has no withholding obligation.
If Tim begins withholding tax for the June quarter, he would need to withhold more than $4,000 before he receives any additional payment.
Other measures to assist businesses impacted by COVID-19 include:
deferring by up to four months the payment of tax amounts due through the BAS (including PAYG instalments), income tax assessments, FBT assessments and excise;
allowing businesses on a quarterly reporting cycle to opt into monthly GST reporting to get quicker access to any GST refunds;
allowing businesses to vary PAYG instalment amounts to zero for the April 2020 quarter. Businesses that vary their PAYG instalment to zero can also claim a refund for any instalments made for the September 2019 and December 2019 quarters;
remitting any interest and penalties, incurred on or after 23 January 2020, that have been applied to tax liabilities; and
allowing affected businesses to enter into low-interest payment plans for their existing and ongoing tax liabilities.
Top 10 Quick Wins for Businesses During a Recession
Shared by BBCC President Todd Sotheren of Creation Theory
1. Look for the value – How does your business create value that customers are willing to pay for ? How might this change in the current crisis ? If you stood back and looked at what your customers REALLY need right now, how could you go about providing that for them, in new and better ways ?
2. Sharpen your focus – Also, for most businesses, 20% of the customers provide 80% of the value – could you be doing more with less, if you chose to focus your energies and resources on the most lucrative 20% ?
3. Innovate – Long had an idea for another product or service in the back of your mind ? Maybe it’s time to investigate it more seriously – prototype an entirely new business model. After all, times of turmoil and disruption are always the most innovative.
4. Buy Local – There’s a whole lot of good will to be had in a community for a business which supports other local businesses – and nowhere is that truer than in Byron. Of course, much of that cash you spend in the local market ends up circling back into your business ultimately anyway – it’s almost like paying yourself.
5. Merge – Always admired the way one of your local ‘competitors’ does business ? You know, it’s likely they are also finding it tough right now Maybe, just maybe you could both do better if you combined forces ?
6. Buy – On the other hand, if you’ve been doing well, perhaps now is the perfect timing to be on the lookout for similar businesses to buy. Buying out a similar business is a very low friction way to expand your operations and market share – especially if a competitor is flagging under the current conditions and has had enough.
7. Sell – By contrast, perhaps YOU are that business owner – who has done well to build a good business to this point, but when you think about steering your enterprise through the coming headwinds, you just find the whole idea exhausting. If this is the case, sell early – while you’ve still got a healthy and attractive proposition to bring to the table.
8. Begin to see your creditors as partners – if you carry business debt, it is in the interest of your bank or other lending institution to see you continue in business, so that they will eventually see their money back. In this regard, they should feel incentivised to work with you to ensure that you are not drowning in your debt obligations. Even if not, in Australia reputable lenders are actually obligated to offer you temporary reduced repayments or even a repayment ‘holiday’ for 3-6 months, under ‘Hardship’ legislation.
9. Trim the Sails – if you have 5 employees which you can afford to pay for X number of weeks, based on your current cash, ask yourself whether you would actually be doing the best thing by both your employees and your business if you had only 4 or even 3 employees, who you could then afford to pay for Y number of weeks – ensuring that the business is around to keep employing people for a long time to come.
Yes it’s a tough one, but ask yourself: what is really the wisest decision, in the best interests of everyone involved ?
Either way, if you’re going to act, act early. In this way you will also do the best by your outgoing employee – in releasing them into the market ahead of greater numbers of layoffs to come, later in the downturn cycle.
10. Get Real – Has the business been struggling for a while, even before fires, floods and plagues ? Get together with your accountant and ask the hard questions. Too many business owners are essentially paying to work in their business – with margins that don’t really stack up and/or debts that won’t stop stacking up. If it’s really just not happening, it’s ok to call time on it.
Ideas for Doing Business in Challenging Times
Shared by BBCC Member Ellie Corley of Build Grow Run
A week ago we were all popping out to dinner, planning a cinema trip or two and life was sweet. Now restaurant bookings are down, there is a ‘zero contact delivery’ option for take away restaurants and businesses are bleeding cash for cancelled bookings.
In the space of a week, our lives have changed.
Our business ideas and businesses have shifted.
There are two types of business–those that have had tough times and those that are going to have tough times. What do we need to do to survive them?
I have been through bad times before and advised many businesses about how to deal with a crisis in my career. Here are my non-negotiable advice pointers that have continually proven to be the most helpful to get through the other side.
1. Don’t make things worse by doing nothing.
Whenever you see a disaster looming, the single most important thing to do is take action. Sometimes we can be a little like a deer in the headlights, not quite believing what is going on, frozen on the spot. The problem is that if we don’t leap into action, things will always get worse and they will get worse quickly. Be on the front foot. Make sure you have a crisis plan, be prepared and most of all act. Communicate.
2. Deal with facts, not fiction.
Social media is not an authoritative source of news. In the middle of a tough time, it is really easy to start freaking out based on “what could be” as opposed to what actually is. It is imperative to get all of the information about what is going on and to only deal with facts, regardless of what is going on in your head. Management by fact only.
3. Always cement your relationship with your existing customers.
Now is the time to build bulletproof relationships with each and every customer you are fortunate enough to have. You need to be communicating with your customers, engaging them, asking them for help. Can you offer a loyalty card to your local customers? Could they buy gift cards or vouchers to use later? Communicate with them, what would they have you do? They may have some ideas.
4. Use this situation to rethink your business.
Tough times are crossroads in our businesses and they provide an opportunity to make hard decisions about what is working and what is not. This is the perfect time to stop and really reflect on your business.
5. Half Full… always
Don’t let yourself get caught up in the negativity vortex. Keep away from people who are like this and find the positive, proactive and energetic business owners. Look for solutions, not problems. Can business owners or community members come together and support one another?
6. Invest in yourself.
Maybe this is the time to learn new skills through books, seminars, online training, mentoring, coaching, really whatever it takes. Don’t give up on your daydream.
7. We can help coach you through challenging times.
Talk to us, we can offer advice on how to get through your challenges.
8. Learn from the experience.
This can be such a cliché but it is true. You will be stronger. What would you do differently next time?
Hard-Learned Wisdom for Navigating a Recession, as a Business Leader
Shared by Sourdough Business Pathways founder Dr James Crowley
These jewels of wisdom have been generously compiled for us by the original Sourdough Business Pathways founder Dr James Crowley, who reckon’s he’s the only member of our business community old enough to actually recall having been through a recession in business [ he might be right – after all, it’s been 30 years for Australia ].
- Financial control – If you don’t do a fortnightly extraction of your key figures from Xero/Excel/Myob –and write them down and analyse them so your brain really “gets” the way money moves in your business; if you rely on scanning them on screen; then you are way behind being able to cope, (I should use a term stronger than this !) so start doing this.
- As recession approaches – Smell a recession and start to plan well before it to lower all unnecessary spending and build cash reserves. Everything else becomes about sales. Decide how far ones sales can fall before a month becomes negative costs versus income; Move everything to two weekly reporting/ monitoring/ of income versus expenditure.
- Decisions – A recession continues if businesses cut staff…they can’t spend…so other business suffer…and it goes round in a circle. You have to balance trying to make sure you are not going to collapse financially with trying to keep staff employed. It’s in your own interest also because you need them when the upturn comes. It’s a really tricky balance. Work out at exec level which staff is essential in case of a bad long recession and who might have to be laid off. Sales will help you decide when.
- Cash – Put on hold all major capital new expenditure where possible and only start if sales remain stable (problem of the side effect if everyone cuts back recession hits harder). Build cash reserves. If you have cash reserves hang onto as many staff as possible. It will help you come out the other end faster. Consider not paying yourself anything for a period if you have the personal wealth to do so. Instead try to keep staff on.
- Education – Use recession to teach staff how money works. I.e. sales. Costs. Cash flow. People no longer “get it” as money has just happened for 20 years. If you have a workforce who understands the finances of the business it builds loyalty and a willingness to try to keep it going.
- Suppliers – Try to pay suppliers on time or before. If everybody starts to stretch out payments then over time a whole lot will collapse. Whilst you don’t want this to happen, you also won’t have trusted suppliers when you start to ease out of the recession.
- Emotion – Move every decision to fortnightly – based on financial evidence. Let the figures control your emotion. There is no time for emotion or regret at loss in a recession – you have to know the figures and you have to rise above the emotion for decision-making.
- Hype – Don’t get conned into going to “hype” investment or “hype” business seminars. Listen to grounded business people who have been through the experience and go to seminars that are grounded in reality. Towards the end of a long growth period “hype” “get rich quick” and “image” offerings increase considerably and some will be used to them. There are no answers there.
- Sales – Increase your targeting of key clients or customer segments, work out who are still spending and work harder at sales of things that help them; work out those who will buy nothing for a while and then return and work out how to get the first of their requirements when they start to spend again.
Shared by Maria Collyer – Business Adviser at AusIndustry
Diversification: How diverse is your supply chain? Do you have a few different suppliers of key parts, products or ingredients? Consider domestic and international supply chain, and spread supply chain risk wisely to mitigate production interruptions. What about the customer? Can you diversify your buyers? If you supply to cafes or restaurants, can you supply direct to retail? If you ARE in food service, could you offer home deliveries, or supply to nursing homes or hospitals as a strategy to carry through rather than closing doors? These are just examples. Think diversification!
Strategic Partnerships: Look to fellow businesses. How can you pool capabilities and lift each other? Consider brand-aligned products or services for joint marketing, distribution or innovative initiatives to respond to changing market demand.
Cash Flow Planning: Spend some time on scenario analysis and what-ifs to develop well considered responses to changes in orders, revenue or production capacity.
Payment Terms: Remember that small businesses as well as large corporations are vulnerable in these rapidly changing business conditions. For that reason, many product and service providers are asking payment or deposits upfront, on order. Communicate with debtors and creditors to find a win-win model that can be conducive for all stakeholders in the supply chain.
Government support: Stay up to date with any initiatives, grants or changed requirements in favour of business. Notably, the NSW Government has adopted Business NSW’s calls for substantial payroll tax relief for NSW businesses:
- $450 million for the waiver of payroll tax for businesses with payrolls of up to $10 million for three months. Businesses with payrolls of up to $10 million will not be required to make payroll tax payments for the rest of 2019-20;
- $56 million to bring forward the next round of payroll tax cuts by raising the threshold limit to $1 million in 2020-21;
- $80 million to waive a range of fees and charges for small businesses including bars, cafes, restaurants and tradies;
The Morrison Government announced a Small Business Rebuild Package focused on local government areas (LGAs) that have been most impacted by the Black Summer bushfires.:
- a new $10,000 grant to assist significantly impacted small businesses in specific LGAs;
- the Commonwealth and states working together to make concessional loans for indirectly affected businesses easier to access and manage;
Managing Your Business & Mental Health Through Coronavirus
Shared by Pru Chapman at Owners Collective
One of our great local business leaders in Byron, Pru spends her days helping other businesses to reach their fullest potential. This week Pru turns her focus to managing your business through this unprecedented moment in time.
Ways the Community is Coming Together to Show Support During COVID-19
Shared by Eventbrite
To Our Valued Event Creator Community,
The impacts of COVID-19 on our creator community and fellow attendees has been vast. Our thoughts are with all of you and we hope you’re safe and healthy. We are reminded of just how critical it is to support one another during these challenging times, and are in awe of the many ways individuals have rallied to bolster unity and understanding.
Here are some meaningful ways we’re seeing people come together (virtually):
- Purchasing gift certificates to local restaurants and brick & mortar retailers to provide an alternative revenue stream
- Hosting virtual happy hours with friends and family to bolster human connection
- Buying tickets to future events to show support for the greater community
- Offering supermarket runs or meal delivery to the elderly and immunocompromised
- Contributing financially to food banks for children who have lost access to daily meals during school closures
- Donating to artists, performers, and venues to show solidarity and continue the celebration of the arts
- Providing online attendance options for classes, concerts, religious services and more to connect communities to meaningful experiences