After months of being in COVID-19 lockdown, restrictions are beginning to ease and businesses are slowly starting to head back to normality. It will take time and patience but it’s a step in the right direction for Aussie small businesses and the economy.
If you’re preparing to re-open your business there are a few things to keep in mind before getting all hands back on deck.
Check the rules
Business.gov.au has a list of links to state and territory-specific resources to help you stay in the loop with alerts and updates. Each state and territory is in control of when restrictions will be lifted as part of the Australian Government’s 3-step framework.
The framework outlines the planned process to ease restrictions and limitations to help kick start the economy. It also provides specific restriction details for the following industries:
- Education and childcare
- Cafes and restaurants
- Retail and sales
- Entertainment and amusement venues
- Sport and recreation
- Hair and beauty services
- Domestic travel
For some industries, adapting has been the key to survival and required significant changes and thinking outside the square. It may take time to figure out what’s working well and what needs to change for your business but don’t be afraid to get creative. If you need some inspiration, check out how these Aussie businesses thought outside the square to keep their business going.
Having a plan in place will help ease some of the stress of getting your business up and going again. Take the time to reassess any business plans you may have in place and adjust them as needed.
Create a list of what needs to be done before opening, what resources you need and time frames on how to achieve it. Consider including the following in your plan:
- Staffing- depending on your business and how many employees you have, you may need to create a roster to reduce the number of people in the workspace at the same time.
- Marketing- let your customers, suppliers and other contacts know your preparing to re-open. Include details of any restrictions they should be aware of, if you are meeting by appointment only or accepting limited bookings.
- Finances- make sure your business is financially ready to re-open by having a chat to your accountant. If you are a small business in need of financial assistance, the Australian government has grants and schemes available to help.
Recommended reading: How to Create a Business Continuity Plan
It’s crucial to keep your staff informed about what is happening with the business, what the next steps are and what regulations are in place. If your in hospitality or retail, have a mock opening with your employees to get a feel for the new distancing measures and hygiene practices.
Many businesses have created an online community for their teams to chat (Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Slack), share updates and critical information. These apps make it easy to communicate in a central forum and can be accessed anytime.
Take some time to understand the safety measures that your business needs to follow before opening its doors. Different industries will have set instructions on what processes need to be in place to ensure your business is ready to get back at it.
To help prevent the spread of COVID-19 consider putting these measures in place:
- Clear signage on social distancing and customer limits
- Make sure you have enough hand sanitizer and cleaning products to maintain a clean work environment
- If your business is within an office environment, you may need to rethink seating arrangements and implementing physical barriers to create safe distances between staff
- The National Coronavirus hotline is available to contact 24/7 if you or any of your staff have any concerns regarding the virus
Another virus that has been damaging small businesses is cyber-crime. Scamwatch has reported over 2,000 COVID-19 related scams and over $700,000 in losses since the outbreak of the virus.
Small businesses are not immune from cyber-crime and Cyber Liability insurance can be a wise choice when it comes to protecting your business online.
Cyber Liability insurance* is designed to help protect you from claims and support your profitability in the event of a cyber breach or attack. Costs associated with defending a cyber claim are also covered.
Cyber Liability insurance can assist with inadvertent loss or release of a customer’s personal information, cyber-crime, cyber extortion, ransomware and business interruption due to a cyber event.
Are you ready to open?
If your small business is preparing to re-open, share your experience, tips and best practices in the comments below.
*As with any insurance, cover will be subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions contained in the policy wording. The information contained on this web page is general only and should not be relied upon as advice.