COVID-19 LIVE: This blog is updated every day… with updates of government support, stimulus support, tips and more. Stay tuned!
We are trying our best to provide full support to small businesses in Australia. The restrictions imposed on the social gatherings are going up almost every day. This means going virtual or online is the best bet for the businesses. We are OFFERING FREE ADVICE to any Australian small business or sole trader. Anything you wish to know about taking your business online, our digital experts are here to help. We are OPEN and here to support. Call: (07) 3191 5431
How to support your business during Coronavirus? Here you will find useful tips to sustain or even grow your business despite Coronavirus.
1. Get Your Business Online
You don’t have to depend on govt. for everything. If your business is effected, find new strategies to sell. If you have been running your business offline, this is the time to bring it online.
- PRODUCTS – If you sell any products off line may be in markets or brick & mortar shop, this is the time to start an online store (eCommerce website) to sell products online. Customer will order your products at the comfort of their home and Australia post will deliver. You do not have to worry about “social distancing” effecting your business.
- SERVICES – If you have a service business say you’re an Accountant, Lawyer, Electrician, Plumbing or similar – improve your online presence because people who need these services are still searching online. So, make efforts to get found online when your customers search online.
Focus on online marketing such as SEO and Social Media. Try to get your business to the top of search results in search engines when people search for your products or services. SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is the best way to do this.
Contact WebsiteFix Digital for any advice. We are offering FREE consultation during COVID-19
If you have time at home and not getting much work then use this free time to improve your website. Take help of website design experts. See how you can improve your digital marketing so it can help you not just in time of crisis but also for many years to come.
Can’t go out and meet your clients? Why not do it online? Do following:
- If you are a fitness coach, business coach, accountant, a beautician or similar – Bring your clients on video a video call or conferencing and coach them. Checkout this blog for 10 free video chat apps to use in the times of social distancing. Zoom video calling app is becoming really popular during Coronavirus crisis. Follow the expert tips when you’re in a video call. Here are some dos and don’t of video calling.
- Make YouTube videos – YouTube has 2 billion users worldwide. Aussies are spending a lot of time on YouTube. 16.2M Aussie adults spent an average of 25h 19m per person on YouTube in December. This makes it crucial for businesses to get on YouTube. Successful YouTubers are making thousands or even millions of dollars. This money they’re making not just because of the ads that show up next to your video but mostly because they are able to reach a wider audience. As you can see in image above, 90% of people surveyed by ThinkWithGoogle said they discover new brands or products on YouTube.
- Want to learn how to throw a javelin? Change a tyre? Speak Latin? Chances are, if viewers have a need, YouTube has a video that can teach them everything they need to know. YouTube has democratised knowledge, providing a place where people can watch and learn just about anything they can think of.
Call WebsiteFix Digital experts if you need more advice on how to setup YouTube channel, Facebook page, promoting your products online and more ideas.
If you’re not convinced yet, may this video will where YouTuber Casey Neistat showing how “you should do what you can’t” with still of YouTubers who are killing it. By the way, you don’t need any fancy equipment, just your mobile will do.
There are variety of things you can do from home. YouTube channel is great but your own website is also one of the best selling tools you have to grow your business. So work on improving it. Some of the important things you can do if you have free time at home:
- Work on a successful content marketing strategy. Write blogs for your business website and share these blogs on social media
- Write a newsletter for your customers to update them about your work situation or any tips you would like to give them
- Improve your website (add text to your website – check if important pages on your site needs more text, add contact forms, social links, update design etc)
- Setup Google docs free service (or G Suite paid service) to bring your business documents online, make business plans, make notes
- Talk to other businesses and study their websites for ideas and prepare your prospecting plan for future
- SEO is very important. Focus on growing your search rankings in Google
- Work on improving your branding for long term benefits
- Improve your social media channels and overall social media marketing
Though it is only a short list of myriad of things you can do for your business from home but we hope you got the idea.
How Aussie businesses are coping-
Like many other retailers, Australian skincare brand Aesop closed its retail stores in the midst of COVID-19, moving all business online. To support online sales, the company added four additional warehouse sites, each requiring at least one or more pickups per day.
Four Pillars, a gin distillery in the Yarra Valley, faced a steep decline in business when COVID-19 travel restrictions impacted tourism and business safety guidelines came into force.
“About 60% of our business fell off a cliff with general movement restrictions,” Director Cameron Mackenzie says. “From a hospitality standpoint, our distillery closed, as well as bars and restaurants.”
But the company adapted. Using excess alcohol and a gin by-product, it started producing Heads, Tails & Clean Hands hand sanitiser. Hospitality staff were redeployed to fulfil thousands of enquiries that poured in.
“All those workers who were facing an uncertain future got another five to six weeks to get their ducks lined up and organise themselves,” Mackenzie says.
2. Stay Updated
|Recent announcements – June 2020|
|$415 million for more infrastructure jobs in Queensland — Additional funding from the Commonwealth and Queensland Governments for new infrastructure projects and road safety upgrades to support construction businesses and workers.|
Small Business COVID-19 Adaption Grant Program — The Queensland Government is extending this program, with up to $100 million available to deliver a second round of grants. Half of this funding is earmarked for regional small businesses located outside of South East Queensland. Round 2 will open on 1 July 2020. Find out more at www.business.qld.gov.au/
Approved Industry COVID Safe plans — The Chief Health Officer has now approved 19 industry plans. COVID Safe Plans are developed by industry bodies based on best practice to allow industries to have additional customers on business premises.
Tourism business recovery tool — With tourism businesses reopening the Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC) has developed a free COVID-19 Business Recovery Planning Tool with the Australian Tourism Industry Council. QTIC is also currently running its micro-credentialing program, giving eligible tourism and hospitality businesses the opportunity to upskill for free.
Sign up for a free Mentoring for Growth session — Register your business to be matched with a volunteer business mentor who can best help you at this time with your business’ operational challenges and/or opportunities. All our sessions are currently being offered online (Zoom) on Tuesdays and Thursdays and run for approximately 45 minutes. We are currently booking in sessions for late July 2020.
GO1 Queensland Small Business Skills hub — A free online training library of around 400 online courses is now available to Queensland small businesses and their employees thanks to a new partnership between the Queensland Government and local online training company GO1.com.
Fair Work Commission announced 1.75% increase to minimum wage — Increases to awards will be made on three different dates with the first group, covering frontline health care and social assistance workers, teachers and child care, other essential services and workers not covered by an award, to take effect from 1 July 2020.
|26 and 29 June: Australian Tax Office’s Tax support for small business webinars|
6 July: Submissions close for the small business online training expressions of interest
|Queensland Government Unite against COVID-19: Covers Unite and Recover for Queensland Jobs strategy, Roadmap to easing restrictions and COVID Safe checklists and plans.|
Jobs Finder Queensland: Connecting Queenslanders looking for work with a network of recruitment and employment agencies.
Queensland Small Business Commissioner: Leasing advice and dispute resolution
Within a few days, billions of dollars have been announced to help Australians – first stimulus package of $18b and second stimulus package of $66b to support the most vulnerable individuals and businesses. There are various things in these stimulus packages which you should be aware of. Stay up to date by following credible, official sources like the business.gov.au site for all the Coronavirus information and support for small businesses.
Covid-19 update: 9 April 2020 – Parliament passes $130bn Covid-19 wage subsidy
Covid-19 update: 31 March 2020 – Only two are allowed in public gathering unless family.
As mentioned above, since restrictions are put on social gatherings and people are trying to stay home most of the time, it is high time to bring your business online. If you sell products, focus on selling online.
Covid-19 update: 23 March 2020 Australian government update: Pubs, licensed clubs and hotels (excluding accommodation), places of worship, gyms, indoor sporting venues, cinemas, casinos to close from midday Monday, March 23. Restaurants and cafes to offer takeaway only.
We will also keep you updated here in this blog. Follow us on Facebook so you do not miss our latest updates and tips for small businesses.
3. Stay in touch with your customers
Effective communication with your customers is important. Update your social channels like Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn and tell people if you are still open. Don’t leave them guessing. Also, if you are offering any free support (ex: free consultation, free support or free resources) then let them know. This is the time to help each other and also let your customers know that you care. Update social media about the news and information that can benefit your customers or clients.
Example: Accountants are constantly creating blogs and sharing on social media about about recent stimulus packages and what it means for their clients. Lawyers helping business with legal issues and marketers helping them with setting up and growing business online. Think what kind of information you can share with your audience in your industry.
Proactively share important information with your customers using email, your website, Facebook Page, Instagram Business Profile, or however you typically connect. Remember that you can pin important posts to the top of your Facebook Page for quick viewing. You might include information about the measures you’re taking to make your premises or products safe, or how you will handle customer inquiries if there are expected shipping delays.
You can also update your Page hours to show your customers how and when you’re available for business. Notify customers of any changes or modifications to your availability or services by updating your Page Info and selecting Open With Service Changes or Temporarily Closed, depending on your situation.
Use this time to find businesses to collaborate. Many bloggers, YouTubers, entrepreneurs collaborate with each other to grow. They cross promote each other’s websites, YouTube channels, products or services. You can do that too.
Go to LinkedIn or just Google search to find opportunities. As professionals and business owners are working from home, they have more time and opportunity to read your email or attend your calls. Send them emails asking for collaboration.
Some collab. examples: Mention each other’s complementary services on business website, mention someone else’s business in your blog or Vlog, Send clients to your collab. who offer complementary service which you can offer to your existing customer and so on. See what suits your own unique individual personality and your business.
Collaborate with Influencers. Usually, Influencers have thousands or even millions of followers. Many online entrepreneurs make a lot of money by selling their products with the help of Influencers. See if you can reach out to some Instagram, YouTube or Facebook influencer (who has lots of followers in your industry) and ask to collaborate. You can work out a fee so they publish a post about your business with their followers. This can boost your sales and business exposure.
5. Get FREE Mentoring
Many business coaches, Accountants, digital marketers are offering free mentoring or advice to help businesses like you.
At WebsiteFix Digital, we are offering free consultation to setup your business online or any other online marketing related help. Make use of this great opportunity. Talk to experts in variety of fields. Talk to business coach to gain knowledge of sustaining business in these tough times and in future, talk to your Accountant for better understanding of tax (especially with recent changes) or talk to a Digital marketing expert for tips to bring your business online as mentioned in step 2 above. Being proactive in the face of economic downturns and natural crises is critical for any business.
For those who have immigration issues or have questions related to recent changes in visas they should contact immigration lawyers. Check this blog for latest Australian immigration update. Taking help from experts save a lot of time and gives you enough time to focus on your recovery strategy.
6. Increase Online Sales
As per CPA Australia, customers are likely to stay home (whether at the instructions of health authorities or by choice), and therefore, purchase more online. To remain viable, many small businesses will need to begin selling online or increase how much they sell online. Businesses need to shift their focus
A key part to preparing for the crisis is investigating different online platforms to see which one is best to sell your products to reduce your reliance on your shop front. It is best to start focusing on online marketing such as SEO, ppc, social media and more. Your digital marketing specialist may be able to assist you with these important considerations.
Suppliers of services should investigate digital solutions to the delivery of services to reduce the need for face to face contact. Consequently, you may choose to close some of your physical locations. In this cases, it may be more important than ever to increase your presence online and sell products or service online where possible.
7. Home Office setup
If you or your employee get sick then it will create huge negative impact on your business. So needless to say work from home and let your staff work from home if possible. Setup a place appropriate for working from home. Give your staff guidance and a structure to work with. With the work mentioned in step 2, you can also allocate some of it to your employees.
For on field workers, sole traders thinking how they can do work from home, well if you can’t directly do what you usually do in your business then do something else which you can do from home such as focusing on online marketing. This may not be the same as working directly in it but indirectly you may end up making a strategy which will help your business for a very long time.
So make the best use of this time at home. Don’t just sit and think you can’t do anything at all because of your job types. Remember, even if you think that in your business there is nothing that you can work from home, still there is always something you can do as mentioned in step 2.
8. Take Help From Banks
Australian banks have been actively releasing the support packages to help home loan owners and business owners. They are reducing loan rate, allowing you to easily access redraw from home loan, and even pausing your home loan for 6 months if you eligible. Business owners can also apply for a personal or business loan. Check your bank’s website, contact them via email or phone to check how they can help. However, check online for info. before picking up the phone. It is not wise to bombard the organisations unless it is really necessary. Online chat option is best if the phones are busy.
9. Stay Away From Scammers
Incorporate cyber security into your contingency planning. As more staff may work from home, and the use of remote access technology increases, adversaries may attempt to take advantage. ASD’s Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) encourages Australians to remain vigilant and ensure sound cyber security practices. ACSC has given certain guidelines to stay safe from scammers so make sure you have a look at them to protect yourself and your employees from scammers.
10. Try hosting online events
In case you need to postpone or cancel any planned events as a result of the outbreak, try hosting a webinar or organise live sessions on social channels such as Facebook or Instagram. Many businesses who can practically coach, service, or deliver events online are doing so using variety of online platforms.
11. Prepare a customer service plan
In order to be responsive and transparent with your customers during this challenging moment, prepare for incoming questions and requests. Consider drafting template responses for your emails or set up instant-reply messages with information you expect your customers will be looking for. Connect with your customers for free in real time using Instagram Direct Messages , Messenger or setting up a WhatsApp Business profile .
12. Provide a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Prepare a list of responses for questions your customers are likely to ask, and provide as much detail and reassurance as possible in your answers. Here is an example of what an FAQ could look like:
Q: Can I cancel my order (travel tickets / educational programs / gym memberships)?
A: Of course we will cancel your order / reschedule or cancel your trip / pause your membership on request. Once your order is cancelled, the spend amount from your original purchase will be refunded to your account. We look forward to doing business with you again soon.