How is your business holding up through this period of disruption?
If you're a small business owner – as more than 450,000 of us are – you're probably a bit apprehensive about what might lie ahead.
Here are a few things you can do to give yourself the best fighting chance.
GET ALL THE HELP THAT'S AVAILABLE
Don't be afraid to put your hand up for the subsidies announced by the Government. You can get these whatever your business structure. There is also increasing leeway on tax obligations through this period and a guaranteed loan scheme for small businesses.
GET IN TOUCH WITH YOUR BANK
If you're worried about how things are looking for your business, get in touch with your bank as soon as you can to keep them updated. Similarly, flag with your landlord if you're worried that you'll have trouble paying rent for now. Letting suppliers know what's happening will also allow them to plan on their end and perhaps assist with credit.
LOCK IN YOUR CUSTOMERS
If you're not able to keep serving customers through this time, think about how you might be able to keep their business. You might want to presell gift vouchers to use when we come out of this economic hibernation or sign them up for subscriptions or specials that take effect in the future.
You don't have to go it alone. There are support structures in place to help you get through. Get in touch with your local Chamber of Commerce or regional development agency, or talk to your accountant. Stick to the official websites such as MSD, IRD for information as there is some misinformation on social media.
TALK TO YOUR STAFF
You're not the only person who cares about the health of your business. If you're facing tough times, be open with your staff and ask for their input and support. They may have ideas and insight that you don't have the perspective to see at this stage. Keeping in touch with them regularly is important in this unknown period of isolation as they will have some questions which you may need to find the answer for, such as their leave entitlements.
It's easy to be immobilised by the uncertainty that's everywhere at the moment. Instead of giving in to panic, use this time to work out how you'll rebound from this shutdown. Work on your short- and long-term planning so that you can make decisions for an overall strategy for success.
Jeremy Tauri is an associate at Plus Chartered Accountants.