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Tips to reduce COVID-19 cash flow gaps for small businesses

4-minute read

With market uncertainty across every industry, cash flow gaps are affecting many business owners. Here’s how you can help keep your business stay afloat.

Key take-outs
  • While waiting for JobKeeper Payments to kick in, some banks are providing temporary overdraft facilities to help bridge the cash flow gap
  • Loan deferrals can help business owners manage critical expenses such as credit card repayments and loan repayments
  • Savvy entrepreneurs are reviewing their business strategies and looking for untapped markets to help boost their cash flow
  • Westpac is offering temporary funding assistance for businesses who have enrolled in the JobKeeper Payment scheme and are in need of bridging finance

The government’s $130 billion JobKeeper scheme is a much-needed lifeline for Australian business owners and their employees. It means millions of workers can maintain a steady income for at least the next six months, with the government subsidising wages to the tune of $1,500 per fortnight for every eligible employee.

 

While this is great news for staff, many business owners are already struggling to pay their bills and employee’s wages while they continue to wait for the government stimulus to kick in. This can create major cash flow gaps, leaving owners unsure how to stay afloat in the interim. Here are some helpful ways you can bridge those cash flow gaps to keep the lights on now and hit the ground running once the pandemic is over.

Help covering your critical expenses with overdrafts or loans 

To help business owners cover their expenses, business banking customers can apply for support through temporary overdrafts or deferral of interest and principal payments on their business loans and credit cards for up to six months.

 

The six month overdraft facility offered as part of Westpac’s JobKeeper assistance package can help eligible businesses by providing temporary access to funding whilst they wait on the JobKeeper Payments to kick in. Under the same package, eligible businesses with an existing facility can also apply for a temporary increase at the same interest rate.

 

Depending on your financial provider, you may also be able to apply for an unsecured term loan of up to $250,000 over three years. This can provide an injection of capital to help you get through a difficult period.

 

While all these services are designed to support business owners, they should also balance your current needs. 

 

“Westpac is here to support business customers with these new measures, but it is also important to view the government support, deferral options and unsecured business lending as a last resort,” says Chris Brell, Westpac’s State General Manager NSW/ACT, Business Bank. 

Look at alternative business strategies

While business lending support can relieve some of the financial pressure, many owners are looking internally at how they can pivot their sales strategy. Some helpful solutions to bridge your own cash flow gaps might include:

 

  • New revenue sources: Australian businesses are using this unexpected downtime to pivot their sales strategies to maintain their cash flow. Coffee shops and bars have shifted to delivery business models, stage-construction companies have started building and selling home-office furniture, and countless breweries and distilleries are using alcohol to make their own brand of hand sanitiser.
  • Online-only: Businesses that have traditionally traded in face-to-face are now finding success in shifting their operations entirely online. Letting your staff work from home also reduces your overheads and can even improve productivity.
  • Leverage the power of social: If you’ve neglected social media until now, it’s time to embrace its potential. There’s already been a marked surge in social media consumption, and savvy business owners can use social channels to market to new audiences.

 

The financial impact of COVID-19 was a sudden and unexpected shock for Australian business owners, but support measures are available. If you’re experiencing cash flow gaps while waiting for JobKeeper Payments to kick in, speak to your lender about your options. This is also the ideal opportunity to reassess your business strategy and look for new sources of revenue.


Read more

Is my business eligible for the JobKeeper payment?

Under the Government’s JobKeeper program, you could be able to claim a fortnightly payment of $1,500 per eligible employee.

Repayment relief options for business explained

If your business is losing revenue due to COVID-19, help is at hand. Find out if you’re eligible for repayment relief, the options available and how it could help you.

Continuity planning in response to COVID-19

Find out how to take action to respond to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and protect your business.

Things you should know

Terms and Conditions and Eligibility Criteria apply.

 

The JobKeeper program is a Federal Government initiative and we provide a link to the external site for your convenience. This information is provided for general information only. Please read the Government’s fact sheet to see if you are eligible and for terms and conditions that apply. You should consider seeking independent legal, financial, taxation or other advice on how the Federal Government initiatives relate to your circumstances.

 

This information does not take into account your personal circumstances and is general. It is an overview only and should not be considered a comprehensive statement on any matter or relied upon. Consider obtaining personalised advice from a professional financial adviser and your accountant before making any financial decisions in relation to the matters discussed in this article, including when considering tax and finance options for your business.