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6 ways to make reopening your business easier

4-minute read

Make reopening your business in 2021 as safe and smooth as possible with these six considerations to help you prepare.

Key take-outs
  • Re-evaluate your strategy before reopening to help position your business for success
  • Make sure you understand COVID requirements to keep your staff and customers safe
  • Know where you stand with your finances and your strategy to boost your cash flow if needed

1. Review your business strategy

The world as we knew it was turned on its head in 2020 and, for many industries, ‘business as usual’ no longer exists. If your business has been closed for an extended period of time, or you’re in an industry that’s been significantly disrupted by the pandemic, it’s a good idea to re-evaluate your strategy before reopening. This could include reviewing:

 

• Whether your products or services are still relevant

• How your customer base may have changed

• Whether your staffing requirements have changed

• How your suppliers have been impacted by COVID-19

• Whether your operational procedures need to be adjusted

• Whether the technology you use (such as your payment system) is still fit for purpose

 

Depending on your business, it could be worth making some adjustments to your business model, or you might find it’s time to pivot your business entirely. In any case, pausing to re-evaluate your strategy before reopening could help position you for success. 

 

2. Assess your cash flow

Cash flow is the lifeblood of any business. And if your sales have dried up recently there’s a good chance your cash flow has too. 

 

Before reopening, monitor your accounts to see how you’re tracking and whether you might need a cash flow boost to help get you back on your feet. This could be a case of chasing up any unpaid invoices, streamlining costs or looking into financing options such as a business overdraft to help cover short-term expenses.

 

3. Train staff on COVID-safe practices

If you have employees, set up a training session to go through policies and best practices (PDF 41KB) for keeping everyone safe. Health and safety requirements vary by state and industry but, as a general rule of thumb, you could consider implementing policies around:

 

• How often employees should wash their hands

• When protective equipment such as gloves, face masks and sneeze guards should be worn

• Cleaning schedules (including providing cleaning and disinfection supplies and equipment)

• Keeping staff safe by, for instance, directing them to socially distance and stay at home if they feel unwell

• Minimising close contact by, for example, adjusting rosters to reduce the number of employees working at any one time

 

Not sure what rules apply to your business? Safe Work Australia provides industry-specific guidance on COVID-19 work health and safety.

 

4. Set up check-in functionality

Checking into retail outlets and other venues has become an everyday reality. Businesses around Australia are required to set up check-in functionality and keep electronic records of people who enter their premises to assist with contact tracing of COVID-19, if necessary. 

 

If you need to set up a check-in, register your business and download the relevant contact-tracing app for your state or territory:

 

• NSW: Register your business as COVID Safe and get a free QR code for contactless check-in

• VIC: Register to use the Victorian Government’s QR code service

• WA: Download the SafeWA app

• TAS: Register your business to use the Check In Tas App

• SA: Download the mySA GOV app

• NT: Download The Territory Check In app

• QLD: As no official Queensland Government app has been released, business owners can choose how to collect and store check-in details

 

5. Introduce touch-free payment options

COVID-19 has accelerated the move away from cash as we pay more attention to hygiene and minimise cash handling. Introducing a touch-free payment solution such as Presto Smart could help you, your staff and your customers stay safe. Plus, you’ll be able to track and monitor your transactions, speed up reconciliation and better manage your cash flow. 

 

6. Know where to get support when you need it

Although the economy is emerging from the worst of the pandemic’s effects, the reality is many businesses are still doing it tough. According to data from ABS, 1 in 5 businesses reported decreased revenue in December 2020, and more than a quarter expect the downward trend to continue throughout January.

 

With this in mind, it’s worthwhile knowing what options are available in case you need a bit of extra help. We’ve put in place a number of support measures to help our business customers, including offering business loans of up to $1 million secured or up to $75,000 in unsecured loans as part of Phase 2 of the Government’s Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme.

 

Having a plan in place is the first step to a successful return to business in 2021. Need support? Find out how we can help. 

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Things you should know

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.