For many businesses in Australia, the end of September marks a new horizon: the end of JobKeeper support. For some, it’s completely done its job – given your business and your team breathing space to get over the shock of COVID-19, regroup and rebuild so that by now, you have a clear plan forward – a stronger and more viable business.
For others, it will be full of uncertainty. Still. For you, the drop in revenue didn’t come until later, or the waves post-March just kept coming, not giving you the headspace you needed to think your way clearly to a Plan B. Or the drop in revenue was steep, just not 30% steep enough to continue to be supported after September. Or you’re in Melbourne.
I don’t buy that if you’re going to struggle after September, you don’t have a viable business. Things just aren’t that black and white. The last six months have been the most difficult I have ever experienced. The financial support given by federal Government across a number of initiatives, not just JobKeeper, since March has been nothing short of extraordinary. If you are one of the 2 million businesses that make up the wonderful business landscape in this country, and you are fortunate to have made it this far, there is plenty of work ahead of us.
So if you’re an SME owner, and you’re going to bed tonight with a heavy heart, full of doubt, I hope the following will help lighten the load a little:
Check that you’re OK. I mean YOU, the business owner, the one who’s been carrying the weight, day in, day out, for the last six months. If you’re not, get help. The toll has been great for a great many of us.
Check in with your Team. Make sure they’re OK. If you’ve got a great team, they’ll have felt this alongside you. Reassure them that you’ll be working through the next 12 months together (it could well be rough for a long while whilst we recover from the fallout).
Understand what’s still available to you. Make sure you’re getting all the help and support available to your organisation – both financial and non-financial. If you don’t know what’s available, ask someone in your network or your industry to point you in the right direction. Support is all around.
Surround yourself with proactive, positive, doers. Now is not the time to get sucked into the groups bitching and moaning about how hard it is. It’s hard. Talking about how hard it is doesn’t make it easier. Action is the only thing that moves the needle out of the red.
Get help. You’re going to need the A Team. Almost all of us have never experienced trading conditions like this ever. There aren’t books about it (yet), you can’t phone a friend (they haven’t been there either) and there’s a lot of well-meaning, but utterly useless advice about pushing through (used to work, but what got you here, won’t get you through to the other side this time).
Get across the numbers: Profit & Cash. If you don’t understand the difference between these two (and I didn’t when I started out), make it a priority to find out from someone who can explain it in a way you can understand. Now. As in today. Not only is JobKeeper coming to an end, but so are a number of other initiatives that have been in place behind the scenes. You’ll likely feel these more acutely (in the short-term) in a reduction of the cash levels you’ve been used to holding.
Build a stable core so you can take risks. Sounds counter-intuitive, doesn’t it, and it’s tempting to play it ultra-safe coming out of this but the businesses that thrive in the next 3 years will be those who can build on a strong foundation to make the most of a changed world. The time to start building that foundation, if you haven’t already, is Tomorrow.
If you’d like more information about how the JobKeeper changes will impact your business, contact us.