As a business owner, there’s one key thing you need to totally focus on now – keeping your business alive during these difficult times. It’s not all doom and gloom either – consider how the external environment has highlighted areas for improvement and opportunity in your business.

If you take actionable appropriate steps to create a Continuity Plan, then in reality a downturn is just a stop gap to the next upturn, where your business will be cash flow fit and ready to take full advantage.

The starting point and key focus of a Continuity Plan is to preserve cash at all costs. If you haven’t already, start to build a cash “war chest” which will let you keep trading through the coming difficult months.

Here are some key actionable steps you should consider immediately:

  1. Government stimulus packages – Maximise cash receipts from the Government Stimulus package and ensure you have applied for every measure you are eligible for.
  2. Cashflow forecast – Prepare a cashflow forecast for the next 12 months with various scenarios. For example, consider if your business can survive if, say:
    1. your income reduced by 50%;
    2. you reduced wages by cutting hours or standing down staff;
    3. you reduced rent by 50%; or
    4. you deferred payments to the ATO.
  3. Review ATO tax relief options – Consider delaying payments to the ATO. The ATO have various relief measures in place including deferred payment dates and payment arrangements available. Businesses can call the ATO’s Emergency Support Infoline (1800 806 218) to discuss relief options based on their needs and circumstances.
  4. Accounts receivables – Can you reduce your payment terms? Can you negotiate with your clients/customers to make upfront payments? Chase up late payments FAST, don’t be complacent as the longer you leave it the harder it will be to collect.
  5. Fixed term contracts – Discuss these with suppliers and ask if they can be reduced or cancelled. Don’t assume that suppliers won’t work with you. You paying a supplier a smaller payment will be better for them than receiving no payment if your business closes.
  6. Equipment – Be realistic about what equipment you need in your business. Decide if you can sell any underutilised or obsolete equipment to create additional cashflow for your ‘war chest’.
  7. Insurance – Review your general insurance policies for any Business Interruption Insurance inclusions. Now is the time to contact your insurance agent to review your policy to understand precisely what you are and are not covered for in the event of an extended incident.
  8. Mental Health – This could be one of the most stressful times ever for you as a business owner. Ensure you look after yourself first, so that you are best placed to help others. It is likely that you have never worked harder than you have now. Renewal time is vital to allow yourself time to rest and recover. If you feel you need help, reach out to a family member, friend or support service. Beyond Blue have a Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service – check out for more information.