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Business Insights – 6th September 2021 – Lockdown til November and what to do

I’m here with insights for Australian businesses on 6th September 2021 as we have heard news that Victoria will be in lockdown until November.

In this briefing, there are 3 items I want to bring to your attention:

  1. Lockdown extension
  2. Plan to get through
  3. Assess your eligibility for business grants

I know there’s a lot in this brief to consider so I encourage you to reach out to a Tenfold business coach for advice on how this can benefit you, your team and your business.

1. Announcement of extension to lockdown til 23/9, and likely beyond

There now seems to be an acceptance that we cannot use lockdowns to drive infection levels to zero.

The reality of the situation is that compliance with the restrictions hasn’t been as high as we saw during lockdown 2 in Jul to Nov 2020.

Even though restrictions that should work have been in place, the numbers show around 30 infections per day of people who haven’t been in isolation during their infectious period.  This is 30 people per day who have been shopping for groceries or attending factories or offices if they are authorised workers.

One of the biggest challenges we’ve faced over the last 18 months has been the lack of certainty, which has made planning for our businesses hard.

Australia is currently on track to significantly loosen restrictions in mid-Nov when we’re expected to hit a full vaccination rate of 80%.  If we anticipate a further couple of weeks of slowly winding back restrictions, expect that we’ll be in this lockdown situation for at least the next three months.

While that sounds frustrating, at least with this knowledge we can plan our businesses with this constraint in mind.  Here are the areas you need to focus on to get through:

 

2. What to do to get through 

Prepare yourself mentally

For some perspective, re-read my briefing on getting through: https://tenfoldcoaching.com.au/business-insights-26th-july-2021-getting-through-lockdown/

 

Looking forward

If you want some inspiration on what things will need to be like in the future then look to Singapore as an example.  They’ve hit 80% full vaccination, abandoned their pursuit of COVID zero and are slowly and steadily opening up their economy. Importantly, the government is committing to businesses that they won’t use sudden and all-encompassing hard lockdowns to deal with the virus going forward.

 

Support your team

See the heading “Reach out to each team member personally” in my briefing from 13/8: https://tenfoldcoaching.com.au/business-insights-the-labour-problem-explained-and-the-action-you-need-to-take-now

The extended restrictions mean home-schooling will also be in place for a while. Many of your team members will be juggling home school while also trying to do their best for your business. Keep talking to your team who are in this position, and acknowledge their efforts and find ways to work together.

Video Updates – On top of everything else you’re doing as a business owner to communicate with your team, consider adding a new initiative.  Several Tenfold clients who have members of their team working remotely have been producing weekly video updates for their team. These can be easily recorded on a smart phone and shared via Microsoft Teams, WhatsApp or email.  This gives you as the owner a chance to show more leadership by providing updates (the information I provide in these briefings can form the basis of your updates). Consider sharing:

  • What impact the lockdowns are having on your business and what you’re doing to work around things
  • Recognise individual successes, so the team can see the positives and strive to be mentioned next time
  • Empathise with them and share some of your own emotions, whether that be frustration, gratitude or appreciation.

Team Activity – Consider a stress relief and bonding activity for your team.  Many Tenfold clients held “Friday drinks” in 2020, which helped feel people connected. Keep things fresh by thinking of other ways you can re-ignite some team social bonds with a late afternoon event for your team.  This might be an online trivia game, House Party (the app), charades or a “get to know your team mates” quiz.  Speak to a Tenfold business coach; we’ve seen some innovative ideas across our client base that have brought some fun and light to the workplace.

 

3. Assess your eligibility for business grants

Our business coaches have helped many clients work through the calculations to assess their eligibility for the Vic Hardship Fund and the clients have been surprised at their success.  Some clients have been reluctant to do apply, thinking that with a short sharp lockdown they won’t need the financial support, and may prefer to see the money go to ‘worse off’ businesses instead.  This is honourable, however check this decision in light of the reality that we’re likely to be in an extended lockdown for another 3 months.

We expect that the Victorian business grants will be topped up over time. The experience of our business coaches is that previous recipients of the grants are awarded top up payments without having to reapply.

If your business doesn’t desperately require the funds to cover rent and general bills then consider holding onto the funds for future use.  You may find that you need them or could use them to top up your team with pay rises or onc- off bonuses – see my briefing on actions to take to stay ahead of the the labour problem: https://tenfoldcoaching.com.au/business-insights-the-labour-problem-explained-and-the-action-you-need-to-take-now

 

NSW – JobSaver

This is still by far the most lucrative business support package running in Australia at the moment. (Unfortunately it is a NSW grant only.)  For a summary of this grant, see my briefing of 20th August 2021: https://tenfoldcoaching.com.au/business-insights-20th-august-2021-further-update-business-grants/

 

Vic – Business Costs Assistance Program

Exclusively for hardest hit industries, based on ANZSIC code.  For a summary of this grant, again see my briefing of 20th August 2021: https://tenfoldcoaching.com.au/tenfold-client-briefing-20th-august-2021-further-update-on-vic-grants/

Announced on Saturday, businesses already in this fund will receive an additional amount between $2,800 to $8,400 per week (depending on payroll size) over the next four weeks. Our business coaches advise that we could likely expect more when the lockdown is extended beyond September.

 

Vic – Small Business COVID Hardship Fund (CLOSING Friday 10/9)

This is the grant that Tenfold business coaches have had the most success for achieving client eligibility.  For a detailed overview, see my briefing of 19th August 2021: https://tenfoldcoaching.com.au/business-insights-19th-august-2021-victorian-update-grants-and-permits/

Announced on Saturday, businesses already in this fund will receive an additional $6,000 for September, totalling $20,000 per business so far.

These grants are tax fee, which means the payments are the equivalent of after tax profit.  What this means is that if your business has an average net profit margin of say 10% and pays company tax at 25%, then the $20,000 grant is equal to around $270,000 in sales.

Speak to a Tenfold business coach to assess your eligibility, but do it quickly because applications close Friday.

 

NSW & Vic – Rent relief

This is broadly based on the scheme that was introduced in 2020 and many of you took advantage of.  Businesses with a 30% decline in turnover are able to receive a 50% rent waiver and a 50% rent deferral, in line with the amount of revenue decline they have experienced.

Landlords receive land tax relief of up to 25%.

Speak to your Tenfold business coach to assess your eligibility.

 

NSW & Vic – Employee Wage Support

A reduction of more than a day in your employee’s hours due to COVID-19 means the employee is eligible for a top up payment of $450 and up to $750.

A Tenfold business coach can advise you on how to manage this if your work volume decreases as a result of the lockdowns.

As business owners and coaches, we have often achieved where we are through strong planning.  Knowing the lockdown will likely remain in place for the next 3 months in NSW and Vic, plan for such a scenario and adjust your expectations accordingly.

Ash

Ashley Thomson B.Eng. (Hons), Grad. Dip. Mgmt, MEI
Managing Director
Tenfold Business Coaching

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