How to manage your business during a natural disaster
South-east Queensland and northern New South Wales have been battered by heavy rainfall over the past couple of weeks, causing severe flooding in many areas. A huge number of businesses and households have been impacted.
Read on to find out everything you need to know about the business impact, including:
- tips to help your business through the disaster, and
- federal government grants available.
It’s important to understand that even if your business isn’t in one of the flooded areas, you could still be impacted if you rely on suppliers from the impacted regions. Some businesses have had to shut down their operations, and road transport of goods both within and out of south-east Qld and northern NSW has been delayed by widespread closures of flooded roads.
Tips to get you through the QLD and NSW flood disaster
There are a range of things you can do to help your business bounce back as quickly as possible.
Tip 1: Communicate with your customers and other stakeholders
This is crucial. Let all your customers and stakeholders (suppliers, staff, etc.) know how your business has been affected ASAP, as well as the potential impact on them. You will find that most of your customers, staff and other businesses that you deal with will be sympathetic and understanding of your plight. They will also appreciate you letting them know what to expect.
Use a range of digital communication channels to ensure your message gets out as quickly as possible — social media, phone calls, text messages, emails, announcements on your website, etc.
And make sure you keep all your customers and stakeholders updated with any developments. Keep them in the loop.
Tip 2: Implement your backup plan
Hopefully, you have one. If you don’t, you need to develop one ASAP for you to minimise the flood’s impact on your business operations.
For example, your supply chain in south-east Qld or northern NSW might be disrupted by the floods, which might mean you need to temporarily source your supplies from elsewhere. Doing that is better than having your business operations disrupted for longer than they need to be.
Tip 3: Understand your responsibilities to your staff
You have legal obligations to your staff after a natural disaster, and moral ones as well. Some of your staff may live in flood areas and have lost possessions or even their entire homes.
If your business has shut down, consider asking your staff to help you with cleaning or repair work so you can get back up and running as soon as possible, while ensuring they can still get paid.
Fair Work Australia has a fact sheet on your legal obligations as an employer in relation to a natural disaster. Below is a summary of its key points.
- The award or employment agreement that your employees are employed under may specify their natural disaster entitlements if they are unable to work or your business has to temporarily close. For example, paid or unpaid leave entitlements.
- If no provisions for natural disaster entitlements exist in your employee’s award or employment agreements, then you may be able to legally stand down your employees (either with or without pay) while your business is affected.
Tip 4: Lodge an insurance claim ASAP
The sooner you lodge a claim, the sooner it will be assessed. A huge number of businesses and households are lodging flood-related insurance claims, so there will be inevitable settlement delays.
Tip 5: Arrange any finance you need
There are a range of finance options available to suit different business impacts. For example:
- Asset and Equipment Finance (to replace flood-damaged business assets or equipment).
- Trade Finance (to help you pay your suppliers to replace flood-damaged stock).
- Invoice Finance (to help you access cash faster from your outstanding customer invoices if your cash flow has been affected by the flood).
Government grants available for flood-impacted Qld and NSW businesses
The federal, Queensland and New South Wales governments have announced jointly funded grants for flood-hit small businesses and farmers.
Available grants include:
- Amounts of up to $75,000 for eligible QLD primary producers via the Qld Rural and Industry Development Authority website.
- Amounts of up to $50,000 for eligible QLD small businesses via the Qld Rural and Industry Development Authority website.
- Amounts of up to $100,000 for eligible NSW primary producers via the Rural Assistance Authority website.
- Amounts of up to $50,000 for eligible NSW small businesses via the Service NSW website.
If you’d like to learn more about how Earlypay can help, please contact our helpful team today on 1300 760 205.