2020/2021 Business Learnings.
Thought I would take some time to reflect on the learnings I have come to over the last 18 months, with the health Pandemic happening in Victoria. I have also got some opinions of others to help with the information.
In general, I think we learned the Health System was not prepared for such a pandemic to occur. Our Politicians and Government Officials are not trained to respond to a health Pandemic. Then again, many business owners are not trained in running a business before they commence the business.
As I have mentioned in the past when discussing Business Continuity Plans, a business can be closed down at any moment by Legislation changes, whilst we have not seen legislation changes, we have seen Health Directives implemented which have resulted in businesses being closed, or restrictions placed on their trade with short notice.
As William Siebler from Cash Copy suggested, diversifying your income stream/sources is worthwhile, if you do not have different income streams, you may struggle when your current operations are closed down.
Abbie Wilson- National Insurance Brokers- we all struggle from time to time when running a business and during a pandemic, however, we need to understand when the time is right to ask for help.
Rose Davidson from Rose -Davidson.com – we are not an island there are always mountains to climb over, rivers to cross, although these could be called obstacles in business which with patience and perseverance we can overcome.
Christine Smith from Ycook by Christine- learning was business owners need savings to be able to go a short period without revenue to ensure they keep paying the bills or at least putting food on the table. Business owners need to remember when starting a business to try and have 3-4 months’ worth of savings in the bank before starting the business.
I thank the business owners above, who are all experts in their own right, for taking the time to answer the questions I posed to business owners in the New Businesses Australia Facebook Group.
Adding to the above, having savings in the bank in which you can use during the downtime in your business is important, as there will be times in anyone’s business journey that revenue will be slower than your expenses, whether it is for a week or a month, and you need to use to keep surviving, as we found out during the pandemic, Government grants did not help with the loss in revenue business owners experienced.
For many business owners, diversifying their business meant moving from face-to-face shopping to being able to provide a service or product via the online method, through websites, Zoom, Microsoft teams whichever was our chosen platform. Often this changes our terms and conditions and the way we operate.
Asking for help, this can be difficult to admit we have a problem in our business, or we don’t have the budget for the help, however, whether we are talking about help with our Mental Health, or within our business, the first step is to identify an issue is occurring, and then find the assistance you need- if you can’t afford a mentor or your accountant for advice, consider the Government Agencies can all assist, or some people provide free Mental Health Support as needed.
We need to ensure as Business owners, we constantly keep attending professional development for ourselves and ensure your staff are up to date with their training and can be as skilled as possible for whatever your business might face from time to time. As they say, we don’t know what we don’t know, don’t be afraid to do a training needs analysis, or skills assessment and identify where you are lacking in skills or knowledge. Some companies or mentors/coaches can assist you in this.
Remember as business owners we do not have to do it alone there are resources to assist us.
Other things we have realised is how many of our supplies, products come from overseas, and when their countries shut down and they cannot work it means supplies are slowly coming into Australia or stop, therefore we can not obtain what we need, including computers, fridges, we need to find ways to improve our manufacturing prospects here in Australia at an affordable price so Australians are more likely to buy in Australia, but as business owners, we need to ensure we have more than one supplier for any of our products in which we use or purchase and on-sell.
States can be closed down at short notice including country area, business owners where possible need to ensure they have clients and suppliers in multiple States to ensure work can continue during a shut down in one State.
Business Interruption Insurance is worth considering, so now is the time to speak to your insurance agent/broker is you have not, understand what is included in the insurance coverage as appropriate insurance might help you in the long term, although often won’t be a short term financial fix.
As business owners we can only control what we can control, there will always be external aspects of running a business that we can not control, and therefore we can not focus on this, we need to focus on what we can control.