COVID-19 is creating many challenges across the globe. Challenges for governments, health departments, businesses, families, individuals and the community at large.
Priorities have changed and the world has now seen many restrictions on freedoms and movement of goods and services.
Very few businesses have not been affected by the recent events. Into the future there will be further disruptions and unexpected things to consider. Many businesses are under threat and find themselves in unexplored territory. The great unknown and lack of certainty is generating fears and great stresses for many.
In this ever evolving situation Thynne + Macartney is with you to try and get your business “back to business”.
Experience is the greatest teacher. Our firm has been in business for 127 years. It has survived and flourished despite pandemics, world wars, depressions and recessions.
One thing that is certain is that things will probably get worse but then they will get better. Drawing from previous experiences, here are our top 10 tips for getting back to business when the time comes.
1. Be Positive
Think and act positively in everything you do and encourage others to do the same. Australians are very good at looking for positives rather than focusing on the negatives. They innovate in times of challenge and today this is just as important as it has always been. We must look at the ways of doing business and see if they can be done differently, if not better, with the current known limitations.
There are already a number of examples with manufacturers retooling to make face masks, distilleries making alcohol for sanitising and a landscaping business becoming a sanitisation business.
If you have not already done so you should be taking these steps.
Assess where your business is at today – you should take stock of these things:
- health and safety;
- financial health;
- industry regulations;
- record keeping;
- state of communications; and
For each of these things we can assist you in making the assessments from a legal and practical point of view.
3. Legal Assistance
We can help you carry out risk assessments for things such as:
- Workplace health and safety (“WH & S”) for your premises and operations. We have experience in doing all aspects of these audits. COVID has added some new dynamics and issues which should be assessed and dealt with. For example, ensuring peoples’ home arrangements comply with WH & S requirements.
- Staff including any forward requirements for stand downs or other measures such as terminations.
- Premises and what legal rights you might have. Also, there are certain legal obligations and we may be able to provide you with some leverage in negotiations with landlords or tenants. If you are in franchising or sub letting arrangements there are often additional dynamics.
- Downstream contracts so you can protect yourself in relation to your customers and others in the supply chain.
- Upstream contracts so you can protect yourself in relation to your suppliers and others.
- Structuring and, if required or recommended, restructuring of your legal arrangements and entities.
- Potential lawsuits to minimise the risks of being sued and looking at your rights against others who do the wrong thing by you.
- Insurances to check what you are covered for and what gaps are there. For example, does your insurance cover people working from home?
- New regulations and requirements to ensure you are up to date in an ever changing legislative landscape. For example, is your business ready for going cashless as this has been mooted as something that may be introduced shortly.
- Other – there are a myriad of potential things that might come into play that we can help you with.
4. Monitor and Act
The key to this is not only monitoring on a daily basis what is going on in your own industry and local community but to look at what is happening interstate, nationally and internationally in similar and competing industries and then to work out how that applies to your business and a need to act early.
5. In the Cloud
A key to surviving any disaster is proper record-keeping and one of the strategies that you should consider is protecting any data in the cloud. This may or may not be sufficient and physical data rooms and other protections may also be advantageous. The fragility of networks based overseas might become even more tenuous if the CoVid-19 situation worsens.
6. Early Recovery
The key to your business recovering early is small steps often. Break it down into manageable chunks rather than attack the whole problem at once but also keep an eye on the big picture.
Utilise your professional network (accountants, financial advisors, insurance broker, lawyers and others) and work out where to next.
Start with day by day but with one eye on the horizon. As things improve expand that horizon. Often taking too big a step too early can be a mistake. Small steps with monitoring and adjusting can be a safer route but one size does not always fit all.
7. Plan Plan Plan
As you address things on a daily basis plan that day and then plan further ahead. Revisit your plan often. Initially that might be more than once a day. The 10:10:10 rule for daily planning can be very helpful – spend 10 minutes in the morning,10 around lunch and then 10 at the end of the day to refocus and plan your next action. Prioritise as you go. Readjust and be flexible as challenges occur and priorities change.
8. Take Time Out
It is also vitally important to take time out for yourself so you don’t get overwhelmed. Often it will allow you to clear your head and refocus.
9. Protect Personal Wealth
Do not forget to have your own circumstances assessed and protected. Many tools are there for people to defray risks and protect personal wealth. Structuring (and restructuring ) your affairs to minimise risks and to provide for proper succession planning are very important tools in protecting your personal wealth and ensuring your wishes are carried out.
This should be given priority. Failure to do so can lead to catastrophe.
We are adept in this field and seamlessly can work with you, your accountant, insurance broker and financial advisor to provide the best possible protection for you and your family. Our experience is that this needs to be done as a team and co-ordinated properly not just left to one advisor only (as the focus can become skewed for example on minimising tax only).
10. Other Issues and Tools
There will be possibly a myriad of things to address as things unfold. We have a number of tools which can help you navigate the stormy seas ahead. We are with you in these troubled times and we are here to help.