Helping Regional Queenslanders Succeed
Helping regional Queenslanders to succeed is at the heart of why PVW Partners is in business.
As the COVID-19 pandemic brings unprecedented challenges to business owners, individuals and households, success looks very different for many than it did just a few short weeks ago. For many, success is now about surviving.
The landscape has changed from a focus on growing businesses, to predominately helping them to make it out the other side. To keep our regional economies intact, the business communities across North and Far-North Queensland need to pull together like never before. Our regional businesses and the communities they serve form an ecosystem and ultimately, if that starts to fall apart, there will undoubtedly be a domino effect that will adversely impact us all. As business owners, we need to ask ourselves what we can do to support other businesses that are experiencing distress.
“As business owners, we need to ask ourselves what we can do to support other businesses that are experiencing distress.”
Obviously that support can’t sustainably come at the cost of sacrificing our own business, but we need to rally and offer all of the support we can to ensure we’re all still here at the end of this. If you are a landlord, is there rent relief you can provide? If you’re in professional services, is there assistance you can offer? Every bit will make a difference, especially for those businesses who have been forced to close their doors altogether because of lockdown laws.
Keeping locals in jobs is critical.
We’re encouraging business owners to undertake various future scenario reviews to consider things like how long can they keep operating if they have no customers? How can they change their business model to adapt to new social norms? Can staff be redeployed to meet new needs of the changing business environment? Understanding cash reserves and how far they can go is vital. Some businesses may be in a position to operate at half capacity or reduce their operations in some way to get longevity out of their cash flow. Others may even need to put their business into “care and maintenance” mode, ready to go again in the future when conditions improve. Whatever it is, clarity over cashflow is critical.
Beyond that, business owners need to understand the assistance available to them and take advantage of it. The Queensland and Federal Governments, Australian Taxation Office and the Banks are all offering support measures for businesses, individuals and households adversely impacted by COVID-19. We are aware of many instances where businesses are supporting each other to see things though. While government assistance offered following the 2019 flood event was in many instances complex to obtain, the process has been significantly simplified for COVID-19 support measures. This assistance can provide support in the immediate future, while allowing some breathing room to look further down the track.
Long term, businesses need to be thinking about how does the business need to change? Will we be in a position to go back to the way things were before COVID-19 or will the entire landscape as we know it change? How do I reactivate or scale my business back up when conditions improve?
It’s also important to remember there are positives that will assist our regions to recover more quickly than others. There are vital parts of our economy that are reliant on the public sector – defence, health, our universities and ports. There is some diversity of economy there that will ensure there are still large volumes of public servants getting paid and putting money back into our regions, cushioning the blow to the private sector in some way. The presence of a government-backed workforce should help our region see at least a base level of consumer spending continue.
We also have an incredibly strong and diverse agricultural sector in North and Far-North Queensland, some parts of which are currently experiencing increased demand, decent prices and good levels of production. Agri-business will be an important part of our future recovery and we can all assist that by ensuring we’re supporting local wherever possible.
As a business owner, one of the biggest challenges I’ve faced over the past few weeks is the ability to maintain perspective. With the 24-hour news cycle, it can be easy to get caught up and it’s important we are all dealing with the issues immediately in front of us. During this time of unprecedented challenge and uncertainty, I’ve found talking with other business owners, with our clients, and with organisations, has been critical in shaping our response. No one business owner should presume they have all of the answers on their own and others may have great ideas around how to be smarter and better in business in the current climate.
In these difficult days, where physical distancing has become our new normal, our business community needs to reach out and support each other like never before. The only way we will all get through this is together.