4 steps to take before starting a business in NSW
Lockdowns are one of the hardest challenges brought about by COVID-19 for business owners to deal with. Unless your business is busier than usual, perhaps because you offer an essential service, you might find yourself with additional time on your hands. If so, here are suggestions from experts about how to make the best use of your lockdown time.
Time to upskill yourself and your staff
There’s always something new to learn in business. Lockdowns can provide a window of time to focus on expanding existing knowledge or to learn something entirely new.
A great place to start exploring options is the Australian Government’s Business portal (business.gov.au). Their staff development and training page includes an events and training database, which includes online learning that can be done from home.
Some COVID-19 specific opportunities are state-based. For example, TAFE NSW offers fee-free online courses specifically for people in lockdown. Topics range from business skills and website-building to emotional intelligence. Most of the courses are able to be completed in a few days or weeks.
Time to research government support
JobKeeper was a lifeline for many businesses during the early months of the pandemic. Since JobKeeper ended, government support has become more targeted, meaning you need to do more research to find the schemes you might be eligible for.
Business.gov.au is a great place to start searching for business-related government support. Their Coronavirus information and support page will allow you to search by industry or region, directing you to state-specific schemes as needed.
Time to expand your online presence
We’re all looking forward to the world ‘going back to normal’ but the truth is that customer buying habits have shifted and are likely to remain influenced by this time well beyond a return to normal.
KPMG’s research shows that consumers are more interested than ever in supporting local business, evaluating the value of what they are buying, and trusting the businesses they choose to buy from.
In addition, the uptake of digitally-enabled sales has seen a huge uptick that most believe will continue even once lockdowns are a thing of the past. Enhancing your online presence is therefore a priority for most businesses, whether that’s starting from scratch, adding to your social media, or improving the user experience on your website.
Time to refine your strategy and think to the future
How many times have you tried to find time to focus on your business’s strategy and goals for the future? For some, a silver lining of lockdown is the gift of time.
There’s also nothing like a time of change to prompt and focus thinking on your business strategy. The National Mental Health Commission’s guide ‘Mentally Healthy Workplaces during COVID-19: Medium to Large Businesses’ notes that the pandemic has sped up the adoption of innovation. “Things we thought would take years to change have changed within weeks,” the guide says.
You might have been forced to streamline your ordering systems, or hold shorter, more efficient meetings. Lockdown might have allowed you to discover hidden strengths and skills within your team.
“As your organisation looks to the future, it can also be an opportunity to celebrate new ways of working and re-imagine how and where work is done,” encourages the Mental Health Commission’s guide.
Time to look after yourself and your team
Creating a mentally healthy workplace has never been more important than during the COVID-19 pandemic. It can be harder to stay connected with your team when you are not able to be physically together. However, lockdowns provide a shared experience, giving you an opportunity to start conversations about staying mentally healthy.
“The pandemic has changed many relationships at work,” says the Mental Health Commission’s guide for medium to large business during COVID-19. “Some of these changes have been positive, with people brought closer together through shared experience.”
The guide goes on to note that maintaining relationships with people when away from the workplace will make it easier to re-engage down the track.
And, importantly, you are encouraged to be a role model by looking after your own wellbeing as well as that of your staff.
For more information on this topic, see our recent blog covering mental health advice from the experts for you and your business below.
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