What COVID-19 has taught Australian businesses

5 min read

The COVID-19 outbreak has had severe impacts on many if not all industries operating in Australia and across the globe. With restrictions placed on travel and leaving the home, there has been a considerable impact on consumer demand and behaviours.

Businesses that relied on in-person services and selling of goods found themselves facing reductions in business if not closing all together for the duration of the outbreak. COVID-19 has posed many challenges for all Australians, but there’s been some important takeaways from this time.

Here’s what we’ve learned from COVID-19:

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket

The old saying has never had more relevance in today’s changing world. COVID-19 had an unprecedented impact on many of Australian businesses. But it was the businesses that had more than one method of delivering value that fared best.

Gyms and fitness businesses that already had online services, and food and hospitality businesses that already had takeaway and delivery options set up were able to redirect their efforts into these channels that didn’t rely on face-to-face interactions.

COVID-19 has shown us that it’s important to diversify your business offering. That’s not to say of course, not to focus on your primary source of doing business, but rather look for other opportunities your industry offers. So in times when business-as-usual isn’t possible, your business won’t be left high and dry.

Now as restrictions are lifting, many businesses that have transitioned into offering online services and products have found that rather than solely going back to their previous business arrangements, they’re keeping their new avenues open for those who are using them and might even prefer them.

Digital is critical

In light of COVID-19, digital means of doing business have become more popular than ever. Australian eCommerce sales are now anticipated to grow 11.1% in 2020 as opposed to a previous estimate of 2.4% as a result of COVID-19.

Cash withdrawals on the other hand are predicted to decline by 5.8%, according to GlobalData. With fear of catching and spreading COVID-19 through contaminated cash, Australians moved to ordering and paying for goods and services online, not only because they felt it was a safer and more secure method, but also because of the travel restrictions.

These figures only further the argument for incorporating online payment technology in your business.

Businesses that already had a functional website with the ability to take payments online were one step ahead when restrictions came into effect in March. However many others quickly jumped on board, creating services that could be accessed online, such as online tutoring materials for coaching and tutoring companies, and online workouts that could be done from home for health and fitness businesses.

Have a business continuity plan

COVID-19 highlighted for many Australian businesses the need to be agile. While we might never see another pandemic that will affect the world in this exact same manner, having a plan to work out how your business will respond can give you guidance during a very stressful time.

A business continuity plan is something you can create that factors in things like global shutdowns of business.

Ask yourself questions about how your business handled the restrictions COVID-19 enforced.

  • What did you get right during COVID-19?
  • What could you have done differently?
  • Knowing what you know now, what do you wish you had set in place beforehand that could have helped you during the lockdown period?

It’s also important to remember the next crises that could affect your business might not come in the form of another pandemic.

Some examples of crises that could impact your business in the future include:

  • Technical issues that could affect any technology you rely to conduct business
  • Employee issues, for example many workers were required to work from home during COVID-19
  • Natural disasters, like the Australian bushfires earlier in 2020
  • Economic crises, like the 2008 global financial crisis, which could impact your customers’ finances
  • A data breach which could compromise your data or your customers. To find out what kind of an impact a data breach could have on your business, read our article on cyber-fraud here.

Make sure your payment processes are airtight

Businesses that have complete control and visibility over the finances are the ones that can better weather storms that get thrown their way.

Making sure your invoices are getting paid on time and are optimised means you can count on income coming in regularly, rather than infrequently when left to manual invoicing.

The stronger you can make your payments processes, the stronger your revenue stream will be. It can be hard to have an idea of where your finances stand when you don’t have complete visibility over your finances.

Whether you’re waiting on a tardy customer to pay that invoice from three months ago, or you don’t have a single source of truth when it comes to payment reporting, not understanding where and when your revenue is coming from leaves your business and you at risk.

Read our article on how recurring revenue can help you plan ahead for more information on ensuring your future cash flow.

If you need help setting up recurring revenue our payments experts at Ezidebit can help you get on the right track. Enquire here to get started.