Weekly Digest – 19 August 2020

Hello again – welcome to the latest edition of our Weekly Digest. Read on for this week’s update.

COVID-19 Outbreak

After 102 days without community transmission, we’ve all been a little shaken by the return of the coronavirus. According to health officials, COVID-19 may have been circulating in Auckland for weeks, as 13 new community cases were confirmed. All these are linked to the initial four cases announced last week.

We understand that this return to lockdown is unfortunate news for struggling businesses, especially in the retail and hospitality sector. However, there are ways by which you can cushion its impact. Feel free to get in touch so we can help you work out a plan on how to recover amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

See  the Wage Subsidy section below for information on the COVID-19 Resurgence Wage Subsidy.

Shopping Local to Kickstart Economic Recovery

Local small businesses are a vital part of our economy and the communities they represent. According to the World Bank Group, small- and medium-sized businesses account for about 90% of businesses and more than 50% of employment worldwide.

While the government is trying its best to protect the economy, there are many ways people can do their part and support local small businesses. Here are ways you can help small businesses stay afloat during the COVID-19 crisis.

  • Purchase gift cards from your local stores.
  • Shop online, but keep it local.
  • Order takeaway food and drinks from your local restaurants.
  • Be a little more generous than usual when giving tips.
  • Leave positive reviews online and promote them on social media.
  • Postpone instead of cancelling.
  • Join online classes if local businesses offer this option to follow social restrictions.

The coronavirus is one of the greatest challenges of our times. If you own a small business and are struggling to survive, we can help you create a plan to come back stronger as the economy gradually reopens. Get in touch to schedule a business consultation.

Take Online Payments Safely

The pandemic has significantly changed our lives including the way we shop and make payments. As e-commerce and online payments increasingly gain popularity, it is important for small businesses to adapt.

As a responsible business owner, you must ensure that your customers’ data are protected to gain their trust. This article from Entrepreneur shares some security tips when accepting online payments.

  • Choose a secure eCommerce platform and processor.
  • Educate yourself and your employees.
  • Verify the transaction and more.

When customers trust you, they will continue supporting your business. Ultimately, this will benefit your bottom line.

Mentoring Scheme for Small- and Medium-Sized Businesses

The Regional Business Partner Network gives business owners access to advice and resources on business continuity planning, finance and cashflow management, HR issues, and sector-specific concerns amid the COVID-19 crisis. You can find more details in this article from Treasury. If you’re looking for ways to adapt your business, get in touch with us.

Business support schemes you might not have heard of

While you’ve probably heard about the wage subsidy and small business loans programs, there are other grants and schemes available to business owners that you might not have heard of. This article details 5 business support schemes that have gone under the radar including business debt hibernation and IRD penalty and interest relief. Ask us if you have any questions about what you’re eligible for and how to apply.

Government Loan Applications Extended

The Small Business Cash Flow Loan Scheme allows you to get financial assistance of up to $100,000 and an additional $1800 per equivalent full-time employee. Repayments are not required for the first two years, but if the loan is paid back within a year, there will be no interest.

The government has extended this loan until the end of the year. For those who haven’t applied for this government loan yet, you can check your eligibility here or you can get in touch with us so we can assist you with your application.

Application for Wage Subsidy Extension & COVID-19 Resurgence Wage Subsidy

Applications for the Wage Subsidy Extension are open until 1 September 2020. This initiative is aimed at supporting employers, including the self-employed, who have been significantly hit by COVID-19. Under this scheme, the wages of your employees will be covered over an 8-week period.

To be eligible for this financial support, your business must have had at least a 40% revenue loss for a continuous 30-day period in the last 40 days before the application. Eligible employers must also reapply for the Wage Subsidy Extension once their 12-week Wage Subsidy has ended. You can read through the guidelines and apply online here. If you have any questions about this program, contact us.

Also announced this week is a 2-week COVID-19 Resurgence Wage Subsidy payment that will be available nationally for employers, including self-employed people, who are financially impacted by the resurgence of COVID-19 and changes to COVID Alert Levels. You can apply from 1pm on 21 August 2020 to 3 September 2020, and the 2-week payment will run from the date you apply. Employers who have had, or expect to have, a revenue drop of at least 40% because of COVID-19, for a 14 day period between 12 August to 10 September, compared to a similar period last year can get it. You can’t receive more than one COVID-19 payment for the same employee at the same time.

Useful Remote Work Tools to Boost Productivity

You’ve probably realised that working remotely is not without its challenges. Many people have adopted new strategies and habits to stay productive and avoid distractions. This article covers some AI-powered tools that can improve your productivity and make your life easier.

  • Timely- It tracks what you do throughout the day and automatically groups tasks into projects with labels and classifications.
  • Otter.ai- It uses machine learning to help you generate rich notes from your meetings, interviews, and other voice conversations– saving you time writing the summary and meeting notes.
  • Krisp- This app reduces background noise in your conference calls while making human voices crisp and clear.

Adjusting to remote work arrangements can be challenging for both employees and employers. Contact us if you need help in getting the right systems and tech in place for your business.

Avoiding COVID-19 Online Scams

Recently, there has been a significant increase in COVID-19-related online scams that steal your personal data, impersonate authorities, offer fraudulent medical goods and services, and make fake requests for charitable donations. Below are some tips from Google Safety Center to keep you from falling victim to these scams.

  • Know how scammers may reach you- Aside from emails, they may also use text messages, automated calls, and malicious websites.
  • Check trusted sources directly- Scammers may pose as trusted and authoritative sources. So directly visit reliable sources instead to get the latest factual information.
  • Be cautious of requests for personal or financial information, pause and evaluate before sharing- Do not provide confidential information such as logins, bank details, and addresses to suspicious or unverified sources. Donate directly through non-profits.
  • Double-check links and email addresses before clicking- Fake links imitate established websites by adding extra random letters and numbers or words, so be extra careful and check before you click.
  • Search to see if it’s been reported- Copy and paste the email address, phone number, or suspicious portion of the message on your search engine to check if it has already been reported.
  • Add an extra layer of security to your account- Add two-factor authentications to your accounts for extra protection online.

If you encounter phishing pages, you can report it here. For malicious software, you can report the site here.

Consider the Co-operative Model

New Zealand is one of the most co-operative countries worldwide, with co-operatives, societies and mutuals contributing approximately 19% of GDP. By coming together in times of adversity, businesses have greater purchasing power and can leverage their collective strength to keep costs and prices down.

To access resources and find out more about the benefits of this business model, contact Cooperative Business New Zealand.

Get in touch

Contact us if you have any questions or want to discuss the next steps for your business.