The following is an interview with journalist, Steven Nguyen, on the impact of the Covid restrictions have had on small business.
I think it’s demoralised many of them. They can’t see an end in sight. One bank is forecasting 160,000 of Australia’s 2 million small businesses could be closed. Just how many times can you get up after you’ve been knocked down? And they can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. After the second wave, we all thought we could see it, but now?
Not everyone will get vaccinated, and some health authorities in the US are now saying that you can still spread it even if vaccinated. We’ve got the delta strain third wave. Will there be a fourth and a fifth?
Governments need to demonstrate a clear path out of this, and if there is a new strain and the vaccines doesn’t work on it, what then? The goal posts just keep moving.
It really depends on the business. Hospitality and Tourism have been hardest hit. Would you book a holiday in Queensland today? While numerous businesses are receiving government support, many owners are dipping into their savings as the support is never enough. And what happens when their savings dry up? In Melbourne commercial vacancies are 13%, up from 2.7% pre-pandemic. People are walking away from their businesses and, of course, letting their employees go. This doesn’t seem to be showing up much in the unemployment nos. at the moment, but if this goes on, the numbers will rise again.
Some industries, such as construction are largely unaffected, but the pipeline for these projects is long. But what happens when you run out of projects that are shovel ready. Who will take the risk?
Ultimately, if this continues for a couple of years more, it will be unsustainable. At some point we will have to learn how to live with this disease as we do with the flu.
How adequate has the Australian government’s response to these economic changes been?
I think it’s largely agreed that Jobkeeper has been a success, keeping unemployment well below the predicted 15% forecasts, but it was never planned to be a long term solution. Most thought this time last year, we would have been out of the woods by now.
Some will argue more could have been spent, but let’s face it, whatever the government did, it would never be enough to stop all the pain.
And what about the pain for our poor children who’ll have to pay all this off over their working lives?
May Your Business Be –As You Plan it!
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Dr Greg Chapman is the Director of Empower Business Solutions and is Australia's Leading Advisor on Emerging Businesses and provides Coaching and Consulting advice to Australian Small Business Owners in Marketing & Business Strategies Planning & Systems. He is also the author of The Five Pillars of Guaranteed Business Success and Price: How You Can Charge More Without Losing Sales.
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