Now we are in lockdown, there are still things we can be thinking about and doing to help our business now, and when we emerge on the other side of this extraordinary event.
Debt and Tax
Keeping debt and your tax obligations managed during times of change is vitally important to ensure the strength of your business.
- Talk to your bank early. Banks have indicated the following two options:
- Go interest-only on any debt
- Fund short term gaps via an arranged overdraft – rates have dropped by up to 1% already.
- The banks have also confirmed that they will be offering a six month mortgage holiday for people who need it. This means that you will not pay anything for 6 months and the extra interest that accumulates will be added to your mortgage. Effectively this means you will have higher mortgage payments at the end of the six months or a longer mortgage period – but it will give you a breathing space.
- Additionally, we are expecting this week (30th March) that the banks will offer up to $500,000 commercials loans to businesses with turnovers between $250,000 and $80 million, on normal commercial terms. There are no details yet.
- Talk to the IRD. The IRD have already indicated that they will assist with stretching out payment plans or delaying tax payments. The government has also given discretion to the IRD to wipe out use of money interest on late tax payments. This is not guaranteed.
Keeping your Brand Alive
It’s tempting during tough times to pull back your advertising and marketing spend. Many businesses do this which has the huge advantage if you decide to keep your spend up – you suddenly have more attention on your brand.
There will be significant brand, and advertising opportunities available at discounted prices or with much wider reach as many businesses reduce placements as a knee-jerk reaction releasing advertising inventory.
This will hopefully be a short term shock to our economy so plan to exit this period with more market share than you entered it. You may choose to slow your marketing spend down, but keep something going, if you can.
“What do you think about a recession?” he responded, “I thought about it and decided not to participate.”
Sam Walton, Walmart
It may be that some of your team may need to work from home (if they are self isolated or in the event that the virus gets into the community) so it’s a good idea to prepare now.
- Talk to your team about whether they can work from home.
- Discuss with them the requirements around confidentiality, broadband access, access to software and information
- Think about plans for working remotely, what are the difficulties and what are the opportunities?
- Be ready to remote work, just in case you have to
At Beany, we offer the full range of accountancy services online. This means you can access all the information you need for your accounting, tax and business advice without meeting with people face to face. There are other services you can access online to improve your chance of staying well.
Replace Travel with Video Conferencing
Now we can no longer physically meet anyone, enjoy mastering the video conferencing options. At Beany, we always use google meet for all our internal meetings and it’s great. The trick is to nominate someone to ‘manage’ the meetings because it’s harder to know who should be speaking.
- You can use online meetings, using Google Meet, Zoom or Skype.
- A good ‘host’ can cue people in and out of their part of the meeting.
- Set an agenda and keep to a short time, that will help everyone stay on point.
- Think about other sales strategies to replace face to face meetings, such as digital marketing
- Consider what processes you can use to replace on site visits, using software systems or practical systems to replace a physical inspection – be inventive! Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
Working from Home Tips
Are you having to move your office job home? If not now then it might be a real possibility in the coming weeks.
We started Beany as an entirely cloud-based company to begin with and have stuck to that ever since. Our Kiwi staff work from home, or co-working spaces all around New Zealand.
Some of their personal tips are scattered around below.
|@Louis When I need a break, I like walking out into the garden, pull a few weeds, water something.|
Have a dedicated work environment
One of the recurring themes is that everybody who works from home has a purpose-built space. Generally an office with a closeable door that they can go into and focus.
|@Ryan Dedicated office with “closed door” please go away family policy. 1000 lines for anyone who interrupts a video call.|
Schedule your day
Some recommend breaking their day into specific tasks they need to accomplish and schedule them to avoid drifting into other things.
|@Sarah Keep structured working hours and schedule calls with clients.|
It’s important to schedule breaks too. Then you know when wandering outside or opening the fridge is a planned event and not a work avoidance strategy.
Computer Set Up
Ideally you’ll have your own computer or laptop to work on. Make sure you set it up with a decent monitor, keyboard and mouse. Being hunched over your laptop might work for an hour or two but not all day. For some, you may have no other choice but to use a family computer when working at home. In this case you need to be careful about security and accidental use of your company login for random acts of YouTube, accidental emails to clients or instant messages to the boss.
- Having your own login on your computer
- log out or lock screen when away from keyboard
- let family use their own login
- Learn how to set up browser profiles
- Chrome and Firefox have user profiles which keep your work Gmail / G-Suite / Office365 accounts separate from your personal or family ones.
- Do this to avoid emailing colleagues and clients from your personal email account.
Having trouble doing these things? Get your IT department to help or Google for solutions.
Communicate with Real People
Working from home can be a lonely time for some so keep in regular contact with your colleagues. It’s surprising how much of a team culture you can maintain while you’re apart from each other.
|@Tess I love that when I have a break from work or on the phone, I can put on some music (also helps feel like you aren’t so alone)|
Set up an instant messaging system with your colleagues (like Google Hangouts or Slack) and schedule video calls with your team so you keep synced up on daily progress (use Google Meet or Microsoft Teams).