LATEST News

  • 03/05/2020 2:56 PM | Anonymous

    In this week’s episode of Business Response we are joined by Courtney West, a partner at KPMG in Wollongong who specialises in taxation, compliance and business advisory services. Sponsored by Wollongong City Council and produced by Relativity, this webinar series arms businesses with the tools they need to adapt and survive in the current climate. 

    Managing cash flow has been a critical issue facing businesses of all sizes since lockdown. In episode four, Courtney guides us through the three key scenarios Illawarra business find themselves in currently, and what a sensible cashflow management strategy looks like for each, including:

    • The importance of cash flow in the current climate
    • Practical tips for cash flow planning
    • What your business can be doing right now and into the future

    Watch Episode 4 - Managing Your Cashflow here.

    Watch the full series of Business Response here.

  • 03/05/2020 2:51 PM | Anonymous

    The University of Wollongong (UOW) will offer more than 20 short courses to help workers displaced by the COVID-19 pandemic boost their skills and embark on a new career path. 

    The 23 short courses encompass areas of national priority, including education, nursing, health, IT, and science, and will be subsidised as part of the Federal Government’s Higher Education Relief Package, running from July 2020 to December 2020.

    Workers who have lost their job or had their employment reduced on the back of the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis will be able to use the next six months to learn a set of skills or retrain. Those who complete these semester-long online courses, comprising four subjects, will receive a Higher Education Certificate. While this is not a formal qualification in and of itself, it will provide a pathway towards an undergraduate or postgraduate degree.
     
    A full list of short courses on offer is available here.

  • 03/05/2020 2:47 PM | Anonymous

    As a business owner, we know it's in your best interest to download the COVIDSafe app and help get the community back to business as usual, sooner rather than later. 

    Since the launch earlier this week, over 2.8 million Australians have downloaded the COVIDSafe app. By downloading the app you will be helping keep your family and your community safe from further spread of coronavirus through early notification of possible exposure.

    COVIDSafe is one of the tools the government have designed to help protect the health of our community by quickly alerting people who may be at risk of having contact with the virus.

    Downloading the #COVIDSafe app is something you can do to protect your family and help fast-track the reopening of businesses that have been forced to close. Let's get back to business.

    If you’re thinking about encouraging your employees to download COVIDSafe you know this conversation could be difficult at first so, here are some guidelines on how you could frame the conversation.

  • 03/05/2020 2:41 PM | Anonymous

    How do you maintain a team culture when you can't be in the same room as one another?

    With the coronavirus outbreak making everyday norms disappear, the risk of anxiety and stress seeping into your workforce is very real. But there are some guidelines you can follow to make sure your employees feel engaged, included and important.

    COMMUNICATING THOUGHTFULLY

    Whether your business has had to pause operation or your employees are able to work from home, staying in touch with your team is crucial to their – and your – mental wellbeing.

    You could schedule regular catch-ups, for example. A mix of all-team calls and one-to-one chats can give you ample opportunity to let your employees feel connected and heard. However, be mindful not to overload people with meetings where there’s nothing much to talk about.

    Try to be even more empathetic than usual. With so much information about the coronavirus outbreak in the media, many people may choose to avoid news and social media to maintain their mental balance. Be selective about what you reference ­– it can help show your team that what you say is authentic and trustworthy.

    Be as honest as you can about how your organisation is being affected. Uncertainty about the future will be fuelling your employees’ stress levels, so involve them more than you normally would in those conversations.

    CELEBRATING ADAPTABILITY

    Many of your employees’ roles likely have changed since the start of the coronavirus outbreak. Whether you have asked them to solve different problems or customers are coming to them with new needs, it’s important to help them recognise the job they are doing is valid. In quieter moments, they could consider sharing their experiences for others to learn from – and you can identify new development opportunities in your team.

    PRIORITISING LEARNING

    Give your team the opportunity to feel like they are making progress by learning new skills. With so many finding themselves with less or no work, now could be a good time to encourage training and development. It would show you’re thinking beyond the current crisis and that your employees will have a role to play.

    Offer gentle encouragement rather than mandating training. Many organisations have made the mistake of assuming people now have more time on their hands, forgetting about the family, childcare and home-schooling commitments many have.

    RECOGNISING THE SMALL THINGS

    It might seem like there isn’t much to celebrate at times like these. That’s why highlighting the small wins will mean so much to your employees. Regularly showing your appreciation for sacrifices, new ways of working and extra effort can provide a big morale boost for your team.

    The way your employees feel supported during times of crisis will have a huge impact on their perception of your organisation and your leadership. By giving reasons to be optimistic and the platform for people to support each other, you’ll increase engagement at a time when feeling involved is something we all need.

    Manage your employees using Business Australia's free online HR tool for up to five employees. Assign contracts and policies from an extensive library of legal documents, and performance KPIs and more here. 

  • 03/05/2020 2:30 PM | Anonymous

    The COVID-19 Pandemic is both a health and financial crisis. For businesses to survive in a post COVID-19 world, now might be the time to review your marketing approach, as consumers are likely to look at the world through a very different lens. Here's what to expect those changes to look like and how you may be able to prepare your marketing strategy in repsonse.

    1. ADJUST TO THE MORE SELECTIVE CONSUMER

    Before COVID-19, 40% of Australians were already happy to pay more for a personalised shopping experience. Retail was at a tipping point where consumers, tired of blanket and group marketing communications, were eager to create connections with brands they had confidence in.

    However, with the large influx of information on consumers from all angles, many have become less responsive. The pandemic is likely to increase consumer suspicion of marketing communications even more. As a result, businesses would be wise to adjust their communications to avoid frustrating consumers. Email marketers in particular should focus on personalisation as well as timing, usefulness and relevance. All communication should offer real value as consumers demand more valuable brand conversations.

    This also means re-evaluating your pay-per-click (PPC) and search engine optimisation (SEO) strategies to account for Google clamping down on mediocre content and websites.

    2. APPLY EMPATHY

    You know that your tone of voice can make or break a marketing campaign. After COVID-19, it could be time for a long-term tone of voice adjustment. Consider how your customers’ situation might change. For example, if you usually opt for off-beat humour, you may want to dial it back to a more considered tone.

    Your customers should be able to rely on and trust in your communications, both from a marketing and customer service standpoint. Being empathetic will help your brand stand out and help you build a loyal customer base.

    3. PRIORITISE YOUR CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

    Now and post-pandemic is the time to focus on your customer experience and reassure consumers you’re here for them. It should be just as seamless and transparent as prior to the crisis. Any potential changes to your sales process and delivery should be communicated quickly and clearly. Now is the time to find out where consumer priorities lie and funnel your efforts to deliver the best possible experience.

    4. LEVERAGE DIGITAL INTERACTIONS

    How consumers interact with products and services has already started to change. Isolation has seen consumers from different segments and demographics embrace more digital services and this is likely to remain so in the future. So prepare your business to market your products and services digitally.

    5. ANTICIPATE CONSUMER NEEDS

    Marketers in a post-pandemic world will still need to account for several health-related factors:

    ·       whether there will be a resurgence of the virus

    ·       how fearful people are to resume pre-COVID-19 behaviours

    ·       if there’s a vaccine.

    These factors are likely to affect whether consumers are tempted to indulge or choose to protect their cash. So, it’s best to have a plan in place for varying scenarios or, at the very least, allow for flexibility. Here, the best place to start is by listening to your customers as the situation continues to unfold. Employ social listening tools if you didn’t before and dive into new content analytics to help you regularly evaluate where consumers are at.

    Every business is going to feel the effects of the pandemic today and tomorrow. How well you understand and get to know your new consumer can help prepare your business for success in the future.

    Book a FREE 90 minute marketing consultation with Business Australia here. 

  • 03/05/2020 12:46 PM | Anonymous

    Are you a Director or Stakeholder contemplating the financial future of your business?

    It's important to consider all possible options and understand how you can apply for some breathing space whilst working towards a longer-term solution.

    Business Australia will facilitate an informative session with Mackay Goodwin to explore the formal restructuring and insolvency options available to businesses that have been thrown into financial distress or facing potential financial hurdles due to COVID-19. The session will cover:

    • The scope and limitations of Restructuring and Turnaround - Holding Deed of Company Arrangements (DOCA)
    • What the ongoing legislation changes and released stimulus packages mean for you and your business


    Date: Wednesday 6 May 2020
    Time:  11am AEST

    Please note registrations close at 9.30am AEST Wednesday 6 May 2020 

    To learn more and register click here.


  • 03/05/2020 12:43 PM | Anonymous

    Three quarters of business owners believe their operations will survive the COVID-19 crisis, according to a flash poll conducted by Business NSW.

    The survey was conducted as part of a Tele Town Hall event involving NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet, which had more than 3,000 chamber members on the line from across NSW.

    Asked whether they believe that their business would survive the current crisis, 72 per cent of respondents answered yes, while another 23 per cent said they were unsure. Just 5 per cent believed their business would be forced to close.

    “These are very high numbers considering the impact the virus and the restrictions have had on businesses of all types and in all locations,” said Illawarra Business Chamber Executive Director Adam Zarth.

    “The optimism and ‘can do’ attitude of business owners and their employees has never surprised me; however, this has been the ultimate test of their endurance and perseverance,” Mr Zarth said.

    “The Treasurer too was heartened by these figures, and by the grit and resilience being shown by the business operators on the call – their determination to continue operations, paying their staff and supporting their communities was there for all to hear and see.”

    “Of course, the big challenge for businesses will be in coming months when our way of life slowly starts to return to a new normal and the harsh reality of their true financial position becomes clear after government subsidies end for them and for their customers.”

    “That’s why it is so important for everyone to continue to follow the directions of Government health authorities and obey the restrictions in place.”

    “Business owners fully appreciate that the best way for them to return to normal, or in fact, the new normal, is by flattening, and then wiping out the curve.”

    “The Illawarra Business Chamber has advocated for business owners and their staff to immediately download the COVIDSafe App as it advocates for a staged re-opening of businesses in the short term,” Mr Zarth said.

  • 15/03/2020 8:12 PM | Anonymous

    The SHCCI is in constant contact with a number of organisations, government departments and companies about many issues including the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) the message below is from the Business Council of Australia.

    "We are in conversation with the government and our member companies about the impact of, and business response to, COVID-19 (the Coronavirus).

    This is a challenging time, particularly for those who own or operate a business. For those in fire affected communities the effects are compounded by the existing rebuilding challenge.

    The Business Council and its members are looking at ways to help prevention measures and support those who are impacted.

    The Prime Minister has today encouraged businesses – just as we did during the bushfire crisis and recovery – to pay small business suppliers immediately and waive or delay debts for impacted small business customers.

    The Australian Supplier Payment Code ensures small business suppliers are paid within 30 days and on time. We encourage business owners to pledge their support to this initiative and take the pressure off their supply chains.

    Many Business Council member companies have already signed up to the code.

    Wherever possible, we are also encouraging our member companies to pay their staff who are impacted by the virus and unable to work – whether they are sick, quarantined at home, or caring for family members.

    We will continue to actively work with the government on policies to stabilise the economy, encourage investment, and support cash flow. We expect the government to release its package of measures later this week.

    Our BizRebuild work also continues, getting help to where it is needed for those communities who are recovering from the fires.

    Please find some useful links released today from Business Australia and Business NSW relating to COVID-19."

     The following link is provided by Business NSW

    1.    Information for employers:

    https://www.businessaustralia.com/how-we-help/be-a-better-employer/getting-legal-advice/employer-guide-to-coronavirus


  • 15/03/2020 8:08 PM | Anonymous

    The government’s Coronavirus response includes three business-specific measures that will enable businesses to support the economy and retain employees in the months ahead:

    - A tax-free cashflow boost of between $2,000 and $25,000 for businesses with a turnover of less than $50 million, to help pay wages, hire extra staff, or for investment.

    - Funding of up to $21,000 per apprentice or trainee, to help small businesses keep their employees in work, and

    - Raising the threshold for instant asset write offs from $30,000 to $150,000 and expanded to businesses with an annual turnover of up to $500 million, increased from $50 million.

    This response should help sustain economic activity through our region in response to COVID-19 and frankly against the compounding effects of the aftermath of the bushfire season.

    Importantly, the social security measures announced will see cash being flushed into the economy in the form of one-off $750 payments, which will be particularly welcomed in the retail sector.

    The Commonwealth and NSW governments have announced a new small business support grant of $10,000, to cover small business loss of income. Small businesses who have received assistance under other grants or initiatives may also be eligible for this grant.

    The grant will be available to small businesses that:

    - Have experienced a significant decline in revenue due to the recent bushfires

    - Are located in  bushfire-impacted local government areas (LGAs) which includes Wingecarribee Shire.

    Links to grants and loans below:

    https://www.service.nsw.gov.au/campaign/business-support-bushfire-impacted-communities/grants-and-loans

    For information on the National Bushfire Recovery follow this link:

     www.bushfirerecovery.gov.au/recovery-assistance/small-business.


  • 15/03/2020 8:07 PM | Anonymous

    Thank you for your assistance with the BizRebuild efforts so far and for being a voice in your community to help it bounce back following the devastating bushfires. As you know, the direct and indirect impacts on business following the bushfires has reached a large number of the business community in your region.

    We are running a number of initiatives to help alleviate this pressure but a smaller initiative we are offering is a platform for businesses in your community to showcase and promote their business on our soon to be launched BizRebuild website and social media platforms.

    All we need is the following:

    - Full name:

    - Business:

    - Email:

    - High resolution [landscape or square] photo of shopfront/products/services promoting your business

    - Link to website or social media platform:


    Details can be sent to community@bca.com.au.


    We are aware there are some great initiatives out there already including Empty Esky, #SpendWithThem and #BushFromTheBush. This will just provide an additional platform and opportunity for businesses to get their name out there and reach consumers from around different parts of Australia.

    We would be grateful if you could please share this among your business networks and encourage them to take part.


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EMAIL: info@shchamber.com.au

CALL: 02 4861 6917

WRITE: PO BOX 799 Bowral NSW 2576

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