You aren’t alone if your business is doing it tough right now. Social distancing restrictions have forced many businesses to shut their doors, while others voluntarily closed shop to help flatten the curve. Whilst there’s light at the end of the tunnel with restrictions beginning to ease, you’ll still need to manage cash flow losses suffered during the lockdown.
The government has provided financial assistance packages to help eligible small to medium businesses ride out the crisis, but there is speculation that this may end sooner than expected. You may also need additional help while waiting for your application to be processed.
Unsure what’s best for your business? Below are some ways to increase cash flow if your business is struggling during this time.
Cut back on business spending
Cost-cutting is the first place to look if you’re trying to free up cash. Review your balance sheet to see where your business can cut back on expenses. Depending on your business type, this may include things like software, stationary supplies, training or events. Remember, you can always reinstate these activities or costs once business picks up again.
Negotiate with suppliers and lenders
Depending on your contract, you may be able to re-negotiate new payment terms with your existing suppliers or creditors. It’s important to acknowledge that skipping payments without explanation may damage your relationship with your suppliers and impede their ability to manage their own businesses. With this in mind, the government has urged entities to work together towards an outcome where all parties in the supply chain survive COVID-19, but it can be difficult to know exactly where you stand when it comes to negotiating contractual terms. Check out this guide by OnDeck on contract relief during the pandemic.
Most banks and lenders have also introduced financial hardship measures to help struggling businesses, including fee waivers and payment deferrals. These are often only available on a case-by-case basis, so contact your lender’s hardship team to find out what your options are. Existing OnDeck customers can call the payment support helpline on 1800 018 509.
If your business has been impacted by the pandemic, you may be eligible to receive government assistance. This includes payments between $20,000 and $100,000 through the cash flow boost scheme or rent relief from commercial tenancy agreements.
Fortnightly wage subsidies of up to $1,500 per employee are also available for up to 6 months under JobKeeper. You may also be able to receive up to $100,000 to keep your staff employed.
If you need to make an immediate expensive purchase, such as equipment or a property, a business loan may be suitable. If approved, you’ll be granted the full amount upfront, which you can then repay over the life of the loan.
- May be easier to budget for regular monthly repayments, helping you to manage working capital and support a healthy cash flow.
- Can help your business grow with an injection of cash, for example to purchase new equipment, secure new stock or invest in new technology.
- You should be mindful of whether a loan is secured or unsecured. It can be easy to be drawn to a low rate finance without understanding that the loan is secured. This is especially critical when using your home equity as security for a business loan.
- Make sure you understand the fee structure including any one-off fees such as application, line and establishment fees, as well as ongoing fees such as loan service and annual fees.
If you decide to opt for financing during this time, make sure you aren’t biting off more than you can chew. To limit the overall amount you borrow, it’s always best to negotiate with your lender or suppliers first, as they may be able to offer some form of financial relief.
About the author
Bessie Hassan is a money expert at Finder
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