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Extreme weather poses risk for seven out of ten small businesses

by OnDeck Australia,   Dec 18, 2020

As we head into summer, fewer than one in two (49%) SMEs are prepared for the impact of bushfires, flooding and other extreme weather events.


  • Independent research by OnDeck Australia* found that seven out of ten (65%) of SMEs have been impacted by climate and weather-related events in the past. One in five (20%) have experienced a ‘severe’ impact.
  • One in two (48%) of SMEs were impacted by bushfires in early 2020; 53% are concerned about the impact of bushfires this summer.
  • Fewer than half (49%) SMEs prepare for disruptive weather events.

SYDNEY (21 December 2020): Research by leading online lender OnDeck demonstrates that summer’s extreme weather patterns can have a devastating impact on the SME community.


As we head into summer, many parts of Australia have already experienced record high temperatures and bushfires. With the Bureau of Meteorology predicting La Nina will peak around February 2021, South Eastern Australia could also see increased rainfall[1],  potentially adding to the risks of extreme weather.


According to OnDeck’s survey, seven out of ten (65%) SMEs have been impacted by climate and weather-related events in the past. For one in five (20%) SMEs, that impact has been ‘severe’.

The key weather events that impacted SMEs last summer were:

  • 48% – Bushfires and smoke
  • 36% – Drought and water restrictions
  • 31% – Flooding and/or cyclones.

Mr Cameron Poolman, CEO of OnDeck Australia, said, “Australia is a land of weather extremes, and while the small business community is still navigating a recovery from the COVID crisis, our research shows many SMEs are also concerned about the prospect of extreme weather events occurring again this summer.



“Over one in two (53%) small business owners anticipate they will be impacted again by bushfires in the months ahead, and 44% expect to feel the pinch of either drought and water restrictions, or flooding.”


Fewer than one in two SMEs prepare for extreme weather


Despite high levels of concern around extreme weather events, OnDeck’s survey found

fewer than half (49%) Australia’s small businesses take proactive steps to prepare for these events.


“SMEs have a lot on their plate right now, and many will be focusing on making the most of the festive season to compensate for lost revenue during 2020. But extreme weather events can take all of us by surprise, and having an action plan in place is a sensible strategy that can help a business survive the summer ahead,” said Mr Poolman.


Five ways for SMEs to prepare for extreme weather


1) Have appropriate insurance over in place

Review business insurance and determine where possible gaps exist in the event of extreme weather – flood damage in particular is not always an automatic inclusion and can come with a higher premium.

2) Follow bushfire-safe guidelines

Review the information material provided by state bushfire authorities to help make your premises as bushfire-safe as possible.

3) Consider supply chains

Have a back-up plan in place for delivery of supplies, which may be disrupted during extreme weather. Similarly, consider how your business will be able to fulfil customer deliveries in the event of unpredictable weather.

4) Train staff

Hold emergency drills with staff in the event that extreme weather events occur during business hours.

5) Have cashflow needs sorted in advance

An extreme weather event can lead to a temporary business closure or put other demands on business cashflow. Be sure to understand how your business can access cashflow fast in the event of an emergency.  With online dedicated SME lenders like OnDeck, commercial finance can be arranged in as little as one business day, giving clients a rapid response when funds are needed urgently.



About OnDeck

OnDeck is the proven leader in transparent and responsible online lending to small business. Founded in 2006, the company pioneered the use of data analytics and digital technology to make real-time lending decisions and deliver capital rapidly to small businesses online.  Today, OnDeck offers a wide range of term loans and lines of credit customized for the needs of small business owners. OnDeck has provided over $13 billion in loans to over 110,000 customers in 700 different industries across the United States, Canada and Australia. In Australia, OnDeck is backed by leading accounting software provider MYOB and has a 5-star rating from Trust Pilot. For more information, visit


*About the research

The independent research was conducted online in April 2020 by Honeycomb Strategy across more than 300 SME owners Australia-wide. The survey included SMEs with less than 50 employees, annual turnover of $50,000-$5 million, and in operation for at least 12 months.






Media Contacts:

Anthony O’Brien

Corpwrite Australia

+61 (0) 411 578 818



Prepared by OnDeck Capital Australia Pty Ltd ABN 28 603 753 215 (“OnDeck”) for general information purposes only. Content may belong to or have originated from third parties and OnDeck takes no responsibility for the accuracy, validity, reliability or completeness of any information. Information current as at December 2020. You should not rely upon the material or information as a basis for making any business, financial or any other decisions. Loans issued in Australia are subject to the terms of a loan agreement issued by OnDeck. Loans are subject to lender approval. OnDeck® is a Registered Trademark. All rights reserved.


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