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A global pandemic has been declared. Large portions of the economy have been shut down.  It’s natural to experience fear at this time. But this doesn’t have to be the end. Don’t let fear take over your business decisions. Fear stops us in our tracks or makes us run away. On the other hand, it’s sensible to be cautious. Caution helps us navigate risk through assessment, where we can balance and weigh up on informed actions.

Since this event is causing such a wide impact there is also a lot of help around. Nobody wants the economy to go down. Nobody wants businesses to stop operating altogether. This is great news for all the businesses who have been negatively impacted by the coronavirus. This means there is an unprecedented level of help available, and it is broader and more accessible than ever before. 

Make use of the support that is available. This way you can create winning strategies. Whether you’ve had to slow down, or shut down completely, these strategies can be put in place, ready to ensure your success once you open up those doors again.

Here are some of the key ways in which the government, big businesses, and marketing support are offering support.

Marketing Support

Facebook Small Business Grants and Ad Credits

Facebook has announced $100M in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in over 30 countries. No further information is yet available.

Instagram Gift Cards and Fundraising Tools

Instagram has announced gift cards, food ordering and fundraiser tools to assist businesses who are needing to find ways to operate during coronavirus shutdowns.

#COVIDCRAP

Global CRO specialists have come together to provide a COVID19 Conversion Rate Aid Package, AKA COVIDCRAP. These specialists are offering free CRO advice on actionable plans to improve conversions.

No Obligation Social Media Strategy

500 Digital is offering a free, no obligation social media strategy to assist your business.
You’ll find out how to: 

  • Use the daily insights Facebook are giving us for businesses to adapt their marketing strategies online
  • Reach more customers on line and deliver your message straight to their handheld device
  • Funnel and nurture cold traffic into people hungry to buy
  • Boost your conversions without spending anything extra on traffic


And after the session you’ll get a free social media funnel that will show you exactly what you need to do to convert cold traffic into highly engaged traffic and sales

Government Support

Both federal and state governments have announced a wide range of support measures to help businesses navigate through downturns and shutdowns. Here are some basic overviews and links to what they are offering:

Cash Boost for Businesses with employees.

Eligible employers will automatically be given an ATO refundable offset of between $10,000 and $50,000 based on the PAYGW reported on their March to June activity statements. The amount that the business is entitled to will be credited again upon lodgement of the June to September activity statements.

This cash boost is managed by the ATO on a national level. Make sure your tax returns and BAS statements are all up to date and talk to your accountant for more information.

JobKeeper wage and self-employment subsidy

If your turnover has reduced by at least 30% (or at least 50% if your aggregate turnover exceeds $1 billion, or at least 15% if you are an ACNC registered charity), then you might be eligible to claim JobKeeper payments.

Eligible employers or self-employed workers can apply for a $1,500 a fortnight JobKeeper payment from March 30. This payment is to subsidise the wages of their Australian permanent resident and NZ citizen, full-time, part-time and long-term casual staff (provided they are not primarily employed elsewhere). It only applies to staff who were on the books at 1 March 2020 and can include staff who were stood down after this time but are rehired under the JobKeeper program.

Self-employed workers (sole traders, partners in a partnership, directors of a company, or beneficiaries of a trust who actively work in the business without being paid wages) can also apply for the JobKeeper payment to be made for their own business, provided the business owner applying is not employed anywhere (with the exception of casual work). Where there are multiple owners of a business (for example, a partnership) the business can only claim the JobKeeper payment once (provided there is at least one eligible, actively working, business owner who is not an employee of the business or elsewhere).

The rules can be a little complicated, and there are very specific measurement rules, so it is important to speak to your accountant to ensure your business and your employees are eligible. Since the subsidy is a reimbursement it is also important to ensure you are actually paying your employees at least the full amount of the JobKeeper payments every fortnight (or their normal wage if this exceeds the JobKeeper rates).

The original deadline for applying for JobKeeper from commencement of the scheme was the end of April. The ATO has now extended this deadline to 31 May 2020 if a request for an extension of time is submitted. If you miss the deadline you can only apply for reimbursements from the date of your application through to the end of the scheme. If you do enroll for reimbursements from the start of the scheme (March 30) it is also important that you have actually paid your eligible staff by May 8 2020 in order to be reimbursed by the ATO.

The JobKeeper subsidy is managed by the ATO on a national level.

Reduction of Commercial Property Lease Fees: Mandatory code of conduct for commercial tenancy relief

To ensure commercial businesses are not overburdened by the cost of a commercial lease the Government has announced a mandatory code of conduct for commercial tenancy relief.

Under this code of conduct, commercial landlords must not evict tenants who are unable to meet their rental commitments due to coronavirus (evictions can typically still occur for other breaches).

Small to medium sized businesses with a turnover of up to $50 million, who are eligible for the JobKeeper payment (noted above), are required to be given rent relief from their landlord as follows:

  • The landlord must reduce the tenants rent by at least the same percentage as the tenant’s business has lost their turnover. This means rent will be reduced by at least 30% and up to 100%.
  • At least half of the rent reduction must be waived. The remainder may be deferred. There are rules around the repayment terms of any deferred portion of the rent.
  • The landlord should waive additional amounts of rent where simply deferring payments would cause undue hardship to the tenant.
  • If the landlord benefits from reduced rates, land tax or deferred loan payments, they should pass on these benefits to their tenant.

In turn, tenants are required to remain committed to their lease terms (with essential modifications). Tenants are also able to choose to waive or reduce the mandatory requirements if the landlord would suffer hardship from providing this relief and the tenant is otherwise able to meet their obligations.

Rental fee relief is managed by each state or territory. This means there may be some differences between states.

Free Business Advice and funding for growth sector businesses

Businesses in specific growth sectors can apply for free business advice with an action plan, a mentor for a year, and $20,000 matched funding.

Early Access to Superannuation

Eligible sole traders who have lost at least 20% of their business turnover can apply to access $10,000 of their superannuation tax free before 30 June 2020. If they are still experiencing hardship after this time then they can apply for a second withdrawal of $10,000 before 24 September 2020.

Assistance for Affected Regions, Communities and Industries

If you are in a disproportionately impacted industry such as tourism, the government has a $1 billion dollar fund set aside to support these communities and industries.

Instant Asset Write-Off

Businesses with a turnover of less than $500 million can claim a full tax deduction on the purchase of any business asset costing up to $150,000 between 12 March 2020 and 30 June 2020.

State Government Grants and Fee Waivers

Each statement government has a range of grants, fee waivers, offsets and other economic support packages in place. Some are being automatically provided, while others need to be applied for.

The following links can be used to find a list of what is available in your state or territory:

Click here for Queensland

Click here for NSW

Click here for Victoria

Click here for Tasmania

Click here for South Australia

Click here for Western Australia

Click here for Northern Territory

Click here for Australian Capital Territory

For more information on Federal support for Businesses click here.

Big Company Support

Bank Loans and Loan Repayment Deferrals

Business customers are being offered deferrals on their business loans and easy access to additional loans, including loans to fund JobKeeper payments to staff until the ATO reimburses these costs. Various banks are also offering further relief such as waiving merchant fees for up to 6 months.

These measures are being offered in various ways by all the major banks, including
NAB, ANZ, CBA and Westpac.

If you have a mortgage the banks have also eased access to their hardship mortgage deferral programs.

Energy Companies

Energy companies are offering payment deferrals and restricting disconnections for customers impacted by coronavirus. Since the assistance offered differs between energy providers you need to contact your own supplier to work out any issues you are facing with paying your bill.

Telstra

Telstra is providing customers with additional data and phone calls. This measure helps facilitate the increased demand on networks with more people working from home and being restricted to online communications. Small business customers are also eligible for the option to hibernate their business plan if they have completely ceased operating.

Other Initiatives

Various government and business initiatives are offering grants, discounts, and free services, to help businesses who are struggling with the impact of coronavirus.

You can stay up to date with many of these initiatives on this link.

Help is Available

The whole world has recognised and faced this crisis. This means businesses are working together to get through it. More than ever, businesses are sharing resources, providing tips on navigating new ways of operating, providing discounts to increase affordability, and connecting with people online.

You’re not alone in your struggles and the whole world recognises this. That’s why there is a lot of support available. This ranges from government subsidies and grants, through to businesses sharing resources, and fee waivers or discounts being offered for essential costs and services.

500 Digital is included in these initiatives. We have been working with dozens of businesses to figure out how to get more operations online, get the right message out to the right people, and find the right online opportunities. We understand that now, more than ever, your online presence is vital to the survival and success of your business.

Contact us today for your free, no obligation, social media strategy.

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500 Digital Media is a Melbourne-based production studio with a national focus. Fluent in every stage of production – from concept and creation to social media strategy – we provide a full-scale and integrated end-to-end service delivered by our team of in-house experts.

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