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Business Survival Checklist

23 Mar 2020 3:01 PM | Sam Leon
Covid-19 has produced unique, difficult and and interesting challenges. Our good friends at "Books and Wages" and their CEO Kevin Beck, provided the following valuable checklist.

The impact that the COVID-19 crisis will have on the economy is huge. Many businesses will need Government assistance to survive the crisis. Even with assistance you will need to make quick, difficult decisions and rely on the goodwill of staff, customers, landlords and utilities.

Your primary concern is of course the health of your customers, staff, you, your family and their families, but what can you do now to make sure that your business continues after this is over?

We have compiled this checklist to assist you in your decision making. The Checklist is general in nature and if you would like to discuss anything specific to your business, please do contact us. We are here to help you in this difficult time.

Please note that the situation is fluid and new government announcements of assistance will continue to be released

Business Operations


Remember to be transparent and honest with your staff.

  • Permanent Staff: If you are experiencing a slowdown in business, you can ask your staff to take paid leave in the first instance. You can then request that they take unpaid leave.
  • Casual Staff: If you need to cut shifts, try to share the schedule around your current staff.



Call your utility providers. Let them know you will have difficulty paying due to the COVID-19 crisis and ask what assistance they can provide (Electricity, Gas, Waste Management, Water, Rates, Insurance)



ATO Obligations:

If you are currently on an ATO Payment Plan: Call the ATO (or we can do so on your behalf) and let them know that you will not be able to meet this obligation and ask for a payment-free period

If you are not currently on an ATO Payment Plan: Call the ATO (or we can do for you) and ask for an extension of time to pay your GST and PAYG obligations, or a payment plan




Retail Specific


Can you move some of your sales to a home-delivery model? Do you have a customer email database where you can let your customers know that you are counting on their support and showing them how they can order for home delivery?



Store Closure & Hours:

Some outlets may be forced to close if they are in COVID-19 epicentres. Others will be forced to limit patronage to 100. You may find that it is not worth keeping your outlets open even with rent holidays, cuts to staff and assistance from utilities.




Talk to your landlord now. They will be very aware of the situation. Ask them for a rent holiday.



Purchasing & Menus:

  • Talk to your suppliers to see if they can assist you on price and terms
  • Rationalise your menu to take off complicated or low-margin dishes
  • Make sure you are not buying too much fresh produce that will spoil
  • Record and review your wastage. Consider what to do with leftovers or freeze items if possible



Cleanliness & Sanitation:

Cleanliness and the perception of cleanliness will be very important to customers still dining out. Make sure you are doing all the right things around having hand sanitiser and staff wiping down tables thoroughly.




Government Assistance

Boosting Cash Flow for Employers (Australian Government):

This applies to small and medium sized businesses that employ staff and provides payments from $2k to $25k to eligible businesses. It operates through Activity Statements and commencing Mar-20 and ending Jun-20. Be sure to get your activity statement lodged as early as possible. You can read more about it here.



Supporting Apprentices & Trainees (Australian Government):

This applies to small business (less than 20 Full Time Equivalent Staff) who employ apprentices and trainees. It offers a wage subsidy of 50 per cent of the apprentice’s or trainee’s wage paid during the 9 months from Jan-20 to Sep-20.


Basic Eligibility Guideline:

  • Your apprentice or trainee must be registered in Training Services NSW prior the announcement of the subsidy
  • You must be hiring less than 20 employees



Payroll Tax (Revenue NSW):

Payroll Tax for businesses with Payroll Tax Thresholds of less than $10m will be waived for the next three months. This mirrors moves in QLD and WA.



Fees Waived (Revenue NSW):

The NSW Government is scrapping certain fees and charges that apply to the hospitality sector.



Access to Interest Free Loans (for now QLD-only):

The QLD government announced a new $500m loan facility to offer interest free loans up to $250k for the first 12 months. It is possible that the NSW Government may come up with a similar measure at some point.



Superannuation Guarantee Amnesty (Australian Government):

While not a specific COVID-19 measure, it is well worth signing up to this amnesty if you have unpaid Superannuation obligations and have not previously signed up.

You can read more here.



Further ATO Assistance measures

  • Deferring payment of amounts due through the BAS
  • Allow businesses on a quarterly reporting cycle to opt into monthly GST
  • vary Pay As You Go (PAYG) instalment amounts to zero for the March 2020 quarter and obtain a refund for prior quarters
  • Remitting any interest and penalties, incurred on or after 23 January 2020, that have been applied to tax liabilities
  • low interest payment plans.

You can read more here.



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