Outbreaks of the highly contagious COVID-19 Delta variant have forced Australian authorities to extend lockdowns in Victoria and New South Wales. As of this writing, Victoria reported 22 locally acquired cases, while New South Wales logged 110 new cases, most of which coming from the Greater Sydney area. As cases show no signs of slowing down, local governments have taken strict measures to contain the spread of the virus.
People can’t leave their homes unless it’s for medical care, supplies shopping, or essential work. Most businesses are required to close during lockdown, except critical establishments like supermarkets and pharmacies. More importantly, as of 19 July, tradies must pause all construction, renovation, and non-urgent maintenance work until further notice.
Trades businesses will certainly have many concerns during these lockdowns, which is why we’ve compiled some tips to help you get through these difficult times.
Assess your current situation
The first thing you need to do is to evaluate how the lockdowns are affecting your business and whether adjustments need to be made. From a financial standpoint, you need to understand the potential losses of halting your projects. Cash flow forecasts based on lockdown revenue and expenses will give you insights into your financial situation so you can adjust your spending accordingly. For all you know, you may need to rein in the budget for overhead expenses like material deliveries, travel and office utilities, and recurring labour costs.
In terms of marketing, make sure to update campaigns that were scheduled for release before the lockdown. You’ll want to tailor the messaging around the recent COVID-19 restrictions and alert clients if their projects are being put on hold. Your website should also disclose how your company will operate to keep people safe during the lockdown.
Know what assistance is available during lockdown
With construction projects halted during the extended lockdown period, your trades company’s cash flow will undoubtedly take a hit. As such, it’s crucial to look at any government support available that will give you some temporary financial relief. Here are some support packages available for businesses during the most recent lockdowns:
- 2021 COVID-19 business grant – NSW businesses can receive a one-off payment between $7,500 and $15,000. To be eligible, businesses must have suffered over a 30% fall in revenue and have an annual turnover above $75,000.
- Micro-business grant – Small businesses in NSW with a turnover between $30,000 and $75,000 are eligible to receive $1,500 per fortnight, provided they experienced a 30% decline in revenue.
- Jobsaver – NSW employers can get between $1,500 and $10,000 per week to maintain employee headcount. Meanwhile, non-employing businesses or sole traders receive $1,000 per week. To qualify for these grants, businesses must have revenue decline over 30% and a turnover between $75,000 and $50 million.
- Payroll tax deferral – Businesses can defer their payroll tax payments until 7 October 2021.
- Victoria support package – Up to $200 million in cash grants are available to Victoria-based companies affected by lockdowns. Details on eligibility and payment amounts will be disclosed later in July,
- South Australia support package – SA businesses that have suffered significant loss of income may qualify for $3,000 emergency cash grants. Sole traders can also apply for $1,000 payments.
Strike while the iron is hot
Even though your projects are on pause, you should use this time to proactively market your business. For instance, capitalise on the fact that people are spending more time at home and may want to improve their current living situation. You can publish informational posts on renovation services while promoting your own expertise.
It’s also a good idea to prepare future marketing strategies focused on when life returns to normal. In the mid to long term, businesses can push new services to fill certain needs in the target market. If you run a construction company, for example, focusing your marketing efforts on commercial building services for when workers go back to offices may be a smart move. The sooner you post relevant content about these services, the higher you’ll rank on search engines and prospective clients’ minds after the lockdown.
Use creative marketing strategies
Your business needs to get creative with its marketing to thrive during lockdowns and stay relevant in the industry. Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn are great places to promote your business, especially since everyone is homebound. However, it’s not enough to just post regularly on social media; your content must engage your target audience.
One idea is to create videos displaying before and after shots of previous projects. You can elevate this content by adding music, voice-overs, or graphics that highlight your company’s values and expertise. Live streaming or virtual tours of past builds may also appeal to people researching new construction or renovation projects.
Another idea is to write about industry hot topics or inspiring personal stories on LinkedIn to demonstrate that you’re a thought leader in your community. Sharing both professional and funny images of your field technicians at work on Instagram may attract potential customers, too. Keep in mind that these ideas are merely suggestions and you can always try new things. Now is the perfect time to experiment with your content strategy.
Taking initiative during the lockdown will set your company up for success on the other side of this global crisis. If you need more tips on managing a trade business, tune in to our WorkBuddy blog for new updates. WorkBuddy is Australia’s leading job management platform that can streamline your workflows when projects resume. Call us today to learn more.