Automotive Business Guide to Surviving the Coronavirus Pandemic

The world has recently been faced with a series of unprecedented challenges associated with Coronavirus.

Nick and I feel for the businesses, people and families affected around the world. We want to do our part to help minimise the potential impact of COVID-19, not only on our most vulnerable family and friends, but the wider community as a whole.

Our main objective is to ensure that the impact on our client’s businesses is contained and controlled as much as possible. As a result, we have prepared a few key items that Australian automotive businesses should consider focusing on during this period.

The Health of Your Team

The health of your team is critical in order to keep work flowing. Consider reading through resources, provided by the Australian Government’s Department of Health, that relate specifically to your type of automotive business. These resources outline isolation requirements such as whether your staff should be at work, what precautions you should be taking and what information/advice you should be sharing with your staff.

Once you’ve understood the information provided by the Government, and the relevant Australian Health Authorities, consider implementing a workplace procedure that outlines the steps that your business will implement in the coming months, with regards to coronavirus.

Please remember to be careful about what sources of information you use when making decisions for your automotive business. More information about COVID-19 can be found on the World Health Organization's website as well.

Customer Management

Your current customers are critical to your business. Consider checking in with them via phone call or email to see how they are being affected by the pandemic and inform them of your business status.

As a minimum, consider writing an email to each one of your customers (past, present and potential) explaining your business’ position at this time. You should include information about any changes to; existing/current projects, your open hours and your workplace (such as the coronavirus specific procedures we mentioned earlier). This information is vital to ensure your customers know that you are still open for business and conducting your operations with everyone’s safety in mind.

An example of a business to client email could include:

Dear “Client”,

These are unprecedented times and we hope you, your family, friends and loved ones are all well. I just wanted to reach out to you and let you know that “Your Company Name” will be open for business as usual. Our hours will remain the same however, we are mindful of the situation with COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and have made some changes in relation to guidance from the World Health Organisation and Australia’s Chief Medical Officer. From today onwards, we will be:

• Training all staff to adhere to social distancing and best hygiene practises, including thorough hand washing.

• Instructing staff to stay home should they experience flu-like symptoms.

• Availability for consultations/quotes via Skype or Facetime.

• “Etc…”

Please continue to support us over the following weeks/months, we appreciate your understanding in this troubling time.

Sincerely “Your Name”

Government Stimulus Packages

As of the 22nd of March 2020, the Australian government has announced that they will be offering a stimulus package specifically for eligible small and medium sized businesses to provide cash flow assistance during this crisis.

We recommend contacting a/your certified accountant to see if your business qualifies and begin any necessary application requirements. This situation is developing daily so be sure to stay up to date with state and federal announcements.

Consider Changing Gears

There is the possibility that your business may experience a decrease in sales of your current  products and services whether it be due to decreased foot traffic, clients reducing their spending on unessential items or your supplier’s stock availability.

To combat this potential outcome, consider investigating alternative products and services  your automotive business could sell during this period.

Consider products and services geared towards clients who are now working from home. For example, a significant portion of the population are now self isolating in their homes looking for activities to keep themselves or their families occupied. The home DIYer might be interested in a product that they could tinker with on their car for instance.

If you need any help coming up with alternative revenue streams or want a hand with planning, strategy or bringing your products or services to market, we are here to support you. Art and Motors are offering free, one hour, phone consultations with any small to medium business in the Australian automotive industry to discuss alternative products and services. We will be offering this service until the 30th of April 2020.

As always if you have any queries or concerns, please reach out. We are more than happy to assist you during this period of uncertainty and ambiguity. We firmly believe that remaining empathetic and supportive of our community and each other will help reduce the impact on our industry.

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