What Victorian Business Owners are going through

Last week, we asked Victorian business owners to let us know how they were doing with the second lockdown.

We’ve pulled together our questions with a few of their responses to give you a sense of the fight that Victorian business owners have on their hands, and an insight into the grit and resilience they have that’ll get them through this crisis.

In general, how are you feeling?

On a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being Stressed, and 5 being Excited, we asked Victorian business owners how they were feeling.

What are you most scared of?

Apprehensive about ability of state government to properly manage pandemic response – scared that because of this, there may be people in my extended family I may never see again, should they ever be exposed to the virus.”

“The unknown, length of time our industry will be closed.”

“The uncertainty of what is next, the uncertainty that my customer’s businesses will continue and how that will impact my business. Scared of the emotional toll this is taking on me, a relationship breaking down, not seeing my children and now stuck virtually alone with no end in sight – this is unbelievably tough for us in Melbourne now, especially if you’re now alone. The only comfort I can take is that there are people worse off than me right now.”

“The sustainability of my customers’ businesses which has a direct impact on my business and team.”

“That it will take years for the market to be confident again.”

Friends owning businesses who don’t realise this is a great opportunity to analyse their business and act quickly to trim where necessary.”

That my business will not be able to hold out until it opens. We have now been shut for 22 weeks!”

The economy falling off a cliff”

Is the current support from government helping you? Why?

“Yes, helping to give everyone some security.”

“No, I haven’t applied for any support because I’ve budgeted to survive without it. Plus there would be people in far worse situations that I am who’d need it more.”

“No, we have cash liquidity to get us through the next 3-4 months.”

“Yes. Keeping flow coming in while I am shifting direction.

“We have been receiving JobKeeper since the beginning of covid. It helps, but it’s not enough to keep businesses alive. Fortunately for us our staff have remained healthy and happy to work during the pandemic. For the businesses who are in lockdown for a second time, it won’t be enough at all.”

“Financially / physically yes. In terms of long term growth or any form of contribution to my business’ future – no. I’ve had to close entirely.”

“We were fairing better than most, however with the stage 4 shut down it has meant we have been forced to use Job Keeper. It is providing necessary cashflow to keep the business liquid.”

“Knowing that payroll can be met is incredibly comforting. An extension at the full rate beyond September would be appreciated considering the drastic setback.”

“Without JobKeeper I would be completely lost”

What extra support would most help you?

“Clearer government guidelines on websites. it often takes too long for the formal information to be released after press conferences.”

“The continuation of job keeper, until the economy is back on track.”

“Clearer rules from the government would be helpful. My customers and myself are constantly confused, it seems. Also, my business has grown at an unexpected rate, which is stressful in a different way, and long-term support and advice for surviving businesses would be good.”

“Some support for students (international) & foreign workers – these guys hold up our industry cleaning and cooking and they put others at risk when they work & have no support if they can’t work.”

“Ensuring internet connectivity is reliable.”

“A greater acknowledgement of the capacity of small business to better manage the protocols required to operate safely and responsibly as opposed to bowing to the voices of the big boy’s who’ll never be able to police it with the current circumstances.”

“Clear communication in an easily digestible format of the new rules that keep being put in place so we can keep informed and inform our staff.”

“To keep jobkeeper going for another 12 months so we can feel a little more financially assured once everything ‘wakes up’ again.”

Do you think your business will survive?

“YES We will make sure it does.”

“We are determined to make it survive. We have only been operating for 10 months and I’m in partnership with my best friend and we are both juggling home schooling kids, packing orders and running our business from 2 homes. It’s bloody hard work considering we aren’t supposed to be going anywhere.”

“I hope so and think so.”

“Bloody oath.”

“Don’t know yet.”

“Yes, I think it will. My plan is to focus on building relationships with other small businesses now and helping people as much as I can.”

“Yes. 100%.”

“Yeah will take a hit but we’ll get through, (survive now thrive later).”

“Definitely. There’s more than 1 way to skin a cat in all businesses. Some people just need to stop, reset, refocus, and shift direction using the resources they already possess.”

“Yes, our customer base is strong, however just trying to establish and work through our new norm.”

“If I tap into savings yes.”

“Not sure.”

“At this stage yes but we don’t know what is going to happen going forward because I was investing money from my job into our business, but now work is drying up and government support is not enough to feed us and invest. We have been doing everything we can do that does not require cash flow but soon we will need more investment.”

Is there a story you’d like to share?

“I have been working for a company I was sure would not survive the pandemic, given their high overhead. I decided to set up a low cost base business that would allow me to work from home and run with a low overhead. Once I secured some funding I got going and have not looked back. Have a full pipeline and see (mostly) blue skies ahead.”

“Stay strong. Stay focussed. Your clients will need you even more when we come out the other side. Stay relevant. Reassess your product suite , pricing and understand your points of difference.”

“Finally decided to take the plunge at my own business after running someone else’s for what seems a life time. Opened on the 29th of January 2020 only to be shut less than 8 weeks later. Devastated.”

“Remember, keep punching, you never know where the next opportunity is.”

“I would just love to get out the story that my business which is in kids sport (gymnastics), will have been shut for 6 months of our trading year by the end of this shutdown. Everyone seems to feel sorry for cafes and restaurants but they have been able to continue trading. Kids sport will be integral to the return to life and helping kids with tough times. We need to not be the last to be allowed to open when we can provide extremely safe venue for return to sport. Thanks for listening!”