It is estimated that the economic impact of the recent bushfires could be as high as $100 billion.

According to a report in The Conversation which quotes University of Queensland economist John Quiggin, that figure is just tangible costs.

Take into account intangible costs like emotional stress, personal items and memorabilia and injury and death, and that figure could balloon to $230 billion, it states.

What if there was a way to reduce that cost? There is. It’s called Help A Small Biz.

Our free initiative connects small businesses directly and indirectly impacted by the recent bushfires to business buddies with skills and resources to share.

Here’s five ways your big business can be involved:

1. ADVICE & COUNSELLING

Myriad small business owners are feeling overwhelmed and helpless, faced with a seemingly insurmountable battle for survival.

Disasters such as the recent bushfires (which have also been exacerbated by the previous drought and ensuing floods and now coronavirus) are known to trigger economic instability, health problems and social challenges such as increased instances in domestic violence and suicide.

Can you fund a batch of sessions or arrange for your company’s EAP program or counsellor of choice to offer pro bono sessions to a small business?

Can you spare your finance manager for a half a day to advise a small business owner on systems, payroll management or efficiency?

Is your social media person or marketing manager available to give a small business owner a few pointers?

2. STRATEGY

During a crisis, it’s often hard to see the forest for the trees, as that tired cliché goes. When you have only one or two people holding the can, a dire situation can appear desperate.

So it is for many small business owners directly and indirectly impacted by the recent bushfires.

Unsure where to go for help, how to ask for it and what to do, many feel paralysed and unsure what to do next. Others are so overwhelmed they cannot even identify issues needing attention.

While one of the advantages of small business is nimbleness and flexibility, a strength of big business is the ability to see a broader picture, with more staff resources to draw on for wider research and specialist staff dedicated to strategy and vision.

Is your marketing manager available to help a small business buddy with social media strategy or advertising spend?

Can your operations manager spare time to advise a small biz on efficiency procedures or product stock forecasts?

3. LEND A STAFF MEMBER

One impact on small business in bushfire affected areas has been staff shortages when people answer the volunteer firefighting callout. Some did not work in their small business job for weeks, even months.

Can you send a shop assistant, bookkeeper, printer or admin person to help a small business? Can you outsource some administrative duties to small business owners who aren’t selling how they usually do, which is what they need?

Other small businesses were directly affected by bushfire, with buildings and other structures, stock and produce destroyed. With vast tracts of landscape needing rehabilitation and countless rebuilding projects lined up, it could be many months or even years before some small businesses rebuild their physical assets.

Can your business spare any labourers, carpenters, farmhands, landscapers or other tradespeople?

Internal secondment (the temporary “loan’’ of an employee to another part of the organisation) happens regularly in big business and government.

For half a day, a week or a month, the benefits to lending one of your team to a small biz in need are many, with an equal flow to you and your business.

  • Both parties learn new things from the other
  • The big business might be able to claim the expense as a tax deduction
  • Opportunity to forge long-term links and relationships
  • Potential for new suppliers or sub-contractors
  • Knowledge that a small business has been saved to go on to thrive

4. PROVIDE MATERIALS & LEND EQUIPMENT

Do you have surplus timber flooring, carpet rolls or bags of concrete? Did someone in stationery order too many reams of paper, ink cartridges or ballpoint pens?

Is the backhoe, fencing equipment or kiln lying idle in a warehouse?

There’s bound to be a struggling small business somewhere that would be grateful for the donation. Your small gesture might even save their business.

But remember, don’t send what you think they need – send what you know they need!

5. GIVE UMBRELLA SHELTER

Are you launching an advertising campaign?

Stretch its net wider to include a small business in a “twin town’’, one of your small suppliers or another business somehow aligned with your product or brand.

Has your business registered for a trade networking event, been offered a table at a charity night or booked team training?

Invite a small biz buddy to come along too, giving them the opportunity to meet valuable contacts they may not have been able to access previously.

The opportunity of education also helps boost the overall quality of your industry generally, giving uniformity to standards and benchmarks.

HOW TO HELP A SMALL BIZ

We’ve given you some ideas. Now it’s time to act.

Contact us to discuss how we can facilitate help between corporates and small businesses in need.

Has your small business been directly or indirectly impacted by the recent bushfires? Do you employ fewer than 20 people?

  • To request help, business owners complete this simple form.
  • To offer help, business employees complete this simple form.


Email helpasmallbiz@corporate2community.com for more information.