30 March 2020



There are avenues operators can take to make the journey less torturous and increase the odds that door will continue to remain open, in one form or another, once the COVID-19 crisis has passed…”

AUTHOR: Michael Brennan

As many businesses start the process of adapting to their new “normal”, there’s been a fair bit of casting the mind back to the “good old days” of a few weeks ago when shit was finally starting to go right for Townsville.

The new Stadium- trumpeting two events in total (before COVID-19 cast its shadow) had our tourism and hospitality operators busier than they’d been in years. After a prolonged darkness that included the one-in-500-year flood event that brought Townsville to its knees, the promise of happier days was finally here.

Unfortunately, they were gone again in the blink of an eye.

It has left many asking what the actual and how are they possibly going to survive?

As someone whose entire career is based on helping business owners push through the grind, there are avenues operators can take to make the journey less torturous and increase the odds that doors will continue to remain open, in one form or another, once the COVID-19 crisis has passed.

  • Cashflow Is King

So many businesses I’ve spoken to appear to be avoiding doing their cashflow forecasts in the hope everything will return to normal sooner rather than later. And while we all have our hopes pinned on that, it’s not helpful to the longevity of a business at the best of time let alone in a crisis.

Its vital owners know exactly where every cent is going, what needs to be paid when and how much that leaves (if anything). By better understanding the cash flow of a business, owners can take the decisive action necessary to stem the loss before it’s too late.

  • Ask for Support

A lot of business owners don’t know how to ask for help. In times like these though, it’s important to leave your pride at the door and go knocking.

Suppliers, banks, landlords- ask them to help your business to survive COVID-19. Ultimately, if they can and do help you, they’ll have a loyal customer for many years to come.

Try it- not everyone will say yes or be able to help but there are others who can and will.

  • Take Advantage of Assistance

Between the Queensland and Commonwealth Governments, there are billions of dollars in assistance available to help businesses and individuals get through this crisis.

Take the time to understand exactly what’s available and how it can help you to keep your doors open.

There’s no time like the present.  Here is a good place to start.

  • Agile Is The New Black

As I said in my previous post, agility in business has never been more important than it is today. We are faced with a crisis that needs a seismic shift in the way we think and act.  For businesses to survive this, owners need to throw out the book called “business as usual”.

Businesses need to find new ways of delivering their products, goods and services to market to meet the rapidly changing environmental, social and business environments.

  • Get a Strategic Business Survival Plan

A Strategic Business Survival Plan is the new business Bible.

To survive this crisis, businesses need to navigate three critical stages:

  1. ISSUE TRIAGE – What are the most urgent issues that need to be dealt with to keep your doors open over the next four weeks?
  2. MEDIUM TERM PLANNING AND IMPLEMENTATION – What does your business need to do to get through the next six months?
  3. FUTURE PROOFING – Where does your business need to be post-crisis to remain viable?

Having strategies documented and implemented in the form of a Strategic Business Survival Plan will set your business up for the best chance of surviving COVID-19.

I have no doubt that the road ahead is going to continue to be rocky for many.

But North Queenslanders are resilient. It’s in our blood.

Just as we blinked and found ourselves in a shit storm, there will no doubt be a change of weather coming and when it blows in, it’s important we’re all still here to enjoy the moment when it finally goes right in Townsville.