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Our Stories - Facing The Pandemic

Discussion in 'Money matters' started by Paul - FS Concierge, Mar 17, 2020.

  1. Paul - FS Concierge

    Paul - FS Concierge Administrator Staff Member

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    The trajectory of the economic outlook is sudden and scary.

    Have you already been affected?

    What is the outlook for you?

    Will your business survive if conditions deteriorated over a protracted period?
    Marisa Lawlor likes this.
  2. LucasArthur

    LucasArthur Renowned Member

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    Yes, granted... many businesses suffer during times like this...

    Yes, been affected.. Think we all will be or have been, for us though it has been negligible at present with main issue being slight delays in stock arrivals. Both through domestic wholesalers and chinese, primarily due to the fact that nearly everything is derived from OS regardless of where wholesalers sit.

    Outlook, think will be a ok...

    Will business survive? this depends if the zombie apocalypse is near...

    Overall though, putting current situation aside, it is a great learning curve for some to try and build some panic situations into ones planning and to potentially diversify a little, if possible in good times to carry through some of the bad.

    Hope all is staying safe
    Greg_M and Paul - FS Concierge like this.
  3. Paul - FS Concierge

    Paul - FS Concierge Administrator Staff Member

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    Thanks for the reply Jason.

    We have been working through assisting some of our customers - for example, we caught some of the only supply of bulk hand sanitiser for a school pointing internationally.

    We have been asked by them and a very large school (not a customer), if we could do a full Hazmat style disinfection clean and we said no.

    We did go and clean an office in a movie studio after news of Tom Hanks becoming ill but the office in not somewhere where he had been within the vast lot.

    We are still completing policies and a new web page and have put some systems in place for our cleaners and customers including the provision of gloves and changing our spray ' n ' wipe to a medical grade disinfectant.

    We have also changed our quoting to include more disinfecting but we have decided to not try to price gouge.

    Our outlook is neutral to positive.

    My friend's have a holiday accommodation cleaning service and they are saying that forward bookings are drying up quickly.

    It will be interesting to see if internal travel begins to take off or if all travel dries up to a significant extent.
  4. Rowan@quaotic

    [email protected] Well-Known Member

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    After just starting a little tour business which has barely got off the ground I am in the poo now. I am having to consider pulling all the seats out of my minibus and try to get work doing deliveries. At least it will save on insurance.

    If that doesn't work I don't know what I am going to do as I am about out of money and no-one is hiring.
    Paul - FS Concierge likes this.
  5. Paul - FS Concierge

    Paul - FS Concierge Administrator Staff Member

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    I hurts me to read this. If you feel I can help you in anyway, please let me know.
    [email protected] likes this.
  6. bb1

    bb1 Renowned Member

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    The million dollar question.

    To date no affect.

    After having a dodgy 10 months leading up to xmas due to a 1 one week autumn and 2 week spring last year. And staring down another hot summer, the summer ended up being a bumper 3 months (which continues), as it was more like a super spring, I'm, still about a week behind now, and the phone keeps ringing. definitely cant complain today.

    But the future is a little unknown, yes the grass (and plants) will continue to grow no matter what COVID 19 does.

    but, the but,
    • 50% of my clients are small business's (most very successful), so if their business goes down the toilet (No toilet paper), I will be one of the first to be dropped.
    • 40% Body Corporates, sounds good in good times, but obviously if money gets tight for the unit holders, I am one option to get the flick.
    • The rest are privates, and again depends on their financial situation.
    If there is a total lockdown for 4 weeks, sure once we are all let out again, and assuming my clients have the $'s, I will be turning up to places which could be 10 foot tall, hedges out of control, weeds running rampant, thus all taking 2 or 3 times as long, for what are in the main fixed price jobs, so just trying to get them back to a suitable standard will be a big job.

    So the long and the short of it is, I have no idea, like most service business's we are dependent on the profitability of our clients, with the added bonus of the weather and climate change.

    I was talking to the only real estate agent I will do work for today, and they don't even know how they will be able to do Open for inspections. Looking at my small business clients, I wouldn't be surprised if half of them go under if this goes on to long, even though all are in great positions today.

    But the one good thing is, the supermarket still has plenty of chips and chocolate and BWS has Bundy and Red.

    My bigger concern at the moment is will they lockdown my 95 year old mums aged care facility, cant imagine not being about to visit a few times a week, but in another way I wish they would lock it down, so it doesnt get in.
  7. Greg_M

    Greg_M Renowned Member

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    I'm old enough to have been self employed or in business through 3 previous recessions (got absolutely smashed in the 89/90 "recession we had to have"). It was almost traditional in the construction industry to deal with the boom bust cycle, and you learn survival techniques (primarily networking with people you trust).

    But I have to say this episode is really one out of the box. Apart from the obvious concerns about the welfare of family etc, in previous cycles there was usually some sectors doing ok, good enough that if you weren't fussy there would be some kind of work going. This time around I'm not so sure.

    I'm a couple of hours North of Adelaide on the coast and it's really only started to bite locally since Sunday (the first sign of any pressure on supermarkets). But it's now accelerating very quickly and some businesses will be in deep shit before the end of the month...regardless of any medical lock downs occurring.

    Personally I work remotely anyway, so no net effect yet, but it will happen as my remaining regular clients are in Victoria, and they can see the writing on the wall...one lost a lucrative job at short notice Friday.

    If there's any upside at all, it's that everyone will be knee deep in the same crap...how well we support each other will be the test.
    amao and Paul - FS Concierge like this.
  8. Bigprintguy

    Bigprintguy Member

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    I'll have to say at the moment I am worried! We are a large format printing and signage company and a lot of our customers are expo companies and event management companies and these guys have literally had their orders for the forseable future turned off like a switch overnight. Since Wednesday last week I would have expected to have taken maybe 40 or 50 orders but we have in fact taken 10 small orders.

    I have had to make the decision straight away to let the young trainee go and put our BDM on unpaid leave and have had the conversation with the other four staff this morning that if things don't pick up soon that they may have to go onto unpaid leave as well to get through it.

    I really, really hope that the government are going to show more strength than they have so far and introduce a relief package that is proportionate to the crisis otherwise I think we along with many others are going to be closing the doors for good.

    Dan
  9. Paul - FS Concierge

    Paul - FS Concierge Administrator Staff Member

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    Hi @Bigprintguy - Dan,

    I feel for you.

    Cut deep and cut early is probably the lesson from other slowdowns but of course this one is unique. The next part is to resist further cuts so that those left behind can feel secure.

    I wonder if there is a way for your staff to bring ideas to you around a way forward?

    Cheers
  10. Greg_M

    Greg_M Renowned Member

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    Hi Rowan,

    Sorry to hear you've taken such a hit to your new business, over the years I've been posting here I've always admired your drive to "have a crack" and take responsibility for making your own living.

    Excuse me for sticking my nose in and brainstorming, but I think there's possibly some opportunity for making the most out of your mini bus...maybe without removing all of the seats.

    I'm assuming given your location the nearest serious shopping is Hamilton and maybe even Mt Gambier. I would also guess they're the nearest serious medical centers.

    Given what's going on, it occurred to me there's opportunity for doing "shopping runs" for self isolating people or others that can't or wont get out and about and there's lots of small towns along the track in either direction with people either in the same boat, or soon will be.

    Maybe introduce yourself to the main Pharmacies as someone that can deliver to the door (and capable of managing the risk appropriately).

    I also would of thought your bus is big enough to meet the necessary distancing requirements to carry 1 or 2 passengers to medical appointments etc....maybe with grocery/chemist orders packed on the free seats.

    Obviously you'd be elevating your own personal risk, but you strike me as someone smart enough to manage it appropriately and instill confidence in your customers.

    Like I said, a total brainstorm...good luck with finding a solution, whatever it is.

    Cheers
    Paul - FS Concierge likes this.
  11. Paul - FS Concierge

    Paul - FS Concierge Administrator Staff Member

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    Thanks for chipping in @Greg_M - it is always good to support fellow members, especially now.
  12. Rowan@quaotic

    [email protected] Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Greg, I am way ahead of you there. Although there are legal restrictions on taking out seats but leaving a couple in for passengers so I can't do that, I floated this idea on FB and have had a lot of support from businesses and the public for my idea of picking up and delivering needed goods and groceries to those who don't want to go into town.
    I have had a couple of enquiries since yesterday from local towns including Mount Gambier and Hamilton so it might work.

    By stopping my registration as a passenger vehicle I can save a lot on the huge insurance cost that is placed on passenger vehicles, as well as the yearly certification costs and yearly roadworthies.

    I am in a more positive mood now. I just hope good wishes turn into enough orders for the service.

    Thanks for your comments, I really appreciate them. We are a good bunch :)
    Paul - FS Concierge and Greg_M like this.
  13. JamesMillar

    JamesMillar Renowned Member

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    Well I have probably spoken with close to 100 business owners (prospective clients) in the last 3 days that have sought information about the $25k payment. Some of those were quite good businesses but the overwhelming majority are in trouble already and shutdown has only just started.

    However I’ve left them all with the message that I genuinely believe and that is in times of great change there is likely also great opportunity. We (my office) are spending more time and brainpower than ever before on the simple art of thinking and spitballing ideas and opportunities. Mostly related to our core business but not necessarily. Now is the time to be curious and innovate. We have already tripled marketing efforts and resources and have devised a cutting edge plan with an excellent team (thanks largely to Byron at pixelrush). It’s already working well.

    For what it’s worth my advice is ....think think think and think some more. You will probably find a better smarter way to do things inspired by the need to change. Sometimes we all need a little crisis and kick in the arse to change and improve. Being comfortable makes us all lazy thinkers.
  14. Paul - FS Concierge

    Paul - FS Concierge Administrator Staff Member

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    I agree with the sentiment @JamesMillar . A time of great disruption is a time of great opportunity.

    However, don't discount luck and timing, two principle elements said to be present in the barnstorming growth of both Uber and AirBnB.

    Those elements also work in reverse and my heart goes out to anybody caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    Since I bought my business, I have been a huge proponent of cash-flow management and having a good balance sheet right now is probably more important now than ever.

    I worked in the public employment system during previous recessions so I am confident in saying that many who thought they wouldn't make it then, if fact thrived.

    That is my hope for the Soloists out there who perceive their own future grimly. Many of you will have a better future than you though possible in times of no crisis!
  15. heylouise

    heylouise Member

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    I'm spending an increased amount of time creating helpful content for those transitioning to selling online. I realise this is a slow way to build up business, but it's what I'm good at.
  16. Paul - FS Concierge

    Paul - FS Concierge Administrator Staff Member

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    Many subsequently develop e-books and/or courses based on all of the work they have put into the content.

    I have personally spent roughly 20 hours in the last 2 days updating my website - it needed it :). More to come too.

    Cheers
  17. Blueedge

    Blueedge Member

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    I feel so sorry for small business right now, a lot of them won't be able to take a wage and be struggling to keep afloat, let alone do what they may need to do to grow their business. For us, we made the decision last year to remove all our Super from the UK and use it to buy solar, batteries and an electric car. Fast forward to tax time and it looked like we'd made a huge mistake with a big tax bill. (I know, stupid spending huh??) Anyhow, hindsight is a wonderful thing, now though, with the fall of the share market, we realise that it was in fact a good thing to do. Our UK super accounts would have been decimated beyond any increase due to currency fluctuations and tax paid. There wouldn't have been anything to bring over.

    Now, the business is doing okay, we sell mainly to small business and older crafters/card makers so that could get a bit tricky in the coming months. Our cash flow is pretty good because last year, I made a conscious decision to try and manufacture our own products and buy from Australia wholesalers. This will hopefully prove to be a good thing in the coming months. We've been an online only business for 20 years so as long as people feel secure enough to keep buying and Australia Post continues to deliver, we should be able to ride it out until we retire - if there is going to be such a thing.
  18. Paul - FS Concierge

    Paul - FS Concierge Administrator Staff Member

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    I hope the same for you!

    When there is market volatility, there is opportunity. Every crash has been followed by a rebound at some point.

    I hope our members here at Flying Solo each find a way to come out the other side in some form of good shape.

    For some, I am sure it will be, "I learnt a valuable lesson..."

    Cheers
  19. Daniel Courtney Gallery

    Daniel Courtney Gallery Member

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  20. Marisa Lawlor

    Marisa Lawlor Member

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    Hey Paul,
    It is really interesting reading. Every single one of us is affected by the same crisis but every single consequence is different.
    I have a small Pilates, Barre, Yoga studio in Melbourne's Inner North. Thankfully I can still keep classes going but with a max of 8 people per class and every hygiene measure I can think of to reduce contact with any surfaces other than the mats and props they bring in themselves. Our community is incredibly supportive and not cancelling memberships so far.
    Our attendance is very low but we are hanging in there and laughing and smiling as much as we can.

    I am now streaming classes through a private facebook group for my paying participants which is not ideal but enough to keep the ball rolling whilst I set up something better.
    And really, getting the technology right is my biggest challenge and my next step is to reach out to our group to do this.
    Each day presents new challenges and variables but my aims are staying the same and having this focus is helping
    • Keep people moving to maintain physical and mental health and wellbeing.
    • Keep my contracted instructors in whatever work I can for as long as I can.
    • Be generous and kind in what I can offer for free and realistic in what I need to be paid for to survive this crisis.
    I am sure that I am not alone in saying that my brain does not stop. I am learning so much. I said to someone this morning that running small business right now is like being the Ring Master, Clown, Acrobat, Juggler and Lion Tamer in my own circus

    I have to remind myself every step of the way to stop, breathe, stop and then step slowly. Hoping fellow soloists can do the same.

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