Tips to tackle event-triggered economic downturn

Retail trade can be particularly vulnerable in the event of unexpected events and emergencies like the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We have compiled the following tips and information to help Monash retailers deal with potential impacts.


One of the greatest resources impacting business success is staff. When your business is under financial stress it is understandable to focus only on your business challenges. But your staff may be feeling the stress, too. So it is important to consider their wellbeing and how it can impact on your customers.

  • Check in with staff on how they are dealing with challenges.
  • Ensure they are aware of the realities of the risk to prevent unnecessary stress and practical steps to limit risks (Department of Health and Human Services advice).
  • Keep staff informed about what is happening within your business (they may be afraid their job/shifts are at risk).
  • Encourage staff to engage with customers in a positive way. If there is less custom you may be able to provide a more personalised service, thanking customers for their continued support when they do come in.

If managed well, rebuilding from an unexpected event or emergency can bring teams closer together and provide a shared sense of achievement and loyalty. Staff may be affected for a long time and just as businesses recover at different speeds, so do people. 

Health and Safety

  • Check on your own mental health and that of your staff.
  • Celebrate successes – a good day can break the cycle of anxiety.
  • Call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or check Lifeline Australia for 24/7 support.


  • Continue working with your accountant or advisors on your cash flow, outgoings obligations, financial planning, and on developing a recovery plan.
  • Investigate negotiating repayment plans for loans, or request payments be deferred.
  • Look to State and Federal Government assistance packages.
  • Apply for and/or check on the progress of disaster grants and/or loans for things like flood or bushfire recovery.
  • Ask landlords (or banks) about payment plans over the period of downturn and recovery.
  • Apply to utility providers for hardship assistance and/or a payment plan.
  • Speak with your accountant about any tax implications that may impact your business as a result of the loss of trade and/or apply to the Tax Office for deferral of payments if applicable.


  • Thank your customers and suppliers for their support during the downturn, and encourage them back. Stronger relationships are often formed as part of a challenge. Lean on those who offer support.
  • Connect with other businesses and the community to help your own recovery and that of others.
  • ‘Buy local’ for goods and services you need, if practical and possible. This supports other local businesses and strengthens the local economy. Encourage others to do the same.