The last 5 months have seen many businesses across Australia take a real hit economically. Restrictions have meant many organisations especially those in hospitality and events close and for other service orientated business projects have been suspended or pulled completely. If you are one of the many small businesses that are wondering how you will bounce back post COVID-19, you are not alone and will be relieved to know that you don’t need to face this challenge without support. The NSW government has recently announced a recovery grant as support to small businesses reopening or scaling up operations following the easing of restrictions. Under the new Small Business Recovery Grant, you will be able to apply for funding up to $3000. The grants can be used to cover marketing and advertising expenses, make fit-out changes, and train staff in how to work safely under the current COVID-19 health conditions. First things first, are you eligible? If you are then how can you use this grant to innovate, pivot, and reposition your brand and business to bounce back stronger and better than pre-COVID?
Below is an easy to follow 101 Checklist to help you navigate through the process of applying and to cross-check your eligibility. If you qualify, fantastic! Below you will find suggestions on what $3k can get you in terms of the most effective marketing channels to turbocharge your reach and positioning. If there is one thing the financial global crisis of 2008 taught us all is that despite its hugely negative economic impact it was the drive behind many of the innovative businesses that sprung up and became multi-million dollar enterprises (hello Uber and Airbnb!). There is always opportunity in crisis if you know what to look for and are agile and responsive.
To begin below is a checklist of requirements for eligibility as of 1 March 2020, do you fit the bill?
1. Are you a small business or a not-for-profit organisation (see guidelines) based in NSW ?
2. Do you have an ABN registered in NSW?
3. Is your annual turnover of more than $75,000?
4. Do you employ less than 20 full-time equivalent staff?
5. Can you report a payroll below the NSW 2019-2020 payroll tax threshold of $900,000?
6. Are you in a highly impacted industry by the Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement)? (see guidelines)
7. Have you experienced at least a 30% decline in turnover from March to July 2020 compared to the equivalent period (of at least 2 weeks) in 2019?
8. Do you have costs associated with safely reopening or up-scaling your business from 1 July 2020?
It’s worth mentioning that If you have received a COVID-19 small business support grant of up to $10,000, you may also be eligible to apply for the $3000 COVID-19 small business recovery grant, so it is well worth the effort applying for this additional grant. If you believe that you could be eligible and cover all the points in our checklist, then there is also compliance around the documentation you will need as proof of identity, and for auditing purposes. For more detailed information on this please see the helpful links below;
• Small Business COVID-19 Recovery Grant – Guidelines
• Small Business COVID-19 Recovery Grant – Terms and Conditions
• Small Business COVID-19 Recovery Grant – Privacy and Collection Notice
If you are one of the lucky businesses that qualify your next question should be how best to use this grant to maximise the $3k? There are a million different advertising channels to choose from but there are specific channels that will definitely maximise your reach and exposure based on this budget over others. Choose a creative studio that is offering easy to use Grant Support Packages to help you maximise the government funding to innovate, pivot, and find the opportunities in the current marketplace. Below are 3 of the areas we think will give you the most bang for your buck.
1. Brand Refresh – With many businesses having faced shutdowns due to social distancing rules and the suspension or cancellation of projects due to the fear of an unstable economy, has meant that now there is time to focus on your brand and positioning. Many businesses place their own branding at the bottom of their to-do list simply because there is not enough time or money to invest. The $3k grant will go a long way towards using an agency to undertake a brand audit, reposition you in the marketplace, and refresh your brand assets and marketing material. This all equates to an edge over your competitors, connecting with new customers and raising your profile in the marketplace which in-turn all contribute to a better bottom line, who doesn’t need that post-Covid-19?
2. Create a Social Media Strategy and Campaign – If you are wanting to extend your reach and connect and build a relationship with your audience, then one of the most effective mediums is social media. Those platforms allow you to closely engage with your audience and there is no better way to build a community, and this can all be achieved in a relatively cost-effective way. The $3k grant would allow for competitor analysis for Facebook and Instagram, a profile audit and refresh, a monthly content calendar, and could even go towards a month worth of outsourced publishing and management of content.
3. Digital Marketing EDM Campaign – An extremely cost-effective way to extend your reach and inform and market to your database. This is one of the best ways for mass communication that provides useable data. The analytics you will be able to collect from this campaign will help you gather information for future strategic planning. EDMs save time and money and can be tailored to offer a personalised touch to connect in with your database. The $3k grant will completely cover the set up of your account on a suitable platform, the design of one or two templates, and can even go towards training on how to use the platform to mail out to your database.
4. Create an advertising campaign. If you ever thought to advertise now is the time! Prices are low and the competition less. The pandemic has had a huge impact on advertisers. The good news for business owners is that there are some great deals to be had, providers are offering massive incentives and value add across a broad range of mediums. As restrictions start to lift, more and more businesses will start to heavily advertise to their local community. If you want to learn how you can take advantage of this amazing opportunity, and which channel is best suited to your business speak to a creative agency who can guide you on this.
5. SEO and Adwords Campaign. Having an effective website is one of the most essential marketing strategies in any business. There is no point in having an engaging informative site if nobody can find it online. Having a strong SEO and Adwords campaign to improve rankings and reach more customers has the potential to make a huge impact on your business thriving post-Covid-19. The government grant will more than cover competitor, on-page content, and keyword analysis and can provide reporting recommendations on how to improve rankings and extend your reach. When you consider how vital online advertising is, this will be well worth the spend.
In the current climate it’s important to be responsive and agile, so hop to it! Check your eligibility, apply for the grant, and speak to a creative agency on how best to use the grant to reposition your business for a brighter future.
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