Disaster Planning and Recovery National Virtual Roundtable - Small and Medium Insights

A) Macroeconomics influence community reslience (Small and medium size business)

After a disaster event, there are significant ripple effects through the service and supply chain that may impact negatively on the local economy and longer-term community recovery. These financial effects may include: limited stock; inability to pay suppliers; the availability of local suppliers and local human resources; transport challenges; difficulty keeping up with staff wages; failure to meet return on investment and other business goals

B) Family safety is the priority (Small and medium size business)

If a local business owner finds their home and family impacted or at risk during a disaster event, this takes priority and they are likely to have limited capacity to address the needs of their business until the wellbeing of their loved ones is assured. Business recovery may be delayed, potentially compounding property damage, impacting staff and delaying the availability of goods and services for community recovery

C) Employer is a pillar in the community (Small and medium size business)

The recovery and operation of local businesses after a natural disaster are instrumental to community resilience. • Businesses not only support the local economy, but provide the goods, services and support required for community recovery. Employers often played a significant role in the recovery journey of their employees by providing financial security through consistent income, flexible working arrangements and other supports.

D) There is an aversion to accepting ‘charity’ (Small and medium size business)

There is some reluctance among business owners to accept assistance, often seen as ‘charity’. • Feelings of pride in self-sufficiency, shame and the perception that ‘someone else is worse off’ were common barriers to seeking financial assistance. Implications include a tendency for business owners to draw on their personal finances which may impact their family and leave them more vulnerable to longer-term financial hardship.

E) Business insurance was a pain point for many (Small and medium size business)

Many businesses rely on insurance to provide security in times of crisis, but some felt let down by their policy. Barriers to businesses having appropriate cover for the impacts of the flood included complex and inaccessible contracts and policy documents, a lack of awareness of the financial and insurance products available to suit their business needs and the perceived unaffordability of flood insurance options. Business insurance was purchased through a broker and some small business owners were frustrated to discover that the policy they had purchased upon the recommendation of their broker did not provide cover for what they had requested.

F) Government grants and support are a welcome relief, but there was some red tape (Small and medium size business)

The financial assistance for small businesses made available by the government was beneficial and well received, but some of the processes and conditions for accessing grants created unintended challenges for applicants. Barriers to access included the length and complexity of some applications and a lack of alignment between financial assistance and insurance offerings which complicated decisionmaking or caused lengthy delays. Many businesses, from micro-enterprises to notfor-profit and small businesses, benefited from the support provided by the Small Business Recovery Centre, a one stop hub where businesses could access advice and services during immediate recovery and in the longer term.

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