Welcome to the November 2023 edition of the Small Business Financial Counselling Service (SBFCS) Southern Queensland newsletter.
In this edition: Message from CEO Meet our new Business Wellness Coach Business continuity planning Get Prepared app Adapting to change Changes to the law on unfair contract terms Nick’s tip for small businesses Small Business Cyber Security Guide Business Energy Saving and Transformation Rebates
|Message from CEO The recent bushfires across Southern Queensland have again demonstrated the unpredictable nature of the Australian operating environment. Unfortunately, we remain at the start of the Queensland disaster season and I fear that these most recent events may not be all that nature has in store for us over the coming months. Our thoughts go out to the communities who have been impacted and I encourage any small business owners to reach out to our team of Small Business Financial Counsellors or Business Wellness Coaches for support at this time.
Potential weather-related disruptions can have a massive impact on a small business, whether it be physical damage from an event or financial loss due to loss of power, loss of access or a downturn in customer traffic (particularly in tourism areas). Whilst Queensland is a fantastic place to live and do business, it is not without its challenges and I encourage everyone to consider what is their continuity plan over the coming months. Now is also a great time, before summer officially arrives, to review insurance policies and level of cover to make sure you are covered for what you think you are. All too often we see clients caught out when making a claim, discovering too late that they are not covered for what they thought they were. The financial impacts of recovering after an event without an insurance claim are often devastating.
Alongside the often visible impacts of natural disaster events, it is not uncommon for financial counsellors to be contacted to assist a small business impacted by a scam or data breach, which has had terrible consequences for their business, often financial and reputational. The best analogy I have heard is that whilst firewalls and antivirus help us put up a virtual security fence, everyone who has a username and password for the system has the key to the gate. If you haven’t recently, I encourage everyone to consider their cyber security. At a practical level, review who has access to your systems and whether they need this access. All too often, we see and hear of former employees still having user profiles that could be used maliciously and harm businesses.
Earlier this year, I participated in a Small Business and Agribusiness Workshop held by the Australian Banking Code Compliance Committee which considered how lenders can better support primary producers and small business owners who begin to encounter financial difficulty. The workshop report has been published and can now be accessed. I fully support the commentary in this report about early engagement and discussions between banks and clients, the benefits of a relationship approach and the value of debt mediation practices if this stage is reached.
Chief Executive Officer
|Small Business Cyber Security Guide In our digital business world, cyber security threats have fast become the number one risk of business interruption faced by any business – small or large. If you haven’t already started to consider your cyber risk or if you would like to make sure your current plan is on the right track, the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) has developed a suite of resources to assist small businesses to protect themselves against common cyber security threats.
The Small Business Cyber Security Guide explains the following topics and easy steps you can take to protect your small business including: the cyber threats to your small business how to secure your accounts how to protect your devices and information how to prepare your staff. Even minor cyber security incidents can have significant impacts, with the average cost of cybercrime being over $39,000 for small businesses.
For more information about cyber security and to access further small business resources visit the ACSC website.
|SBFCS Southern Queensland Funded by the Australian Government and Queensland Government