You're not Alone - How to endure times of change

Published on 19 March 2020

Elize Hattin

We have all been impacted in one way or the other by the current Coronavirus crisis. We are all looking at what to do and asking questions around business continuity, finances, how are we going to run our teams and how to handle our concerns about losing customers or clients or bookings?


The Australian Government has responded strongly to this crisis, taking decisive leadership to protect our economy by introducing economic measures to assist business.

Fortunately for us as a business community, the government is saying it is crucial to support your employees, your workers and your team. They government claims they are going to do everything they can to make that possible for us as a business community.

While the Central Queensland business community may not yet be experiencing the full impact of the global coronavirus pandemic, this does not mean businesses and the community should not be ardently preparing for it.

Being properly prepared for the unknown helps us all move forward in a more confident way and helps mitigate against things going badly in business.


  1. Payroll tax support - The state government has delayed the payment of payroll tax. Contact your accountant who can lead you through the implications of this is.
  2. Targeted support for hardest hit industries – this includes tourism, hospitality, fisheries and exporters.
  3. $500 million loan facility - Loans are up to $250,000 and are interest free for 12 months to support businesses to retain employees and maintain operations.
  4. Further support measures – these will be updated regularly by the Queensland Government; keep monitoring their website and social media pages.  


The Australian Government has announced an economic response including business investment support, assistance with cashflow for employers, a household stimulus payment and targeted assistance for the most severely affected regions.

The government will be updating their support measures and making new announcements about how they're going to support the economy moving forward. Set a reminder to check these websites two or three times a week to see what you are eligible for.

Similarly, for health advice, visit the official government websites (rather than Facebook) for up-to-date and most accurate information.

Think and plan ahead. Don't leave it until you have a problem to access financial assistance.


A way to prepare is by asking yourself what are all the different scenarios you might face? What's the worst-case scenario? What's the best-case scenario? What's the in-between scenario? Make plans for all these scenarios.

Moving forward, maintaining cashflow and being wise around how you use and access cash will become vital. In your scenario plans, include how the cash component of your business is going to work over the next six months.

Once you've made your different scenario plans, you may realise you could require some assistance. It is important to be aware of the support that's available through various government channels.  

Make a plan, communicate it with your team and work together to keep each other healthy, keep the work environment healthy and slow down the spread of this virus.


There are different speeds in which things change. Sometimes they change slowly and sometimes change happens rapidly.

The current coronavirus pandemic is clearly creating a massive change in the world; massive change in the society, in our economy, in business, in how we live, in the short term, very short term.

Change always creates two things:

  1. Opportunities
  2. Problems

We are very good at seeing and responding to problems because we have to, in order to survive. Do your planning so we can prevent these problems from happening, or act on them quickly so they don't become insurmountable.

We need to train ourselves and challenge ourselves to look at the opportunity this pandemic is creating. Do not let this change and problems go to waste because it is creating opportunities:

  1. An opportunity to innovate – there is always a solution to a problem, especially innovative one.
  2. An opportunity to implement past plans - change helps make some of the plans that we had in the past real. This may be about how you could use technology to serve your customers and your clients better? How can you deliver your services and your products more efficiently by using other methods other than this face to face contact that we are good at doing as human beings?
  3. An opportunity to connect virtually – we may not be able to meet and connect in person at present, but we can through technology. Zoom rooms is a great way to connect if you have one to virtually connect. Josari is a platform that gives small businesses remote access to advice they need without having to catch up face to face.

So, as business owners, managers of teams, family and community members, what should we be doing right now (if we haven’t already)?

Change and what it means for our businesses, families and ourselves. We need to look at the problems and create a contingency plan to prepare for all the different scenarios. Over the next few uncertain weeks and months, you might have to enact all these plans, or none…but have plans with prepared responses. 

Proactively seek government assistance to prevent big problems from occurring.

Look after your team. Think carefully about whether you should have people working from home, if you can physically separate them and cleaning your office environment. The leadership you provide to encourage people to take this situation seriously will help us keep safe and let the virus pass as quickly as possible, in the safest possible way.

Use downtime to get the important work done. All the things you have been putting off for a long time, that you've wanted to do but not had the time to do… make a list and start checking off that important work.

Focus on your own health. Keep a healthy regimen to keep yourself fighting fit.

Care factor. Have some contingency plans around how you are going to look after the people you love, and vice versa if you get sick. Check in with your elderly neighbours to see if they need assistance.


Being a Rockhampton Regional Council initiative, the SmartHub must abide by Council rules. Rockhampton Regional Council announced this week that public access to Council offices, facilities, libraries and depots will be restricted from Monday 23 March to slow the spread of coronavirus and to give the community another measure of protection.

Starting at the beginning of the day on Monday, 23rd March, the public will no longer be able to access the Pilbeam Theatre, Rockhampton Art Gallery, Heritage Village, Schotia Place and Council offices depots in Rockhampton, Gracemere and Mount Morgan.

Following this, from Thursday 26th of March this restriction will extend to Council's customer service centres and libraries, however the Childcare Centre will remain open.

From Thursday 26th of March, this restriction to the public will also apply to the SmartHub.

By close of business on Wednesday 25th of March, the SmartHub will be restricting access to card holders and resident members only.

Up until this date and time, the public can still enter to attend external and SmartHub events. After Wednesday, the only people who can enter the SmartHub will be resident members:

  • SmartHub residents can enter but cannot bring any employees, family or clients into the facility
  • Resident members must maintain 1.5 metre distance from each other
  • If you're unwell in any way, please do not enter the Smart Hub
  • No external bookings until further notice - if you have an external booking with us, our team will contact you shortly to try and reschedule your event. If your event cannot be rescheduled, we will refund your booking


Despite restricted physical access to the SmartHub, anyone interested in accessing our services, wanting to chat to our team or seeking support or information around the Coronavirus or other business matters, can still contact us through our SmartHub email.

The SmartHub team will work in shifts from home and the SmartHub, to continue our support for the SmartHub Community.

The weekly Hub Lives will continue each Thursday from 1pm, with plans to have guests join us virtually.

The next Lunch-and-Learn will also go ahead virtually, with the session recorded and posted on Facebook. We are working to find technology solutions to allow us to steam this event live as well. You can still register to join the next session.

While we may all be operating from home in isolation, this does not mean we are alone. You can still be part of this incredible community, continue receiving all the information you need and keep interacting with us and each other. 

To be innovative ourselves, the SmartHub is trialling virtual co-working, which everyone is invited to be part of. We plan to have Zoom check-ins set up where you can come into a Zoom room or meeting and check in and say Hi, just like you would if you were to go to work.

You can say Hi to people virtually, have a chat and then continue with your work. We will be working remotely and independently, but we are all going to be working together via Zoom. More information will be posted on the SmartHub Facebook page shortly.


It is critical we look after our teams now, because in six months' time when the crisis is over (or we are recovering at least), it will be our teams who will help our businesses get back to normal. If you can, hold onto and support your teams and use this time to do some of the important work.

We all have a list of those things that are important to do, that the day-to-day always prevents us from getting done. If things are a little bit quieter and there's less actual work to do, get some of those jobs done.

Then there's an opportunity to focus on your health and to try and stay as healthy as possible, there's an opportunity to connect with the people that matter most, your family. Take advantage of the change being created right now.


Presently, there is a meme doing the rounds on social media, alluding to the fact our grandfathers were called to go to war…and we are simply being asked to stay home and sit on the couch. Let's do what's right by looking after ourselves and keeping ourselves, our teams, our homes and our places of business as clean and healthy as possible.

Focus on good nutrition, supplementation, water and exercise to keep yourself healthy. Fresh air is a good remedy so enjoy long walks outside (ideally on your own). Keep up social distancing and look after each other as much as possible.

At the end of this, we will all want to get back to normal as quickly as possible. Hopefully, we will all have the pieces together to be able to ramp up operations and bounce back, stronger, more resilient and better than ever before.

The SmartHub encourages entrepreneurs and business owners to adopt technology and modern based business practice to make the entire business journey more profitable, more enjoyable, more effective and more efficient.

Being part of the SmartHub gives local business owners opportunities to meet with and learn from mentors, to help them learn the discipline required to succeed in business.

If you’d like to learn more about becoming part of the SmartHub, contact us via Facebook , or 07 4936 8444.

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