Small businesses are the backbone of Australia. They power the economy, keep people in jobs, and support local communities. But right now, these businesses are facing some significant challenges as they respond to the recent devastating bushfires and now disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Today, Google Australia launched a new Google for Small Business (http://g.co/smallbiz-covid19) online hub to provide helpful resources to small and medium businesses as they navigate these challenging times for them, their employees and customers.
The resources are designed to help business owners communicate effectively with their customers and employees, and maintain business operations and continuity planning in response to fast changing external conditions.
It includes step-by-step advice and links so business owners can adjust their existing arrangements as needed - for example, in response to having to temporarily close shopfront operations or moving employees to remote working arrangements.
COVID-19 and the recent bushfires have created unprecedented challenges for Aussie businesses and we’re keen to make sure the best of Google’s business resources are available to help these businesses get through this period.
The new resource builds on steps we’ve already taken including making video conferencing and productivity tools available free of charge for customers working remotely and for educational purposes, and providing online tips to small businesses and all Australians through the existing Grow with Google digital skills training program.
A summary of the tips and resources are below (available at g.co/smallbiz-covid19):
Communicating with your customers
- If you have moved business operations to online, takeaway or delivery, edit your Business Profile on Google so customers know how to buy from you.
- If your business or one of your locations has temporarily closed, mark the location as temporarily closed on Google Maps and Search.
- Use Posts to tell customers on your Business Profile what is happening and if there are changes to how you are operating - for example, if you are now offering online sales or delivery or special offers.
- If you have a shopfront which is closed but you’re still taking phone calls, update your business phone number to your mobile phone, so you can answer business calls remotely.
- Set an email auto-reply to share your latest updates with customers - for example, if you are temporarily closed, or taking phone, online or delivery orders.
- Put contact information for your employees, vendors, and clients online in a system like Google Contacts so it’s accessible from any location.
- Make a business continuity plan, and share it with employees via an email address they can access it outside of the office.
- If you have more than one business location, provide local managers with the authority to take appropriate actions in your business continuity plan based on outbreak conditions at their location.
- Help you and your team to effectively work from home with these tools and resources from Grow with Google.
- Collaborate with your co-workers using online tools and platforms - for example using a shared document, a quick conference call, or by creating an email list or a chat room.
- Make sure you’re able to access important documents from anywhere by uploading them to the Cloud through tools like Google Drive or downloading to your mobile phone or computer for offline access.
- If you’re using Chromebooks, ensure they have the right policies in place to access company resources from home and to keep devices and data secure.
- Edit your ads as needed to let customers know whether you're open for business and if you offer helpful services like expedited shipping.
- Pause campaigns if your product availability is impacted by supply chain issues or increased demand.
- If your business relies on customers from countries most affected by the virus, consider prioritising your ad budget to other locations.
For the most timely information and guidance on COVID-19 for businesses, please refer to the relevant Australian Government resources; for economic assistance, to understand workplace obligations and for coronavirus information and support.