This week the country has collectively paused to take stock of the unprecedented events unfolding in Victoria, New South Wales, and South Australia as bushfires rage in many regions.
We pause in the knowledge families, communities and businesses are all impacted by the crisis occurring and the effects will be felt far beyond the coming weeks.
While the current focus is on ensuring the immediate welfare of those affected, the weeks ahead will shift to the topic of rebuilding.
For the businesses caught in the grip of this natural disaster, the period to come will likely be tough. In addition to dealing with the personal impact of stress and loss, those who can will need to reopen their doors to support their towns, their communities and their personal livelihoods.
All of which begs the question, how can we collectively best support business in the wake of a crisis? Well, aside from the act of giving, there are many, many ways.
In the short-term
In the short-term, the focus needs to be on facilitating the push to get back to business. Whether you are a web designer in Victoria, a supplier in SA or an accountant in fire-affected areas of NSW, now is the time for patience, perspective, and prompt payments.
Should you have accounts outstanding, this is the moment to pay up. Should you have orders or services that are awaiting fulfillment from business in these regions, this is the moment to say: “I’m more than happy to wait, and on this occasion, I will pay in advance”.
As fellow business operators, we can also offer our services. We can chip in to support in a host of different ways – from offering a shared workspace elsewhere to bookkeeping on their behalf, or a little guidance on marketing – if we can imagine a service they might require or something that would assist, we can offer to lend a quiet hand.
In the long-term
In the long-term, the best support will always be through patronage – be it holidaying in a fire-affected community, seeking products or services from there or assisting via word of mouth referrals.
As the media spotlight on these areas fades, this will become increasingly important. Long after the journalists head home and the news moves on, communities will face the challenge of rebuilding.
Should you have work that needs to be done, the weeks ahead will be the time to source it from the relevant people in these communities.
Collectively we can assist in the effort to rebuild. In addition to aiding those we already work with in crisis-impacted communities, we can also actively seek the services and products of people who reside there.
We can shop locally, source locally and think locally in a bid to inject funds, impetus and rejuvenation into the communities affected.
And then of course, we can give – with a host of different charities, organisations and businesses currently taking donations on behalf of those affected.
Many charities note they have already reached capacity when it comes to donations of items like clothing and food, so when it comes to the act of giving, now could be the time to offer financial donations or think outside the box.
The Business Business Business community has already come together to give to and support fire-affected communities.
Meanwhile, a list of just some of the charitable initiatives supporting bushfire victims is here:
- The Australian Red Cross
- The Salvation Army
- St Vincent de Paul
- World Wildlife Fund
- RSPCA Bushfire appeal
- NSW Rural Fire Service
- Victorian Country Fire Authority
- The Victorian Government Bushfire Appeal
- The SA Bushfire Relief Appeal
- Celeste Barber’s facebook appeal
- Bushfire Business Bundle
These are just some of the avenues currently available to offer your assistance, but long after the immediate threat passes, business in fire-affected communities will continue to need our support.
For those BBB members caught in the grips of the disaster, our thoughts are with you.
Rest assured, as a business community, we will continue to stand beside you in the weeks and months ahead long after the headlines fade and as you rebuild.