Plan for the worst but hope for the best

The fire season is upon us and Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains have not been spared. As a former police officer I have responded to these types of threats before. I also have friends and former colleagues responding now. So it is great to see the support from the general community right across Sydney getting behind the fire fighters and those directly affected by the fires. The Aussie spirit is alive and well.

However, as an Insolvency Practitioner, I have also seen the flow on effects these types of events have on businesses and the economy of these regions. It is not only those that lose their houses that are affected. How many people consider the lasting effects these types of events have on their business? The flow on effects can be disastrous, to lose your house and then your job. How is that fair?

What really made me stop and think was the recent number of posts on social media platforms. One post in particular requested that people do not visit and holiday in the Blue Mountains during the fires. The main industry in the Blue Mountains is tourism and catering for tourists. Cafes, attractions, hotels, motels, restaurants, the list goes on. These businesses are going to suffer revenue and cash flow issues as the tourist dollar dries up.

Now is the time for those businesses to review their positions, check insurance policies, speak to the advisors and put in place plans to meet the impacts head on. Acting sooner rather than later can save the business and that’s what the region needs to rebuild. Having an economy that can rebound will help the rebuilding.

The outlying areas of Western Sydney are in the same boat but luckily the fires haven’t been too severe in these regions. Let’s hope they won’t be but one thing I learnt in the Emergency Services was, “plan for the worst but hope for the best” which was a mantra that helped a lot of people pull through. That’s the same in business. If you have customers, clients, suppliers, infrastructure or business in areas such as these now is the time to start planning. Your financial advisors can help you plan. Areas to look at include insurance cover, cash flow, alternative revenue streams, hibernation and minimising costs during these periods. Each business is different so what might work for one may not work for another. So it is time for you to develop what works for your business.

With that said, I wish to thank all those that have volunteered their time, effort and resources to help those affected. It is great to see the number of Australians pulling together to support the fire fighters and those impacted by the path of destruction. The number of collection points, groups and organisations to allow all those to help in their own individual way has been amazing. However, I hope people don’t forget about the lasting effects once the fires are out and it is no longer on the news. That is why I recommend each of you to consider spending at least one day in the Blue Mountains this summer. Get up there, see the sights, taste the great food, visit the numerous markets and even stay the night. Help rebuild the economy and the heart of the community. This is just another way you can help. Those communities don’t want to turn into ghost towns while they fight to rebuild. Help them out and have some fun while you’re doing it.

For Western Sydney Business ACCESS paper, November 2013 issue.
Copyright © 2013 Condon Associates