The recent Australian bushfires have had devastating effects on businesses across Australia, particularly in New South Wales with over a third (35%) of businesses affected in some way.[1] A quarter of businesses in Queensland (25%) have been impacted, followed by Victoria (24%) and less so in WA (16%) and Tasmania (11%).[2]

Although the fires are finally out, those businesses affected by the bushfires now have the arduous job of recovery and rebuilding. For many businesses, particularly those in rural areas, direct damage to property was unavoidable and detrimental. This damage in rural areas has also led to a domino effect to other businesses that have been indirectly affected, consequently causing a loss in revenue for extended periods.

Develop a crisis recovery plan checklist

Business owners need to develop a crisis recovery plan checklist to assess the extent of the damage and monitor the recovery process.

The first and most important step is to take care of yourself, your family and friends. Ask for help for anything you can’t manage and take time out as you start rebuilding. Offer support to your staff if they have been affected. Give staff information about your plan for recovery, if appropriate to do so, and accept volunteer help when offered.[3]

Assess your finances

Your recovery plan needs to include a review of your financial recovery checklist. Assess what financial help is required, what is on offer and work with your accountant on the steps you need to take.

In the initial stages, this may include perusing your insurance claims, assessing cash flow over the next few months and the cost of reopening your business. 

  • Ensure you can cover these costs with insurance and other income sources;
  • Assess your cash reserves or any lines of credit to cover any potential periods of reduced or lost revenue;
  • Forecast cash flow to understand the likely impact over the next 3 to 36 months;
  • Apply for and check on disaster grants and the range of assistance measures available to help you through the recovery;
  • Assess if changes to profit margins, operating costs, payment terms or other business elements are required;

The federal and relevant state governments are offering small business “recovery grants” of up to $50,000 and “concessional loans” of up to $500,000. However, to be eligible, the business must have suffered direct damage from the bushfires. The process to apply for the grant is complicated and not always awarded to an affected business. After repairing the place of business and equipment, even with insurance cover and payout’s, there’s often little to invest in rebuilding and marketing the business.

Sustainable cash flow option to utilise

Businesses can free up their cash flow and get back to ‘business as usual’, using the payment gateway, UnLock. UnLock extends payment terms and enables small and medium sized businesses to boost their purchasing power with more working capital to grow.

UnLock’s ‘Buy Now Pay Later’ solution can transform business cash flow by allowing the business to match their cash flow out against the cash flow they receive. Buying an item, reselling it and then paying for that item is ideal as there is no shortfall of cash during the time while the stock is sitting on the floor or in transit.

UnLock connects small businesses and their suppliers and facilitates payment over time. By allowing a business owner to pay within a 90-day period and giving them sufficient time to sell the goods means they continually have positive cash flow.

In addition, UnLock gives the power to the business to negotiate discounts with their supplier. Businesses can dictate payment timeframes with their suppliers and negotiate a possible discount at that time. For businesses affected by the bushfires and under financial strain, UnLock can assist the business recover, rebuild and drive growth through cash-flow solutions.

For more information, email UnLock at or call 1300 257 387.