Weekly Digest – 11 August 2021

Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. Read on for the latest updates and some ideas to help us all move forward.

NSW Travel Bubble Could be Paused All Year

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has indicated travel with New South Wales could be closed for the rest of the year, unless the state manages to control the outbreak and return to zero COVID-19 community cases.

The NZ-Australia travel bubble was paused in July for two months after a surge in cases across multiple states, and is scheduled to be reassessed at the end of September.

Indonesia and Fiji have been added as “very high risk” countries this week, limiting travel from both countries to NZ.

Government to Issue Vaccine Passports

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says that the government will be issuing COVID-19 vaccine passports to allow New Zealanders to travel overseas. Earlier, Health Minister Chris Hipkins has said vaccine passports would be “almost an inevitability” within the next year.

Entry requirements vary from one country to another, some require health passes, proof of vaccination, and/or a negative test result.

NZ Plans Border Reopening Amid Labour Shortage

The government is due to unveil plans to reopen the country’s border this week amid pressure from businesses and public sectors facing a labour shortage that could fuel inflation. The dairy, horticulture, housing, services, health, and broader public sector are among the sectors that reported acute staff shortages.

On Thursday, the PM will outline the government’s six-month plan for public health and border control. We will keep you updated.

Biggest Quarterly Fall in Unemployment in 35 Years

Recent data from Statistics New Zealand revealed that in the three months to June 30, the unemployment rate fell to 4%, from 4.6% in March. The total number of people unemployed fell by 17,000 over the three month period, to 117,000– the largest percentage drop since the Department of Statistics started the household labour force survey in 1986.

COVID-19 Short-term Absence Payment

This is available for businesses, including self-employed people, to help pay employees who cannot work from home while they wait at home for a COVID-19 test result. This is a one-off payment of $350. You can find the details here.

COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme

The Leave Support Scheme is available for businesses, including self-employed people, to help pay their workers who can’t work from home and meet certain health criteria, eg they have COVID-19 or are a ‘close contact’ who has been told to self-isolate for 14 days.

The Leave Support Scheme is paid as a 2-week lump sum per eligible employee.

The Leave Support Scheme is paid at a flat rate of:

  • $585.80 a week for full-time workers who were working 20 hours or more a week
  • $350 a week for part-time workers who were working less than 20 hours a week.

Find out more about the Leave Support Scheme here.

Small Business Cashflow Scheme Extended Until 2023

The Small Business Cashflow (loan) Scheme has been extended until 31 December 2023.

Organisations and small to medium businesses, including sole traders and the self-employed, may be eligible for a one-off loan with a term of 5 years if they have been adversely affected by COVID-19.

The maximum amount loaned is $10,000 plus $1,800 per full-time-equivalent employee. The annual interest rate will be 3% beginning from the date of the loan being provided. Interest will not be charged if the loan is fully paid back within 2 years.

You can find out more here, or simply get in touch with us so we can provide our professional assistance.

Kiwi Business Boost Tool

The Government has funded specialist consultancy support services to provide advice to businesses who need it. You can use the Kiwi Business Boost Tool to find out what services are available in your region.

The Treasury website’s COVID-19 Economic Response Measures can also provide more information on the range of supports available to businesses.

Training Incentive Allowance to Support 16,000 Kiwis

The government is bringing back the Training Incentive Allowance to support 16,000 New Zealanders to retrain and gain higher skills. An investment of $127 million will be given over four years from the COVID-19 Recovery and Response Fund to reinstate this program.

5 Ways to Encourage Word of Mouth for Your Small Business

In a global study by Nielsen, 92% of people trust recommendations from family and friends, while 88% of people trust online customer reviews even if they’re from strangers. For many small businesses, word of mouth is the foundational layer of their marketing strategy. This Forbes article discusses different ways to encourage word of mouth from your customers.

  1. Nurture a relationship with your first customers.
    Nurture a personal relationship with your early adopters– this will make them feel much more invested in your products or services. If they feel their feedback and opinions are valued, they will be more likely to share their experience. Although you can’t personally talk to each customer as you grow, doing this will create the first wave of brand advocates.
  2. Establish a referral program to offer an incentive.
    A referral program can be the most effective way to convert happy but passive customers into active promoters.
  3. User-generated content.
    This is a powerful tactic as people are more likely to share something they personally created. For example, you could run contests rewarding customers who have the best pictures with your product.
  4. Encourage user reviews and be responsive.
    Encourage customers to leave reviews and actively engage in each one, especially during the early stages of your business. If there are criticisms, addressing them properly can also add credibility to your company.
  5. Use influencer marketing.
    People with a loyal following that has an overlap with your target market can help you grow your brand’s presence. Many small businesses won’t have a huge promotional budget, so micro-influencers may give you the most bang for your buck.

Always keep in mind that in order to successfully turn your customers into promoters, you need to deliver products and services that truly add value to people’s lives. If you’re looking for specific tips on how to grow your small business, book a consultation with our advisors today.

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