We must support local businesses through Coronavirus

Managing Partner pmwPlus, Ray Miller was featured in The Central Western Daily this week for his commentary on how to support the local Central West economy through COVID-19.

Click here to read the original article on The Central Western Daily online or see below.


Orange community urged to buy local to help businesses through coronavirus

Written by Tanya Marschke (of The Central Western Daily)


Ray Central Western Daily

Managing partner Ray Miller said while businesses were trying to innovate, the community could also help buy continuing to buy local. “There’s no question that times are tough for our local businesses,” Mr Miller said.


“Cash flow is particularly tight, particularly in retail and hospitality. At the same time they are having to reposition their business to see what opportunities they can create.” Mr Miller said one business he had come across had started a virtual cooking class using local produce. “The customers were going down to purchase the produce [from the business] to use in the cooking class,” he said.


Mr Miller said a lot of restaurants were also opening up to provide takeaway, and many others were opening online shops or increasing their already existing online business. He said there also needed to be a strong community push to keep money in the region so the businesses are still there when life returns to normal. “There’s plenty of things that people can do to ensure the money stays local,” Mr Miller said.


“One of the most important things for our local economy for now and in the future is that our community in Orange continues to buy locally. We’ve been good at that in the past, now more than ever we need to do that.


“Buy with the local retailer, book with the local travel agent, it all keeps the money in the local economy.”


Mr Miller said although many shopfronts are closed there are still many businesses that have employees working from home if it was an option. “Most businesses have made that move to work from home. It requires people to be adaptable to how they handle their daily job. he said. “It remains important that we remain productive as a business community to ensure we are as profitable as we can be in this period.”


Mr Miller said pmwPlus has been talking to all its business clients since the coronavirus pandemic began to affect them. He said while some businesses such as bicycle shops were doing well due to people wanting to buy bikes for exercise for most the focus was on neutralising their cash flow or even hibernating their business.


“Right now it’s about managing cash flow but moving forwards its about creating opportunities in the new environment,” Mr Miller said.


He said the biggest cash flow losses came from wages, rent, taxes and loan repayments but he urged businesses to be optimistic. “The majority of businesses will be receiving support from both the federal and state government and it has been very useful in helping with lower cash flow,” he said. “The banks have come on board to help the business in deferring a lot of their loan repayments to allow them to deal with the current cash flow issues which has been very helpful. “There’s been a significant reduction in sales at our local retailers.


“It’s important that employers and employees remain supported, some employees stood down [early on] have effectively been rehired by employers as part of the job keeper payment.”


Mr Miller said travel agents and tourism and event-based businesses were also hit hard by the virus outbreak. “There’s no reason why people can’t start working on their next trip overseas,” he said. “Why not use this time to your benefit.”


Mr Miller said not only is coronavirus forcing businesses to change now but he said many of those changes and innovations could continue into the future. “It may not be the same business post COVID-10. It’s going to be a new environment for some industries,” he said. “I think the Central West will fare well, here particularly with the strength of the mining sector.”