Small Businesses make up the heart of the innovative and colourful community that is Melbourne’s Chapel Street Precinct, spanning the famous suburbs of South Yarra, Windsor and Prahran.

The Chapel Street Precinct Association (CSPA) represents over 2,200 business in the most iconic area in Melbourne, and they are fighting to save every business during this economic downturn and hopes to assist in arming owners and operators with the necessary ammunition so they can bounce back from this unprecedented crisis and show the world how it’s done.

Our key objective is all about making sure we have as many businesses as possible make it through to the other side of this pandemic.

*Shot peak COVID, please excuse the video quality. Thanks Telstra.

Jason Cunningham, well regarded in the industry for his no-nonsense approach to businesses and media commentating, shared the below 12 tips to help the businesses of Australia’s largest retail, dining, lifestyle and entertainment precinct to not only continue weathering the storm, but thrive as restrictions are lifted.

Jason is famously known for being a regular on Channel 10’s The Living Room and Triple M’s Rush Hour, and was previously on SEN1116’s The Run Home for many years.

Small Businesses are the lifeblood of the Australian economy, employing the best part of 50% of this country’s workforce and the economic impact of this pandemic has blindsided all of us,” said Jason Cunningham.

1. Make No Assumptions 
Don’t assume your staff or customers have access to reputable information, create your own summary of the facts and implications (guided by expert opinion) which anticipate solutions to problems that may arise.

You should update and share summaries regularly as things evolve, even dot points daily. Some immediate things to consider are policies relating to, remote work and supply chain stabilisation.

It’s good practice and we encourage all our Chapel Street Precinct businesses that in uncertain times for all businesses to reassure employees and consumers alike that plans are in place and any future responses to commercial challenges have been preempted rather than made on the run.

A good example of this is how Kettle Fit continues to stay up to date with safety precautions and easing of restrictions and regularly shares these updates with their staff and their community on their social media pages.

2. Pivot To Prevail    
Innovative by identifying other market openings or opportunities for different revenue streams.

A good example is the Prahran Market Home Delivery Online Marketplace. In a Victorian first Prahran Market launched its own online marketplace, Food Lover’s Direct, where you can order fresh produce from one centralised spot while watching Tiger King on your couch!

Another example is how Chaser’s Venue created and started selling Chaser’s branded hand-sanitiser and surgical masks. Feel safe from bacteria whilst partying in your own living room.

The Como Melbourne started offering their Superior Room with free Wifi for a day rate for when you needed to mix up your WFH space.

3. Be A Good Human
Empathy, confidence, like charity, should begin at home. It’s easy to feel powerless. Instead, help the most vulnerable.

Use your business and your communication channels to help spread the message about looking out for those who are most at-risk during this time. Now more than ever are we loving seeing our Chapel Street Precinct businesses coming together.

In a world plagued by this pandemic, if you can be anything, be kind! Kindness and consideration of others will make a big difference especially as we begin the recovery phase. Chapel Street will again be the jewel in Melbourne’s crown, and we will do this by supporting each other.

An awesome example of this was Little Tim Tam restaurant co-owner Tim Tam donning a bright pink wig and dancing in the street to cheer up other Chapel Street traders. They sold cheap meals every day and gave free meals to staff at other Chapel Street businesses.

4. Plan The Road Out
Different Chapel Street Precinct businesses will navigate the recovery phase in different ways, but a clear communication strategy is key to riding out, and perhaps even rising above, the coronavirus curveball.

Very few would have factored its impact into their business projections. We can all be forgiven for that, but we can’t be forgiven for not acting now to get our strategies in place.

The take-home advice is to keep communication channels open and plan the road out. It still may be uncertain, but at least act to put a fluid plan in place. A clear message will be equated to confidence in your business and, in uncertain times, that perception may just be the self-fulfilling prophecy that’s needed.

FREE PUBLICITY FOR TOURISM BUSINESSES

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The City of Stonnington has implemented a range of initiatives and programs to support businesses through the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. Visit stonnington.vic.gov.au/business for more information, including links to support and advice from other levels of government.

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