SMEs need to be alert in case of La Nina event

by Mike Wood18 Oct 2021

SME brokers should be informing their clients of their options as the Bureau of Meteorology predicts another summer of freak weather events.

OnDeck, one of Australia’s leading SME fintech lenders, is issuing advice to commercial brokers on how they can best react in the event of being negatively impacted by a natural disaster.

The weather authorities are forecasting a 70% chance of a La Nina effect in Australia this year, with cyclones, tornadoes and flooding more likely should that occur.

SMEs have been hugely affected by weather in recent years, with drought, bushfires and flooding all impacting on business.

OnDeck has been speaking to SMEs on the ground about their preparedness and ease of access to finance should the worst occur. National channel and partnerships manager Nick Reily told Australian Broker that SMEs had to know their options ahead of time.

“Our survey confirmed that seven out of ten (65%) small businesses have been impacted by extreme weather in the past,” he said.

“Anything from flooding to bushfires, with one in five (20%) saying the impact was ‘severe’. As a guide, the devastating bushfires of early 2020 impacted one in two (48%) small businesses.”

“Despite widespread concerns around extreme weather, fewer than half (49%) Australia’s small businesses are prepared for disruptive weather, according to the OnDeck research. This is an area where brokers can provide valuable support.”

How brokers can help their SME clients prepare for a La Nina event

“Many Australian small businesses are still recovering from extended lockdowns, and right now plenty will be focusing on the upcoming Christmas trading season.”

“While extreme weather normally takes us by surprise – this year we’ve had an alert from the BOM, and businesses are encouraged to have an action plan in place in case extreme weather strikes.”

“In particular, it’s important for brokers to speak to their small business clients to check if they have appropriate cashflow. Extreme weather can put a tremendous strain on cashflow especially if a business has to shut during the peak trading season.”

“Brokers can help their small business clients access cashflow rapidly in the event of an emergency. OnDeck’s Lightning Loans for instance can provide up to $100,000 in funding in as little as two hours.”