NEWCASTLE Business Centre is rolling out a webcast series to help small companies cope with the increasing disruption of coronavirus.
"It is a practical response from us because there is so much noise around COVID-19 and trolling and we are about staying in our lane; this is a disruption but disruption is the new normal," the Centre's chief executive officer, Steve Wait, said.
"This is clearly a phenomenal event, a once in a 100 year event, but the bushfires, recent floods - they are all one in 100 events, we have had a cluster."
Mr Wait said the Centre wanted to address fundamental issues for SMEs at this time to help them manage the risk in their business.
There are five webcasts and the first, on risk management around staff, is presented by Michelle Dawson, principal lawyer at DWF.
Episode one topics include what leave staff can legally take, the legal rights around employers standing down staff and what processes employers need to follow in accordance with WHS requirements.
"This first webcast is vital because obviously people are key to operations and we want people to understand as employers what they can or can't do, no-one wants to put anyone off but at same time it's important employers know their rights and responsibilities," said Mr Wait.
The first webcast is available at the Centre's website and the next four episodes cover four areas: Financial risk (webcast live at 10am Tuesday, March 24); Operational Risk (10am Thursday, March 26); Market Risk (10am Tuesday, March 31) and Reputational Risk (10am Thursday, April 2).
Mr Wait said his discussions with the small business community revealed the biggest concern was a sharp or complete loss of income.
"Major retailers are killing it but smaller retailers are not doing well because of the flow on effect of venues being closed," he said. "People are at risk of losing their labour force so the government has to stay in the game for them to retain their staff."
Mr Wait said the Centre, like other SMEs, was accelerating its online platforms to support the new way of working.