The bushfires on the South Coast have cancelled out the profits for a number of businesses, pushing some to the edge.
This is the troubling message from the Illawarra Business Chamber's Executive Director Adam Zarth, who had made a trip to firegrounds on the South Coast and Southern Highlands to find out the immediate pressures businesses face.
He said a "complete collapse in cashflow" is the most pressing concern for businesses in the wake of the bushfires.
Businesses played an important part in communities looking to rebuild, Mr Zarth said, but many were in a "very fragile" state at present.
"The majority of businesses across the affected areas are tourism-dependent and many rely on the summer period - so they are now coming to terms with an entire year's profit being written off following a bad year struggling through drought," Mr Zarth said.
Some of the businesses Mr Zarth spoke to reported no income at all during the normally busy summer period.
But while there was no cash coming in, money was going out the door whether due to servicing loans or having to pay staff to come into an empty shop.
"Staffing is a worry for many, given the seasonality of trade, with many paying staff despite barely trading, and others believing that they won't be able to attract workforce back to the region," he said.
Added to this was the cost hit from businesses donating goods to emergency services and others.
While this was a gesture of goodwill, "the cost incurred to businesses has been significant".
While Endeavour Energy crews worked hard to re-connect bushfire affected homes to power as quickly as possible, Mr Zarth said the lack of electricity led to EFTPOS being unavailable and food in store fridges spoiling.
Other concerns held by bushfire-affected businesses included whether they had sufficient insurance and the devastation those on farms have to deal with.
The Executive Director said assistance like the NSW government's $15,000 recovery grants and the Australian Tax Office's deferrals in lodgement and payment were certainly welcome.
However, concerns still remained regarding how long it would take other measures to take effect or for much-needed visitation to the area to resume.