These days it seems like chaos and mayhem are lurking around every corner and in every direction. Without a doubt, in this scary and very much unprecedented time, the word hardship is saturating our vocabulary. Small business owners are most certainly feeling the crunch, leaving many to ask the question “what am I going to do now?”. At The CoLab we can certainly relate, after all, social distancing is a straight-up contradiction to how we do business. Now we’re not going to pretend to have all of the answers, but we felt it was important to share with you how we’re positioning ourselves to win again.
#1 We’re Taking Advantage of Every Possible Resource
It is important that you understand all that is available to you. Contact your business advisers, accountants, bankers, lenders and fellow colleagues. On Friday, March 27, the Coranavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed. Within this 800+ page bill, here is what we recommend researching.
a) Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) & Emergency Economic Injury Grants
To learn about eligibility and how to apply visit https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/ or contact your local SBA office.
b) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
This loan can be used for: payroll costs; expenses related to continuation of group health care benefits during periods of paid sick, medical, or family leave, and insurance premiums; payments of interest on any mortgage obligation, rent and/or utilities; and interest on any other debt obligations that were incurred before covered period. To apply visit https://www.sba.gov/partners/lenders/7a-loan-program/types-7a-loans or https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/lender-match
If you are unable to leverage the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), you may want to ask your accountant or financial professional about the Employee Retention Credit (Section 2301) and/or the Delay of Payment of Employer Payroll taxes (Section 2302). Other provisions that may be helpful to your business is the adjustment of Net Operating Losses, which now allows for a 5-year carryback of net operating losses and Student Loans Paid by Employers, which provides for an exclusion of up to $5,250 from income for payments of an employee’s education loans.
#2 Ramp Up Productivity in the Downtime
If you’ve been guilty of putting off today for tomorrow, well tomorrow has arrived. There is no better time than the present to get those much needed yet put-to-the-side tasks completed. Develop those processes! Create those systems! Reevaluate expenses! Spend time with your team! And most importantly, take the time to strategize a recovery plan that positions you to come out winning! At The CoLab, we are going hard in social media, updating our website, and extending future discounts to win prospective members post COVID-19.
#3 Get Creative, Get Very Creative
Yes, your sales may lose momentum, but does your customer engagement have to as well? This is the BEST time to demonstrate your brand relevance to current and prospective clients. Be their asset! Let them know that you have their back and are right there with them to weather this storm. It doesn’t matter if you sell space, hot dogs, clothes, or squeegees. Behind every great brand is a strong human connection. Make your brand essence felt and get creative in how you stay connected with your customers. At The CoLab, we’re going live on April 16th at 7pm EST. Why? Because we want our members and fellow business owners to know we are still here for them and that collaboration doesn’t stop inside the four walls.
Tamika L Gambrell
THE COLAB STAFF
CoLab Voice Contributor