Facebook Live: today—Tuesday, April 14, I will be holding a Facebook Live at 1 pm EDT/10 am PDT to give you updates on funding issues, answer questions, and importantly—discuss how to ensure your business’s survival. PLEASE JOIN ME.
And if someone forwarded you this newsletter, you should sign up here.
SMALL BUSINESS/SELF-EMPLOYED SURVIVAL TECHNIQUES
Yes, the future is uncertain. But your future was uncertain when you started your business, right? So now is the time to take charge of your future—to the extent you can—and start PLANNING and ACTING to save your business, your income, and your dreams.
I’ve seen small businesses survive and thrive through a number of recessions and business cycles, and I can share what you can do now and what you will need to do in the coming months. I want to hear your challenges, concerns, and ideas. Let’s pull through this together.
TODAY’S KEY TECHNIQUE: CONNECT WITH CUSTOMERS NOW
Here are the two most important things for you to remember as you go through the next few months—the next year:
- If you had a product or service that customers wanted before the shutdown, they will want it again.
- Some competitors will close or lose energy; their customers are looking for new options.
Yes, I know you’re in survival mode right now—but your long-term survival depends on having customers. So let’s start reaching out now, if you haven’t already—and keep staying in touch.
Methods for connecting right now:
- Email. It’s easy. It’s cheap. Now is the time to write a simple email to ALL of your best customers. It should not necessarily be a sales email—just a “how are you doing through all this” email. This lets them know you value them and that you are still around.
- Your social media channels. If customers connected with you through social media, step up your visibility through those channels.
- Give them a way to support you. Whether it’s offering a gift card option with bonuses (“Get $125 gift card for only $100) or the ability to pre-pay for services later or a fund for your employees, you need to tell customers who love your business how they can help (they won’t know on their own).
- Provide something of value to customers. Your customers are going through a rough time too. What can you do to help? Perhaps it’s a YouTube video sharing your expertise for free, or emails with advice (recipes if yours is a restaurant?). Think how you fit into their lives and find a way to help them.
- Texts or phone calls. If you typically communicate with your customers through texts or calls, you can reach out this way now too.
Remember your paper trail & future funds
I am starting to hear from more of you that you are receiving paperwork—and even funds—for your PPP “forgiveable loan.” So, in my next update, I’ll discuss the importance of creating a PAPER TRAIL to show you’ve used the funds properly and you can get the PPP loan forgiven.
Remember sole proprietors, self-employed are eligible!
I’m still getting questions from the self-employed wondering whether they are eligible for PPP loans—especially from those who only have “personal” not “business” bank accounts—since some banks appear to only allow those with business accounts to apply.
SOLE PROPRIETORS—EVEN THOSE WITH ONLY PERSONAL ACCOUNTS—ARE STILL ELIGIBLE.
You may just have to do some shopping online for a bank that will accept applications from non-customers.
EIDL “GRANT” CLARIFICATION
The SBA clarified the terms of the $10,000 grants available to those small businesses applying for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, and it’s not good news for the smallest businesses. Here’s what the SBA says: “the amount of your Advance will be determined by the number of your pre-disaster (i.e., as of January 31, 2020) employees. The Advance will provide $1,000 per employee up to a maximum of $10,000.”
MORE FUNDS COMING FROM CONGRESS?
As of this writing, there’s a struggle between Republicans and Democrats over adding more money to the “small business stimulus” package. Republicans want to quickly add additional funds—about $250 billion. Democrats want to ensure that half those funds end up with the smallest businesses through community banks (right now, hotel/restaurant chains with fewer than 500 employees in any one location can eat up the money) and also ensure that there is funding for hospitals and health care workers.
A few other proposals have been floated to help small businesses:
Democratic Congressperson Pramila Jayapal: GRANTS of 100% of payroll for next three months, up to equivalent of $100k on an annualized salary, with automatic rollover if shutdown lasts more than three months.
Republican Senator Josh Hawley: GRANTS of 80% of every single wage at any US business, up to the national median wage, and provide bonuses for hiring laid-off workers back.
Democratic Senator Doug Jones: LOANS in the form of interest-free loans for 75% of payroll costs for next 3 months, no more than $5,000 to any single employee, and five years to pay back.
I will discuss all this further during my Facebook Live session today—Tuesday, April 14 at 1pm EDT/10am PDT—and future Facebook Live sessions. Go here to join or to watch later. Learn more in future daily updates as well. Sign up at here if you are not already on my mailing list.
Stay well. Stay home. Stay in business.
Copyright Rhonda Abrams, 2020