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Pets & Pandemic – Tips To Plan In Advance

Pets & Pandemic – Tips To Plan In Advance

If you have been reading the coronavirus news and going through the Facebook timeline, you have been a sufferer yourself. Whether it is about you, your family members, and especially your furry friend without whom you cannot live, this post is for you.

While the year has been a challenging one, this might be the rain-like way out you have been expecting for a long time. As a pet parent, you may think about specific ways to help your pals out. However, there are many things you need to keep in mind. The deadly virus that infiltrated our lives in early 2020 has been all about bad news and increasing numbers of deaths worldwide. But, with time, many things have alleviated, and scientists and researchers have laid down a foundation of solutions and tips that we need to incorporate into our diet and lifestyle. It goes the same with pets.

Pets and the Pandemic

It is understood to feel a little left out and confused about the entire scenario. The sound pieces of news are that the fatality rate and figures are about to go down, with more mild cases coming to light. As a result, even if you do not want to shake hands with your mailman right now, consider giving your dog a huge ol’ snuggle to comfort yourself for the entire week. To top it all, even government and health officials have said that the best anyone can do right now is to keep ourselves away from any sort of panic, practice social distancing, proper hygiene, and prepare beforehand.

Moreover, in the case of the novel coronavirus, one does not have to stock-pile everything. Instead, look for specific things. However, when it comes to pets and their essentials, you need to stock some items that may be pivotal for the pet. Having extras by your side while you are home quarantined can do wonders. Here is a list of what you need to buy for your pets with coronavirus looming large on the horizon.

Two-week supply of water and food

It’s ideal to have a minimum of one extra bag of pet food with you in case of any sort of emergency. But, when it comes to the pandemic, there are essential things to consider. Because of factories and businesses worldwide temporarily shutting down thanks to the pandemic, it has gotten tedious to shop for pets as there aren’t many supplies for them. In addition, what you can do is avoid long queues at stores around you. Instead, order online.

Moreover, you must have enough water to feed your pet for a minimum of a couple of weeks. So, consider your furry pal’s water intake and estimate the correct numbers to stock up.

Medication

If your pup has specific medications, it would be ideal to have a two to three-month supply. You can have a word with your vet regarding the pet’s prescription that can be filled in advance. In case you are already limiting your hours with your pet in public, consider ordering it online with pet supplies from an online store that deals in various things at once.

Besides, you can also write down instructions for the pet’s medication and give your veterinarian’s contact if you plan on moving or leaving your pet with a relative or friend. Remember, a big heads-on is to keep the pet’s medical history and vaccination record in his kit. That not only gives the pet’s history but also allows another member of the family to take note if the pup is corona-free or not.

Relief Items

Several other non-food items that may have got affected due to the overall shutdown and slow production rate comprise fresh litter in case you own a cat, urine cleaner, and poop bags. Buy some extras to place in their emergency kits and have them with you while the stores run out. Such a method will be pretty effective if you and your little furry pal have been away from the hustle-bustle of the market.

Toys and Entertainment

Kittens Playing

Image Credits

Speaking of getting stuck indoors, your pal might go into isolation and be deprived of outdoor activities. Besides, community parks are also under total lockdown in some parts of the world, allowing pets to stay home. Activities are not only beneficial for your pet but also his health. Senior dogs tend to develop muscle pain and other tissue problems that hinder their movement. However, if you have such things in mind, you and your pal can look for other options as well. Buy fun toys for your dogs and cats to nib on and play around with. These toys will keep them stimulated and allow them to move around, keeping them active at all times.

Experts suggest that you go for toys that consist of fetch balls to make sure your furry pal is getting enough activities to keep him running and puzzles to indulge his mind.

Consider planning for pet care.

In the end, you need to create a specific plan for the pet if you tend to get sick or have to isolate yourself because of the infection. Have a conversation with your friends and family to know where your furry pals can stay. They might be your friends and family but if you have run out of options because of isolation activities, look for pet onboarding and day-care facilities. You need to keep all these ready.

Final Words

We all know how much this phase of life has affected our pet’s lives. Do you know, pets can also suffer from depression? Yes, they do. And, such a reason can also contribute to this health issue. However, if you already know what to do, you are in for a treat. In conclusion, an additional treat for your pup-bud can be deep snuggles, an excellent Netflix queue, along with a profound breath. So, what do you think of this? Keep yourself updated and incorporate every way of easing out such situations.


Featured Image Credits: Pixabay

52 Hacking and Cybersecurity Statistics You Need to Know

52 Hacking and Cybersecurity Statistics You Need to Know

Cybersecurity issues are a looming threat to businesses. Recent trends suggest that malicious attacks are on the rise, with more breached data threats since COVID-19 than we’ve previously seen before.

Whilst it may seem obvious to put precautions in place to reduce the risk of cybersecurity attacks, surprisingly most companies have unprotected data within their workplace. On top of this, small businesses and individuals who have built their own websites often have little to no idea of the types of security measures that should be put in place to protect their website and their customer’s data.

In order to successfully fight against cybersecurity attacks, businesses must be aware of the latest trends in order to inject cybersecurity best practices into their everyday lives, protecting them, their staff, and their customers.

1. Coronavirus Cyberattack Statistics

  • Coronavirus has been blamed for the 238% rise in cybersecurity attacks on banks in 2020 (ZDNet)
  • 80% of businesses have seen an increase in cyberattacks following Coronavirus (RiskIQ)
  • 27% of all cybersecurity attacks are targeting banks or healthcare industries
  • The average ransomware payment has risen by 33% compared to Q4 2019
  • U.K. businesses saw a rise in attacks by 30% in Q1 2020 (Info Security)
  • In March 2020, ransomware attacks increased by 148% (E&T)
  • Cloud-based attacks have risen 600% since the end of February (RiskIQ)
  • 5% of Coronavirus-related domains have been deemed suspicious (RiskIQ)
  • Hacker website visits rose 66% in March 2020 (RiskIQ)

2. General Cybersecurity Statistics

  • Human error accounts for 22% of cybersecurity attacks (Duo)
  • 41% of customers said they wouldn’t buy from a business that was the victim of a ransomware attack (Metro)
  • 94% of cyberattacks start with an email (CSO Online)
  • 11% of online users have been a victim of data theft (Security Today)
  • 72% of data breaches target large businesses (FM Magazine)
  • 25% of cyberattacks involve phishing
  • Organized crime gangs account for 55% of attacks
  • 43% of data breaches are cloud-based web applications (Global News Wire)

3. Phishing and Email Attack Statistics

  • 94% of malware in 2019 was delivered by email (Verizon)
  • In 2018, phishing levels dropped from 1 in 2,995 emails in 2017 to 1 in 3,207 emails (Symantec)
  • 48% of malicious email attachments are Microsoft Office files (Symantec)
  • 56% of IT decision-makers say phishing attacks are their biggest security threat (CSO Online)
  • 62% of businesses in 2018 experienced phishing attacks (Cybint Solutions)
  • 32-33% of breaches included phishing (Verizon)

4. Industry Cybersecurity Statistics

  • 43% of breach victims were small businesses (Verizon)
  • 15% of breaches involved Healthcare organizations (Verizon)
  • The financial services industry incurs the highest cost from cybercrime with an average of $18.3 million per company (Accenture)

5. Privacy Statistics

  • 21% of online users have been a victim of account hacking (Security Today)
  • 61% of individuals who are active about their privacy are age 44 and under (CISCO)
  • 79% of people say they are very or somewhat concerned about how companies use their private data (Pew Research Center)
  • 12% of online users are a victim of stalking (Security Today)
  • 81% of people say they feel like they don’t have any control of the data companies collect (Pew Research Center)
  • 41% of children aged 8-17 have open public profiles (Security Today)
  • 6% of online users have reported being a victim of online scams (Security Today)
  • 72% of Americans feel that most of what they do online is being tracked (American Trends Panel)

6. Data Protection Statistics

  • Less than 40% of countries have put in place legislation to secure the protection of data and privacy (UN)
  • 59% of people say their organizations meet all GDPR requirements (CISCO)
  • 47% of organizations have updated their website cookie policies (Techbeacon)
  • 58% of European countries declared GDPR compliance as a top priority in comparison to the U.S. where just 11% selected it as number one (IAPP)
  • 35% of U.S. businesses said they wouldn’t be CCPA compliant by January 1, 2020 (eMarketer)
  • The biggest GDPR fine issued was to Google Inc. in France which was €50,000,000 (Privacy Affairs)

7. Cybersecurity Spending Statistics

  • Security services are expected to account for 50% of cybersecurity budgets in 2020 (Gartner)
  • The average cost of a data breach is $3.9 million (IBM)
  • The average cost in time of a malware attack is 50 days (Accenture)
  • By 2021 it’s estimated that damage relating to cybercrime will hit $6 trillion annually (Cybersecurity Ventures)
  • 50% of businesses with 10,000 or more employees are spending at least $1 million annually on security (CISCO)

8. Malware Statistics

  • 64% of organizations in 2018 experienced malware activity that spread from one employee to another, rising to 71% in 2019 (Mimecast)
  • 63% of organizations in the UAE have suffered from a ransomware attack (Mimecast)
  • 62% of cybersecurity professionals believe their organization’s cybersecurity team is understaffed (ISACA)
  • Since 2007, the number of malware websites has declined, however, phishing websites are on the rise (Google)
  • PayPal is one of the most commonly mimicked websites (Comparitech)
  • In China, 3% of scanned websites host malware (Google)
  • Malware variants are decreasing year-on-year (Sonic Wall)
  • Around 4,800 websites were compromised due to form jacking code each month in 2018 (Symantec)

9. WordPress Security Plugins

Whilst these statistics are quite haunting, there are steps you can take to protect your website from potential security threats.

If you’re unsure whether you need a WordPress security question, it’s worth remembering that the average website gets attacked 44 times every day. Although not all of these attacks will be successful, if one slips through the net, your business could be in serious jeopardy.

Here are some of my favorite WordPress security plugins to protect your website, your business, and your customers:

10. Wordfence

cybersecurity

Wordfence comes equipped with an endpoint firewall and malware scanner to protect WordPress websites. Endpoint firewalls provide better protection in comparison to cloud solutions, leveraging user identity in over 85% of firewall rules. In the last 30 days alone, Wordfence has blocked almost 4 billion attacks and 180,000+ malicious IPs have been blacklisted.

11. ManageWP

cybersecurity

ManageWP helps to automate your workflow by adding websites, passwords, etc. from one easy-to-use dashboard. You can add unlimited websites and 1-click update plugins, themes, and WP core updates. ManageWP will notify you if any of your plugins are vulnerable so you can update or deactivate them where appropriate.

12. Defender Pro

cybersecurity

Defender Pro performs regular security scans and vulnerability reports. It protects your website from hackers, brute force attacks, and malicious bots. You can try Defender Pro for free for 7 days and take your first steps to defend your WordPress website against cybersecurity attacks.

13. iThemes Security

iThemes Security offers over 30 ways in which you can protect your WordPress website from hacks and malicious attacks. iThemes has almost 1 million active installations, helping you to fix common problems and automated attacks through WordPress.

14. Jetpack

Jetpack is a must-have WordPress security plugin. It protects your website against brute force attacks, spam, and takes backups of your entire site. As well as offering protection against attacks, Jetpack comes loaded with performance-boosting tools to help your site run at the speed of light.

15. Change wp-admin login

The default login URL is /wp-admin which can easily be intercepted by hackers. Change wp-admin login changes the URL used to login to your WordPress website without altering or renaming files in the core directories.


The original article by David Morelo was published at webhostingprof.com


Featured Image Credits: Pixabay

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50 Big Tech Revealed in the Pandemic

50 Big Tech Revealed in the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge influence on the economies of many countries, so much so that the current financial score of many brands now wears a new look, significantly different from what it was in the last fiscal year. The stock market seems to be running on pins and needles, with trades and businesses no longer in full swing as they used to be.

While some brands hit a new low during this period, others have been at the tailwind of the robust stock market, hitting astronomical figures in profits. To determine how well or not businesses have adjusted to the whims and caprices of the coronavirus pandemic, we have organized a study based on some industrial and retail giants.

This case study, based on fifty (50) large companies that maintained a market capitalization of over USD $10 billion before the pandemic highlights what areas of the economy were most hit, and which of these industries managed to stay afloat regardless. It also discusses whether the current state of the economy is only temporary or whether brands should prepare for a new normal.

For the purpose of this study, it is assumed that these companies started feeling the influence of the coronavirus pandemic on January 30, 2020, when the World Health Organization (WHO) announced Covid-19 as a global health emergency.

The Rise and Fall of Global Business Empires

A temporary phase? Yes? No? Whatever the case, it is difficult to ignore the fact that the modifications major commercial players are making on their business models are going to affect the world economy significantly.

Worthy of note is that most of the companies that have prospered during the pandemic have American and Chinese roots. Coincidentally, many big players in the US are also bearing the brunt of the pandemic, recording meager profits; and some of them, even losses.

Companies thriving during the covid-19 pandemic

 

In what is turning out to be a dismal year for many, certain technological giants have somehow flourished, plausibly due to the types of services and products they provide.

Even with governments imposing lockdown measures and ordering citizens to stay indoors, companies like Apple, Amazon, Facebook, PayPal, T-Mobile, and Alibaba have still managed to pull through the pandemic with ease, registering significant growth in the process, with the potential to maintain their high capitalization values even past the crisis.

According to the study, Zoom Video Communications Inc has enjoyed the largest increase in market capitalization, more than twice that of Tesla in second place. Interestingly, this number is still on the rise.

However, it remains to be seen if this trend will continue or there is a potential dip in market capitalization percentage lurking around for Zoom.[1] Eric Yuan, the CEO and founder of Zoom, has been touted as one of the best business leaders during the pandemic.

Tesla INC also received a major boost in market capitalization. A major contribution to the sudden spike was an announcement about a stock split made on August 11, 2020. Since doubling the number of shares doesn’t necessarily translate to an increase in earnings, the evolution for the next period is uncertain.

NVIDIA Corporation, Pinduoduo INC, Shopify, Meituan Dianping, and DocuSign Inc, as well as the United Parcel Service, all had a decent increase in market capitalization, and are likely to keep that score steady for a longer-term compared to others on the list.

Online shopping and deliveries became essential during the lockdown, but it remains to be seen whether people will choose to do a significant part of their shopping this way in the post-pandemic period, or simply hurry back to brick-and-mortar stores as soon as the situation allows.

Another category of companies are those without any significant rise in market capitalization, but with the potential to maintain steady numbers or grow steadily considering their well-established market presence and strong consumer base. Among them are Tencent, Netflix, Adobe Inc, Thermo Fisher, Target, Costco Wholesale Corporation, Lululemon, Qualcomm, RingCentral Inc.

As for businesses like Abbvie INC and Danaher, the public response would become a huge factor in whether the rising trajectory will continue or dip in the near future. At this point, it is hard to tell which would be the case.

Big Companies hit hard by the covid-19 pandemic

 

Taking a look at percentage drops, it’s not so difficult to spot Occidental Petroleum Corporation with the biggest slump in market capitalization, a whopping 74% drop. The oil-producing giant is struggling to move forward, after repeatedly slashing its budget to avoid accumulating massive debts it could potentially incur due to the oil price crisis.

The Boeing Company is not left out either, placed only a few points shy off Occidental Petroleum Corporation. Between the efforts to bring back the Boeing 737 Max and the headache in solving the manufacturing issues of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner against a gloomy backdrop in the whole airliner industry this year, it’s hard to say what 2021 will bring for this aerospace and defense giant.

Exxon Mobil Corporation is also on the other end of the spectrum, showing a significant drop in market capitalization by USD. In retrospect, it’s not the company’s first severe hit, and the fact that it’s managed to bounce back indicates its resilience to possibly rebound once the current climate starts to clear away.

Numerous industrial and retail giants suffered huge drops of around 30-50% in market capitalization during the coronavirus crisis. Big corporations like EOG Resources, Wells Fargo & Co, Royal Dutch Shell (in the Netherlands), B.P. p.l.c. (in the U.K.), United Airlines Holdings Inc, American Airlines Group, Delta Air Lines, Kinder Morgan have declined by between 40 and 50%.

Others like Citigroup, Wynn Resorts, Equity Residential, Host Hotels & Resorts, Raytheon Technologies Corporation, Marriott International, Inc., Chevron Corporation, and MGM Resorts all saw a dip in their market capitalization by about 30 and 40 percent.

How A Shift in Consumer Habits Plunged Some Brands Into The Doldrums

The coronavirus pandemic was not only a health crisis but a black swan event that exposed the vulnerabilities of many companies and industries. Most of these companies were unable to cope with the shift in consumer habits, and not even clutch decisions by their management could save their faces. In one clean sweep, these industries lost a large fraction of their customers because they were unable to cater to the new needs of their customers.

This shift in consumer habits no doubt dealt a huge blow to some industries while ordering others to the forefront of things. The response of these businesses to the change in consumer habits is what separates those that flourished in this period from those who were hit hard by the crisis.

The tables below are a pictorial representation of how the response to a change in consumer habits split these fifty successful commercial giants into two halves. One half represents those who adjusted their markets to accommodate the new demands and are hence ahead of the curve while the other highlights brands who couldn’t get a favorable market share because of the change in demand.

Commercial giants thriving in Covid-19

 

Commercial giants hit hard by covid-19

From the tables, we can deduce that:

  • Companies in the consumer cyclical and tech industries saw the most increase in market capitalization.
  • Most of the companies in the oil and gas industry saw a sharp drop in their market capitalization
  • Occidental Petroleum Corporation was the biggest loser (74%) in danger of collapsing at this rate.

Connecting with the change in consumer habits

The coronavirus crisis made a lot of companies reevaluate their business models. As the tables show, those who couldn’t connect with this change in consumer habits are those on the red side of the spectrum while the greener half of the table houses either companies that this shift in demand favored or those that diversified to accommodate the needs of the consumers.

Were some companies naturally favored by this shift in demand?

Yes, Some companies were naturally favored by this shift in consumer habits. Prime examples are Netflix and PayPal. Since these brands are internet-based, movement restrictions and border closures couldn’t affect their revenue or market capitalization negatively.

Since most workflows were restricted to online communications, companies that promoted online classes and video communications were bound to do well. Zoom, in particular, took the opportunity by the scruff of its neck and established itself as the best video communications software to be used for collaboration by work teams.

This was also the case for RingCentral. Their online meeting tool helped fill the blanks for work teams who worked remotely. For many was a more practical medium for transmitting urgent messages to other members of a project team.

The market capitalization of software companies like DocuSign and Adobe was also on the rise for the same reasons as RingCentral and Zoom. Using these platforms, members of a work team can collaborate better, sign documents online, and fax these documents to other signatories.

There were also significant jumps in market capitalization for medical suppliers, drug manufacturers, and research companies, boosted by funds from governments who are going all out in search of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Companies that failed to accommodate these changes in consumer habits

Some companies in the oil and gas industry as well as the traveling sector could hardly survive the crisis because of the kinds of products they produce. They also couldn’t modify their modus operandi to accommodate systems that can help bolster their revenue.

Revenues in the oil and gas industry were downed by a significant change owing to a reduction in production and the current oil price crisis. Oil companies like Occidental Petroleum Corporation were the biggest victims. The oil giant is now wallowing so deep in the mud that they can potentially crash soon.

Traveling and accommodation services also suffered a huge hit. Airlines like The Boeing Company and American Airlines Group and hotel owners like Marriott International, Inc., were not spared either because of the sudden drop in demand.

Could diversification have helped these companies?

There are a few companies like Amazon that could have been held back by border restrictions but had diversified into other niches, making it easy to score a higher market capitalization value even in the face of the crisis. The e-commerce titan had earlier delved into hardware, payments, media, and data storage, and was, therefore, in the right conditions to flourish even when COVID-19 came knocking.

Amazon Prime video did pretty fine, rivaling Netflix for sales. The commerce sector of the brand didn’t do badly either as the company focused on shipping essentials and groceries. This however came at a cost. The e-commerce giant championed by Jeff Bezos added 175,000 new employees to its existing workforce to handle demand in the period.

The Biggest Growths In Value During The Coronavirus Crisis

For a few major companies, the current context has proven extremely beneficial, and they registered a significant profit. Here are the Top 5 Highest Expansions in Market Capitalization in 2020:

Fastest growing tech giants during covid-19

Of all the fast-growing companies during the COVID pandemic, Zoom Video Communications Inc made the most impressive progress. Offering a video communication platform, it provided exactly what people needed during this troubled period: a medium for face-to-face communication and organizing meetings for people from different locations in a single video meeting.

Founded in 2011 by Eric S. Yuan with the headquarters at San Jose, CA, the company found the path to success by focusing on the cloud architecture and using a highly efficient marketing strategy focused on what the market demanded. All of these paired with strong and efficient customer support helped Zoom top the chart.[2]

Tesla is another winner – in terms of market capitalization – during the Covid-19 pandemic. However, theirs is a peculiar situation as earlier highlighted. The decision to approve a five-for-one split in the soaring stock this year contributed to the sudden rise in market cap.[3] Still, Tesla will go into the record books as the auto manufacturer with the highest market value, despite being well behind its competitors when it comes to sales figures.

DocuSign Inc is in third place with an increase in market cap of 169%. In this case, the rise is justified since the company offers services that have become crucial for the business world during the pandemic. Electronically signing documents and handling business deals online is the new trend, but it’s not just companies that benefit from these services. Individuals also need to store information and sign documents online safely. Founded in 2003, DocuSign is one of the companies that may maintain steady growth in the following period.[4]

Pinduoduo INC is no doubt one of the world’s biggest commercial brands. Their market capitalization during the Covid-19 crisis is well justified given their area, experience, and customer loyalty. The e-commerce platform not only offers competitive prices but also has a group buys policy, making their prices hard to beat. Like David Liu, the vice president of strategy said in an interview[5], ‘e-commerce actually played a big part in supporting and stabilizing’ people’s lives.

Meituan Dianping is another major shopping platform in China, focusing on locally found products and services. They have been on the market since 2010, and are on the mission to become the untouchables in service delivery just like Amazon is with products. Customers who use their apps and websites, depending on the services they need get deals and vouchers. [6] Number five on our list, Meituan Dianping, is also doing quite well, meeting and surpassing their financial projections.

Post-Pandemic Previsions – How Will the Market Change?

Making projections and developing programs and models to help the economy bounce back is no doubt going to be a tall order for governments and companies worldwide. It is still difficult to see which way the market will go when the crisis is over. As far as authorities are concerned, the main lesson learned is that there is a need to strengthen the sectors that were exposed as frail by the coronavirus pandemic.

As for the 50 major players that we included in this study, it is still difficult to predict what their situation on the market will be in the post-pandemic world. We would probably see some of the companies now recording huge profits start a slowly descending curve once things begin to settle down.

Some spikes in market caps we have seen are impossible to maintain, but that doesn’t necessarily mean there will be a sudden drop in those figures as well. Some of these giants are building up new loyal clientele during this challenging time, and are likely to maintain a good position on the market in the future.

As far as the industrial and commercial giants are concerned, their future may be determined by the strength and resources they have to help them scale through the crisis unscathed. For the most part, the big drops in market capitalization are related to the sudden decrease in market demand. If that be the case, these companies are likely to bounce back once the lockdown restrictions are lifted. But for those that are currently facing severe drops, it’s already a matter of survival.

The Covid-19 pandemic has surely created a shift in the way customers see certain services. People and companies have discovered that many operations can be conducted online, and they may want to restructure their activity even after things come back to normal. The progression into a new normal may reflect on the economy and we are poised to see a corresponding adjustment in market capitalizations.

Reference:

  1. “Zoom rides pandemic to another quarter of explosive growth.” Liedtke, Michael CBC Sep 01, 2020
  2. “Mercury Systems, Zoom And DocuSign CEOs Are Among The Highest-Rated Business Leaders During The Covid-19 Crisis.” Stoller, Kristin Forbes Sep 16, 2020
  3. “Tesla Announces 5-for-1 Stock Split.” Tesla Announces 5-for-1 Stock Split. The New York Times. Aug 11, 2020
  4. “DocuSign (DOCU).” DocuSign (DOCU). Forbes. Retrieved Sep 22, 2020
  5. “Pinduoduo Inc.” Bloomberg. Retrieved Sep 22, 2020
  6. “Meituan-Dianping” Wikipedia. Retrieved Sep 22, 2020

The original article was originally published at cocosign.com


Featured Image Credits: Pixabay

How to Run a Successful Delivery Company During COVID-19

How to Run a Successful Delivery Company During COVID-19

The COVID-19 outbreak has completely changed the way we live, the way we do business, and the way our economy functions as a whole. Many states are still in lockdown. More people are being asked to work from home. Video conferencing and Zoom have replaced face-to-face interactions.

And with so many people being asked or choosing to spend the majority of their time at home, it’s been an especially difficult time for many small businesses.

But there’s one business model that’s booming in the midst of the coronavirus crisis—and that’s home delivery.

More consumers than ever are turning to delivery services to get the products they need (for example, downloads of the grocery delivery app Instacart increased a whopping 218 percent from February, before the pandemic really hit in the US, to March, when staying at home orders started to roll out across the United States). So, if you want to continue to drive sales, you should definitely consider pivoting your operations and moving towards a delivery model to better serve your customers.

But how, exactly, do you do that? Let’s take a deep dive into how business owners can run a successful delivery company during the COVID-19 crisis (and continue to drive sales and revenue as we navigate  the new normal):

Figure out how to pivot your business model to delivery

If delivery is uncharted territory for you and you’re offering delivery services for the first time, the first step to running a successful delivery company? Figure out how to pivot your current business model to delivery.

How to successfully pivot to delivery is going to depend on your business, your customers, and your bandwidth, but some questions you’ll want to keep in mind when figuring out your delivery strategy include:

  • How will we deliver to our customers? Are we planning to partner with a third-party delivery service or are we going to handle deliveries in house?
  • Are we going to be delivering our full product offerings or selected products? So, for example, if you’re a restaurant, are you going to be offering your full menu for food delivery or a limited menu of delivery-only items? Or, if you run a chain of grocery stores, are you going to list every item in your store for delivery or are you going to focus your delivery service on surplus inventory?
  • What additional support do we need to pivot to delivery services (for example, additional staff, delivery bikes or vehicles, packaging, etc.)
  • What kind of opportunity does delivery add to my business? For example, if the majority of your customers are within a five-mile radius of your business, there would be a lot of financial opportunity in delivery services—but if your customers are spread throughout the state, building an e-commerce website and shipping your products might make more sense.

Handle the logistics

Once you’ve figured out how to pivot towards delivery, it’s time to tackle the logistics of adding delivery services to your business.

While every business will have different logistical issues, some of the logistical tasks you’ll definitely want to tackle before launching delivery services include:

  • Figure out your costs. Your delivery business isn’t going to be sustainable if you’re spending more money to deliver your products to your customers than you’re making on each sale; you need positive cash flow to make it work. Look at all the costs associated with making deliveries (including gas and labor) to determine the minimum order amount and maximum delivery area that makes sense for your business. So, for example, you might deliver within a 5-mile radius for orders over $15—and any orders below $15 or outside of your delivery area would only be eligible for pick-up/take-out.
  • Adjust your inventory and supply chain management as necessary. When you move your business from an in-person to a delivery model, you might need to adjust your inventory and supply chain management to support your new business needs. So, for example, if you run a clothing boutique, you’re not going to need as many in-store display items (like hangers or racks)—but you are going to need more boxes and bags to package your deliveries—or if you’re a restaurant and you’re shifting towards a limited delivery menu, you’re going to need to adjust your ingredient ordering to support your new dishes.
  • Figure out staffing. Just like your supply needs may change when you pivot to delivery, so might your staffing needs. As you’re moving towards a delivery model, look at your current staffing and scheduling and determine how you’ll need to adjust to support your delivery services (for example, hiring delivery drivers or scheduling more staff to fill delivery orders during busy shifts).
  • Look into additional insurance needs. If you’re going to be handling deliveries in-house and transportation wasn’t a part of your prior business model, you may need to get additional insurance coverage to cover yourself and your business in the case of an accident or injury. Talk to your insurance company to see which option is the best fit for your business.

Develop a system for managing delivery orders

When it comes to deliveries, there are a lot of moving parts; you need to keep track of your orders, collect a payment, assign orders to delivery drivers, and make sure that each order is making it to your customer quickly, efficiently, and with each item, they ordered and paid for. Without a clear system in place for managing your delivery orders, things can quickly devolve into chaos.

Which is why you need a system in place from the get-go. Before you launch your delivery services, you need a clear plan in place for:

  • How customers submit orders (for example, will you be taking phone orders or should customers place delivery orders for your website?)
  • How customers submit payment
  • How orders are fulfilled (for example, who is in charge of fulfilling orders as they come in? How long are you estimating it will take to fill orders?)
  • How to assign delivery times
  • How to check orders are accurate before they’re sent out for delivery
  • How to assign orders for delivery drivers
  • How to confirm orders are delivered and received by the customer

Once you’ve developed your delivery system, it’s important to make sure you implement any necessary technology (for example, secure payment processing or an order processing system) and train your staff. That way, when you launch your delivery service, everyone knows exactly how to take, fulfill, and deliver orders to your customers.

Spread the word about your delivery services

You can’t run a successful delivery company if no one knows you’re offering delivery services. So, one of the most important aspects of launching delivery? Getting the word out.

If you want your delivery services to take off, you need to let people know that you’re offering delivery. If you’ve been closed, email your customers to let them know you’re reopening as a delivery service. Share discount codes on your social media profiles to encourage your customers to order delivery. Look for creative ways to generate buzz around your new delivery services, like partnering with other small business owners to deliver local product packages or offering free delivery for frontline healthcare workers.

The point is, a clear marketing strategy is a key part of building any successful business—and if you want your delivery service to succeed, you need to spread the word to as many customers as possible.

Covid-19 Delivery Service

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Implement safety measures for your customers and delivery staff

The well-being of your customers and delivery personnel needs to be the top priority when you’re delivering in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic—and that means taking the necessary safety precautions to protect them.

Make sure your team is practicing social distancing and taking proper sanitation measures when fulfilling delivery orders. Provide face masks, hand sanitizer, and gloves to your entire delivery staff. Offer contactless delivery options to minimize exposure between delivery personnel and customers.

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, you can’t be too safe, so make sure you’re taking any safety precautions recommended by the CDC and World Health Organization and are doing everything necessary to protect yourself, your staff, and your customers.

Deliver your way to a more sustainable business

There’s no denying that small businesses have been hit hard by COVID-19. But by adding delivery services to your current business model, you can build a more sustainable business to carry you through these uncertain times—and emerge stronger on the other side.


The original article by Deanna deBara was originally published at hourly.io


Featured Image Credits: Pixabay

COVID-19: Employees Layoffs and Terminations in California

COVID-19: Employees Layoffs and Terminations in California

The coronavirus pandemic is creating unprecedented challenges, both for public health and the economy—and those challenges are causing many businesses to lay off their employees and shutter their doors, at least for the time being.

If your business is having to lay off employees, the process can feel overwhelming and confusing. Let’s take a look at some of the most common questions about how to navigate employee layoffs and terminations in California—and, more importantly, the answers you need to navigate layoffs during the coronavirus:

Q: What information do I need to get my employees to ensure they have what they need to file for unemployment benefits?

A: When your employees file unemployment insurance (UI) claim with the Employment Development Department, they’ll need the following information:

  • Your official company name (as it appears on their pay stub or W2)
  • Company contact information, including both mailing and physical addresses, direct supervisor’s name, and company phone number
  • Their last physical workday
  • Gross earnings in the last week they worked, beginning with Sunday and ending with their last day of work

If you want to make the process easier for your employees, you can provide this information at their termination meeting so they have it readily available when they apply for UI benefits. (You can access their earnings information through Hourly’s Payroll function and information on hire date on each employee’s individual W4.)

Q: How do I confirm my employee’s unemployment status with the Employment Development Department?

A: Once your employee files a UI claim, you’ll receive a Notice of Unemployment Insurance Claim Filed from the EDD through the mail. Unless you wish to dispute the claim, there’s nothing you need to do. If there is any incorrect information on your employee’s claim (for example, the time of termination), you’re required to return the form with the correct information within 10 days of receipt.

Q: Is it even legal for me to lay off all of my employees—especially suddenly and without warning?

A: Under normal circumstances, the California WARN Act requires employers to give employees and state and local representatives 60 days notice before moving forward with mass layoffs.

However, we’re not operating under normal circumstances—and many businesses are having to close their doors immediately, both to protect their employees’ safety and to comply with the current statewide shelter in place order.

In response, Governor Newsom has issued Executive Order N-31-20, which temporarily suspends the WARN Act’s 60-day notice requirement. There are still, however, a number of requirements employers have to meet in order to remain compliant with the WARN Act, including providing written notice to all affected employees, the EDD, the Local Workforce Development Board, and the chief elected official of each city and county government where the closure and/or layoffs are taking place. (For more on WARN Act requirements and what needs to be included in your written notice, visit the EDD’s COVID-19 WARN FAQ page.)

Q: When do I give my employees their last check—and what needs to be included?

A: The appropriate time to give your employee their final paycheck is at their termination meeting. Their final paycheck needs to include any outstanding money owed to the terminated employee, including any accrued PTO.

To process and print a termination check through Hourly, follow these steps:

  • Choose “Payroll” in the navigation bar;
  • Choose the employee you are terminating;
  • Ensure the direct deposit option is off;
  • Confirm all hours worked during the week are entered into the timesheet;
  • Navigate to “Manual Timesheet” and add any accrued PTO hours and/or sick pay;
  • Return to the Payroll screen;
  • Select the terminated employee;
  • Click “Pay” in the upper right of the screen;
  • Choose the “Print at Home or Office” option;
  • Click “Run” at the bottom right of the screen;
  • Confirm Payroll Run

Once you go through these steps, the check will be sent straight to your email address on file—that way, all you have to do is print and you’re ready to go.

Need compatible checks for your printer? You can order them on Amazon

Q: With social distancing in full effect, how do I make sure my employees get their final paycheck in a timely manner?

A: Under normal circumstances, you would terminate your employee and give them their final paycheck in person. But the coronavirus—and accompanying social distancing—is changing the way we interact; in order to protect the safety of yourself and your employees, an in-person meeting might not be possible. You still, however, need to get them their final paychecks in a timely manner.

Unfortunately, this is a new situation—and, as such, there’s no clear answer as to how to handle the situation and what constitutes a “timely manner.” If you’re unclear, talk to your lawyer or call the EDD or the Labor Commissioner’s Office for additional guidance.

Q: What about insurance?

A: If you offer health, dental, vision, and/or medical reimbursement plans, you’ll need to provide terminated employees with a COBRA notice outlining their rights for continued coverage. You’ll also need to contact your insurance carrier and fill out any paperwork necessary to terminate the employee’s coverage.

Q: What other steps do I need to take when terminating an employee?

A: There are a few other housekeeping issues you’ll want to take care of when laying off employees, including:

  • Collecting any company property (cell phones, tools, company computers, etc.)
  • Terminating access to any sensitive company information
  • Canceling or removing access to any company accounts or credit cards

Q: Is there any support available to help employers prevent layoffs during the coronavirus pandemic?

A: There is. Both the federal government and the state of California are moving forward with initiatives to help employers during the coronavirus pandemic.

Rapid Response Team

If you’re considering large-scale layoffs or closing your business, Rapid Response Services may be able to help. Rapid Response is a business-focused program designed to assist companies facing potential layoffs and closures. If you need assistance, the Rapid Response team can meet with you to discuss your options—including ways to potentially avoid layoffs or closing your business—as well as provide transitional services to affected workers facing job losses.

Payroll tax extensions

If you’re experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19, the EDD is allowing businesses to request an up to 60-day extension to file state payroll taxes and/or deposit state payroll taxes without interest, penalties, or fines. In order to qualify, businesses need to request an extension in writing within 60 days of the original due date of the payment or return.

Q: What should I do if I have to slow down operations or cut down on employee hours? Do I have to lay off my team so they can apply for unemployment?

A: The state of California’s Unemployment Insurance (UI) Work Sharing Program is an alternative that may be able to help prevent layoffs in your business—while also making sure your employees are eligible for unemployment benefits while their hours are reduced or cut.

There are strict employer requirements for the Work Sharing Program, including restrictions on how much hours and wages can be reduced. For the full eligibility requirements and to apply for the Work Sharing Unemployment Insurance plan, visit the EDD’s website.

Q: How can I make sure terminating my California employees doesn’t result in legal action or a wrongful termination suit?

Clearly, the coronavirus is the reason behind the vast majority of layoffs at the moment. But regardless of the reason, in order to protect yourself, your business, and your employees, it’s important to make sure you follow California law, federal law, and applicable employment law (state or federal) when ending the employment relationship.

While California is an at-will employment state (which means California employers can end the employment relationship at any time, for any reason), there are certain exceptions. Moving forward with a layoff or a firing for any of the following reasons could result in an accusation of wrongful termination:

  • Discrimination, including based on gender identity, age, race, disability, citizenship status, national origin, medical status, sexual orientation, or religion;
  • Retaliation (for example, for filing a worker’s compensation claim, taking medical leave, or coming forward with sexual harassment allegations); or
  • Violation of Public Policy (for example, refusing to work in an unsafe or illegal work environment or refusing to partake in illegal activity as part of their job responsibilities)

If you have an employment contract in place with your employees, it’s also important to ensure that you comply with the terms of your contract during the termination process.


The original article by Deanna deBarai was originally published at Hourly.io


Featured Image Credits: Pixabay