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 some 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

This article was originally published at cocosign.com


Featured Image Credits: Pixabay

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

Image Credits

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 from 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.


This article by Deanna deBara was originally published at hourly.io


Featured Image Credits: Pixabay

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 an 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 work day
  • 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
  • Cancelling 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 an 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.


This article by Deanna deBarai was originally published at Hourly.io


Featured Image Credits: Pixabay

Many groups, including federal and local governments and private banks and companies, have offered coronavirus assistance to small businesses. If you own a small business, these programs can help you receive grants and low-interest loans.

The coronavirus outbreak has turned everyday life on its head. People are staying indoors and practicing social distancing, aiming to reduce the spread of the disease. While these essential measures have helped keep people healthy and have saved lives, many businesses are facing the impact of enforced closures and reduced foot traffic.

More than half of Americans are worried about the economy and their individual retirement savings, and business owners are no different. Small businesses often have just a few weeks worth of operating costs saved, meaning even a short closure can doom a business.

The government and many lenders have offered assistance and other forms of relief to businesses. If you own a small business, there are options available to you to help keep the lights on and your business running.

In this guide:

How to get a Coronavirus Emergency Paycheck Protection Loan

One of the government’s programs for helping small businesses impacted by the coronavirus is the Coronavirus Emergency Paycheck Protection Loan Program. The goal of this assistance is to help small businesses keep their workers in their jobs and earning incomes.

What is an Emergency Paycheck Protection Loan?

Emergency Paycheck Protection Loans are loans offered by the Small Business Administration to businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The loans are meant to help business owners keep their employees on the payroll and pay their essential bills, like rent.

The loans come with a two-year term and an interest rate of 1%, making them incredibly inexpensive compared to most other types of loans. There is also the possibility of the SBA forgiving the balance of the loan, turning it into a grant for eligible businesses.

What are the eligibility requirements?

To apply for an Emergency Paycheck Protection Loan, your business must meet the following requirements:

  • Your business must have fewer than 500 employees. Exceptions for larger businesses in specific industries are available—for instance, businesses in foodservice and hospitality may be eligible if they have multiple locations, each with fewer than 500 employees.
  • Your business must have been impacted by the outbreak of the coronavirus.

Those are the only two requirements. Everything from a sole proprietorship to a medium-sized non-profit organization can apply for and receive a loan.

What are the requirements for the government to forgive the loan?

If you apply for and receive a loan, you won’t receive your first bill until six months from the date you receive the money. Again, the loans come with a two-year term and a 1% interest rate.

The Small Business Administration also offers the opportunity to have the loan forgiven. If this happens, you will not have to repay the loan at all. Instead, it becomes a grant provided by the SBA.

To qualify for loan forgiveness, your business must:

  • Use the funds only for payroll expenses, rent, utilities, and mortgage interest, with at least 75% of the funds going toward payroll expenses
  • Keep all employees on the business’s payroll for eight weeks after receiving the loan
  • Maintain wages similar to those comprising your business’s current payroll

A look at the Federal Small Business Stimulus Aid Programs for the Coronavirus

The Paycheck Protection Program isn’t the only government effort to help small businesses. The Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act includes many other opportunities for businesses and individuals affected by the coronavirus.

In addition to providing the small business benefits described earlier, the act also includes:

  • Funding for the Center for Disease Control, Food and Drug Administration, and other health-related organizations
  • The expansion of telehealth service options for those on Medicare
  • Funding for international efforts to combat the coronavirus

Other programs that can help

Small business owners can take advantage of other assistance programs that can keep their businesses going through the crisis.

Economic Injury Disaster Loans & Loan Advance

The loan advance program offers up to $10,000 to small business owners across the United States. The eligibility requirements are similar to those for Paycheck Protection Program loans. These loan advances don’t need to be repaid, and you can receive the money within days of applying.

After getting your advance, you can go through the full disaster loan process, borrowing up to $2 million from the SBA at a rate of 3.75% and at terms up to 30 years.

The SBA website has more information about both the Disaster Loan program and the Loan Advance program. Additionally, you can check out our guide on SBA disaster loans and FEMA assistance.

SBA Debt Relief

If your business borrowed or borrows money from the SBA, you might be eligible for SBA debt relief programs that can repay your loan balance or let you defer payments.

SBA Serviced Disaster Loans that were in regular service status before March 31st receive automatic deferments until December 31st, 2020. Interest will continue to accrue, but you don’t have to make payments. The SBA will pay the interest and principal for current and new 7(a), 504, and microloans for the next six months.

The SBA website has more information about its debt relief options.

SBA Express Bridge Loan

Small Business Administration bridge loans give companies that already work with SBA lenders quick access to up to $25,000 in loans. These bridge loans are intended for quick funding while owners apply for disaster loans.

SBA Express Bridge Loans let lenders offer guaranteed loans more quickly than usual, giving businesses needed emergency funds.

The SBA has more information about the Bridge Loan Program.

Local Assistance Programs

The Federal Government and Small Business Administration have many options for business owners in need of assistance, but many states have also started assistance programs. If you live in an area with state assistance programs, there’s no reason that you can’t take advantage of both forms of help.

For example, businesses in New York City, one of the hardest-hit areas, can apply for grants of up to $27,000 to cover part of their payroll costs.

Many private banks and even corporations such as Amazon and Facebook have come up with assistance programs. Check with your local government and banks to see if they’re offering any help and keep an eye out for other assistance programs that may become available.

Additional resources:


This article by TJ Porter was originally published at Lendedu.com

About the Author:

TJ Porter is a Boston-based freelance writer who specializes in credit, credit cards, and bank accounts. He graduated with a degree in business from Northeastern University and has been featured on Credit Karma, DollarSprout, and Bankrate.


Featured Image Credits: Pixabay

One of the best ways to keep you and your family healthy is by properly washing your hands. Despite being taught to wash our hands as children, many of us don’t know the proper techniques for washing our hands correctly, or how often we should be performing this important task. We’ll walk you through the proper steps as laid out by the leading health organizations around the globe such as the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization.

When should you wash your hands?

The major health organizations have a general list of activities that they recommend washing your hands before, during and after.

Wash your hands before:

  • Preparing and eating food
  • Treating a cut or wound
  • Caring for someone who is ill

Wash your hands during:

    • Food preparation

Wash your hands after:

  • Food preparation
  • Treating a cut or wound
  • Using the restroom
  • Changing a diaper
  • Cleaning a child who has used the restroom
  • Coming in contact with animals, animal food, or animal waste (pets included)
  • After coming in contact with garbage
  • Blowing your nose
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Caring for someone who is ill
Wash Your Hands

What are the proper hand washing steps?

To effectively kill germs and help prevent the spread of infectious disease, it’s important that you know how to properly wash your hands. Following these steps will help keep you and your loved ones healthy.

  • Get your hands wet using clean, running water. Turn off the tap and then apply your soap. The water can be any temperature, you don’t need to have hot water. Also, any soap will do, you don’t necessarily need antibacterial soap.
  • Work the soap into a lather by rubbing your hands together with the soap. Be sure to lather every part of your hands front and back as well as between your fingers and under your nails.
  • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. If you don’t have a watch or a clock available, this is roughly the amount of time it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice. You can use that to make sure you reach 20 seconds.
  • Rinse your hands using clean, running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or let them air dry.

To see proper hand washing technique in action, please watch this video from the CDC.

How long should you wash your hands?

It’s recommended that you wash your hands for 20 seconds once you’ve wet your hands and lathered them up.

How should you dry your hands?

While many people pay attention to how they wash their hands, it’s easy to ruin the process by drying your hands correctly. Having clean towels are critical to keeping your hands clean. Once you’ve rinsed your hands, be sure to use a clean towel or air dry them if a clean towel is not available.

Can I use hand sanitizer instead of washing my hands?

The CDC recommends the use of soap over hand sanitizer for getting rid of germs. This is because hand sanitizers aren’t as effective at getting rid of all types of germs, and they also don’t work as well removing certain chemicals and metals. Another issue with hand sanitizers is that they often don’t work well if your hands are greasy or caked with dirt or contaminants. That said, running water and soap aren’t always readily available. In these cases, they recommend using a hand sanitizer that has a minimum alcohol content of 60%. Any sanitizer you purchase should have the percentage listed on the label.

How to properly use hand sanitizer

Using hand sanitizer effectively is very similar to some of the steps for proper hand washing. These are the correct steps for using hand sanitizer:

  • Apply the sanitizer into one of your palms, using the amount recommended on the sanitizer’s label.
  • Rub your hands together as if you were using soap, covering all areas of your hands including between your fingers, the fronts and backs, and the fingernails.
  • Rub the sanitizer over your hands for 20 seconds or until the sanitizer has dried.

This article was originally published at CNA Classes

Featured Image Credits: Pixabay


You May Also Like: The Effects of COVID-19 on the World Economy

With coronavirus impacting many small businesses, many have been asking about what’s available in terms of self employed unemployment benefits and small business relief. As part of the Senate’s $2T coronavirus stimulus bill passed on March 25, 2020, unemployment benefits are being extended to all workers including freelancers, gig-economy workers, and other independent contractors. For small business owners, emergency grants of up to $10,000, a Paycheck Protection Program (100% federally guaranteed loans to small businesses), and a payroll tax credit to help retain employees are available.

CARES Act Aid Comparison Chart (PPP vs EIDL vs Unemployment for Self Employed) for Small Businesses

As we’ve heard how challenging it can be to fully understand what’s included in each CARES Act relief option that applies to small businesses, we put together a comparison chart summarizing PPP loan for self employed vs EIDL vs Unemployment for Self Employed Individuals and the differences between them. To view the chart below, click here.

Cares Act Loan Chart

CARES ACT Aid Comparison Chart for Small Businesses

Self Employed Unemployment

If you are unemployed, laid off, or a freelancer (sole-proprietor or single-member LLC) out of work, here’s what’s new:

  • Eligibility for unemployment insurance extended for all workers, not just full-time employees.
  • The federal government will provide an extra $600 per week for up to 4 months on top of your state’s current state unemployment benefits.
  • State unemployment benefits range from $200 to $550 per week on average and collected between 12 and 28 weeks.

For additional information, check out the FAQ below.

Is the coronavirus stimulus package finalized?

Yes. Both the Senate and House of Representatives have passed the plan and Donald Trump has signed the bill as of Friday, March 27.

Can you get unemployment if you are self employed?

Self-employed and part-time workers are not usually eligible for unemployment benefits. However, the new bill extends unemployment to self employed people and part-time workers. Self-employed people include gig workers, freelancers and independent contractors. Basically, those who cannot work due to coronavirus-related reasons would be more likely to qualify for benefits.

Who is eligible?

Under the new plan, you would be eligible if you meet any of the example conditions below:

  • You are self employed or part time and lost work due to a coronavirus reason
  • You received a COVID-19 diagnosis, are experiencing symptoms, seeking a diagnosis or caring for a member of your family/household who received a diagnosis AND you’re unemployed, partly unemployed or cannot work as a result
  • You rely on a facility, daycare or school to care for a child or other family member so you can work, and that facility has closed due to coronavirus
  • You must self-quarantine on the advice of a healthcare provider because of exposure to coronavirus
  • You are unable to get to work because of an imposed quarantine
  • You were about to start a new job but can’t get there now because of an outbreak
  • You were immediately laid off from a job and don’t have enough work history to qualify for benefits under normal conditions
  • You are unemployed, partly unemployed or unable to work because your employer shut down your workplace

Who is not included in the bill?

  • Workers who are able to work from home (Note: This seems to reference corporate workers and not self-employed or part-time workers who work from home.)
  • Those receiving paid sick leave or paid family leave
  • New entrants to the work force who cannot find jobs
  • People who quit (or want to quit) because they are afraid of being at greater risk of contracting coronavirus if they continue to work (However, if you had to quit because of a healthcare provider-recommended quarantine, or something similar, you would be eligible.)

How much would you get?

How much you get depends on which state you live in and would be calculated based on your previous income. Additionally, eligible workers would get an extra $600 per week from the federal government on top of their state’s weekly benefit.

So for example, the weekly benefit in California is a maximum of $450. With the additional $600 from the federal government, eligible Californians could receive self employed unemployment benefits up to $1050 each week. States can send the payment in two separate amounts or in one payment, but it must be paid weekly.

How long would benefits last?

This also varies by state. Most states provide benefits for 26 weeks, although some provide benefits for less. The new bill adds an additional 13 weeks for all eligible workers. 39 weeks is the maximum time eligible workers can receive benefits, but this may be less depending on the state.

The extra $600 payment would last for up to four months and cover weeks of unemployment ending July 31.

How long would the self employed unemployment program last?

The extended program would be open to workers who were newly eligible for unemployment benefits starting Jan. 27, 2020 through Dec. 31, 2020.

How do I apply?

Unemployment benefits will be administered by your state’s unemployment offices. To Apply, find your state here and click on the link to apply with your state’s office. Or for more information about filing for self employed unemployment benefits, check this unemployment benefits finder.

Please note: According to careeronestop.org, “States are in the process of implementing these new rules and may not have updated information immediately. If you are out of work or have had your hours reduced you should continue to follow your state’s guidelines for filing for unemployment. Many states are experiencing extensive traffic and ask filers to be patient and persistent.”

Coronavirus Stimulus Package

Coronavirus Stimulus Package Relief

If you are a small business owner, here’s what’s new:

  • Emergency grants of up to $10,000 as part of an Economic Injury Disaster Loan
  • Paycheck Protection Program (PPP loan for self employed individuals and small businesses)
  • A payroll tax credit to help retain employees

Economic Injury Disaster Loan (Includes emergency grant up to $10K)

Small businesses may apply directly to the federal Small Business Administration to receive an economic injury disaster loan that may include a grant of up to $10,000 that does not need to be paid back. The money would be paid out to business owners within three days of their application’s submission. It can be used to maintain payroll, cover paid sick leave and service other debt obligations.

Update as of 4/9/2020
The amount of the grant depends upon number of employees in your business. In an email received from the SBA on April 9, they say, “To ensure that the greatest number of applicants can receive assistance during this challenging time, 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.”

How to apply? 

Apply online here.

Coronavirus Stimulus package

Paycheck Protection Program Loans (PPP loan for self employed individuals and small businesses)

As part of the Senate bill, $350B is being designated for small business loans (an initiative known as the Paycheck Protection Program) that may be granted and partially forgiven if borrowers maintain their payroll during the crisis, restore it afterwards, or spend their loan money on rent for a leasing agreement or paying utilities, among other things.

Should I apply for PPP?

If you don’t know whether you should apply for PPP, please check the comparison chart of eligibility and benefits for PPP vs. Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) vs. Unemployment and the differences between these options.

Note that we believe you cannot apply for both unemployment and PPP. PPP is used to pay payroll, and if you’re on unemployment you’re saying you’re not on payroll (this would apply to both companies and sole proprietors). Because of this, you may want to calculate how much you would receive from Unemployment and compare that to how much you would receive (and that would be forgiven) in a PPP loan, and apply to the program that provides the greater benefit.

How to apply for PPP loan for self employed individuals and small business?

These new loans will be available through over 800 lending institutions approved by the Small Business Administration. Apply for the Paycheck Protection Loan directly through your local lending institution. Find participating lenders at http://www.sba.gov/.

Here’s the Paycheck Protection Program application provided by the U.S. Treasury.

When to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program?

Small businesses and sole proprietors can apply starting April 3. Independent contractors and self-employed individuals can apply starting April 10. Because there is a limit to how much aid is available, be sure to apply quickly.

Who is eligible?

You are eligible if you are one of the following:

  • An individual who operates as a sole proprietor
  • An individual who operates as an independent contractor
  • A small business with fewer than 500 employees
  • A small business that otherwise meets the SBA’s size standard
  • A 501(c)(3) with fewer than 500 employees
  • An individual who is self-employed who regularly carries on any trade or business
  • A Tribal business concern that meets the SBA size standard
  • A 501(c)(19) Veterans Organization that meets the SBA size standard

What will lenders look for?

Lenders will be checking for the following requirements:

  • Your business was in operation before February 15, 2020 and had employees for whom you paid salaries and payroll taxes or paid independent contractors (including yourself)
  • Good faith certification that states
    • The loan is a necessity due to the uncertainty of current economic conditions
    • You will use the loan to retain workers and maintain payroll or make mortgage, lease and utility payments
    • You do not have a pending application for a loan of the same amount or purpose as the PPP loan
    • You have not received a loan for the same amount or purpose as the PPP loan from February 15, 2020 to December 31, 2020.
  • For independent contractors, sole proprietors, or self-employed individuals, you will be asked to provide:
    • payroll tax filings
    • Forms 1099-MISC
    • and income and expenses from the sole proprietorship
    • See below for additional details.

What forms are required for the PPP application process?

  • Payroll summary report for last 12 months
  • IRS Form 940 & 941 (payroll tax forms)
  • 2019 business tax returns (or 2018 return if 2019 is not yet filed)
  • 2019 year-end financials (if tax return is not prepared)
  • Statement of payroll benefits offered to employees
  • Evidence of payroll taxes, insurance premiums and benefits paid
  • Driver’s licenses for all owners with 20% or greater ownership stake
  • Entity formation documents:
    • Articles of Incorporation (or Articles of Organization)
    • Bylaws and Operating Agreement
    • Tax ID Number (Employer Identification Number)
    • Board of Directors Minutes (if applicable)
    • Ownership Verification (if applicable)

How much can I borrow through a PPP loan for self employed people and small businesses?

  • Loans may be approved for up to 2.5x of your average monthly payroll up to $10 million
  • For sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals, your payroll equals the sum of payments of any compensation or income you received that is a wage, commission, income, net earnings from self-employment, and that is in an amount that is not more than $100,000 in one year, as pro-rated for the covered period
    • For example, if you make $100,000 in a year, your average monthly payroll to yourself would be $8,333. 2.5 x 8333=20,833. Your loan amount would be $20,833.
  • For more detail on how payroll costs are calculated and defined, see the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Coronavirus Emergency Loans Small Business Guide and Checklist
  • Additionally, businesses who qualify for the $10,000 grant will see the amount of their loan forgiveness reduced by the amount of their grant

How much will be forgiven?

Part of your PPP loan is eligible to be forgiven. The forgiven amount equals how much you spend on the following items in the 8-week period after the loan origination date:

  • Payroll costs (using the same definition of payroll costs used to determine loan eligibility)
  • Interest on the mortgage obligation incurred in the ordinary course of business
  • Rent on a leasing agreement
  • Payments on utilities (electricity, gas, water, transportation, telephone, or internet)
  • For borrowers with tipped employees, additional wages paid to those employees

Any part of the loan that is not forgiven will have a 1% interest rate.

When will the loan be forgiven?

The loan will be forgiven at the end of the 8-week period after your loan is funded.

Can you refinance EIDL into a PPP loan/grant?

Yes, as long as you do not duplicate the purposes for the funding and subtract other EIDL grant awards, you can refinance for loan forgiveness purposes.

For more detail

Check out the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Coronavirus Emergency Loans Small Business Guide and Checklist.

Coronavirus Stimulus Package

A payroll tax credit to help retain employees

Businesses that have experienced a 50% drop in gross receipts relative to the same quarter last year may qualify for a payroll tax credit worth up to $10,000 per employee so long as they are still paying their employees wages and/or health benefits.

To read the entire coronavirus stimulus bill, go here for the full text of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.


This article was originally published on Honeybook.com

About the Author:

More than a CRM, HoneyBook is a proactive platform for creative small businesses to create, review, and manage—all in one place. From first reply to final payment, HoneyBook makes it easy for solopreneurs to book their ideal client faster, more frequently, and with less legwork.

Get 50% off your first year of HoneyBook HERE


Featured Image Credits: Pixabay


You May Also Like: Small Business Survival Guide to Combat COVID-19

Right now, every single country is wondering where the world economy will stand in the upcoming months. Families are worried about their loved ones, whether they will make it through the deadly COVID-19 or not. There are numerous possible outcomes of this novel virus that keep spreading further. How the society and governments respond to the coronavirus will pave the way for the fluctuations in the world economy.

One cannot wipe off the image of recession, unemployment, and the rise of patients infected by the COVID-19. News is all about the spread of this virus and how things are getting worse day by day. The main focus is given to the rising number of patients, the global economic crisis, and the rapid decline in productivity. This global dynamic has given a new perspective to everyone –how the world can turn upside down within a matter of days. Keeping this in mind, let’s ponder upon the global side effects of the COVID-19 on the world economy.

The Global Impact:

In the past few weeks, the global economy went through several ups and downs. Due to the COVID-19, financial markets have been at the brink of collapse and industries are now super vulnerable. Since the industry of tourism and travel make up 10% of the total GDP worldwide, almost 50 million jobs can be lost easily. Small to medium enterprises are facing the consequences of the virus outbreak as well, with many people living at God’s mercy.

People who are paid well by their organizations cannot really relate much to the sufferings of SMEs employees. Many states have already announced relief packages for unemployed people, guaranteeing monthly wages to them. Regardless of the current plans in action, economic measures introduced by the governments are not suitable for everyone.

Hand Disincetion

Image Credits

What about the Future?

Well, a fixed pattern can be noticed by various economists which are known as the ‘domino effect’. Factors like financial markets, health systems, employment rates, and world trade getting close down have a significant impact on the economy. Due to the closure or slow growth of economic activities, everything else is getting affected one way or another. What future holds for the human race is still unpredictable, causing fear across the globe. Economic markets are declining at an alarming rate, with a 20% decline recorded in the 52-week turnover. The S&P 500 index decreased over 7% within March, which later postponed trading worldwide. This ‘circuit breaker’ change recorded in the trading index happened for the very first time since the year 1997.

Interest rates have severely decreased, with a lower cost of borrowing in the U.S. government. This is something that will directly hit the liquidity position of the private companies, with little to no benefit to any of these profit-centered firms. The uncertainty of the world economy due to COVID-19 will keep rising, giving birth to deadly outcomes on a mass level. The relationship between the virus and the economy is a direct one. The longer this disease stays in the air, the more time it will take for the economy to get back on track.

By considering the economic viewpoint, we can deduce four future outcomes of this deadly disease:
• People will spiral into insanity over time.
• The state of capitalism will flourish.
• Society’s transformation into a place never seen before.
• The world’s reliance on socialism.

These outcomes may not have a high probability of succession, but relevant desirable outcomes can be expected.

From the Human Perspective:

So far we have learned how to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak, with less human interaction daily. By doing so, non-essential activities will be reduced, as humans now leave their houses only when necessary. Such a conscious measure will keep the virus intact and climate change will occur as well. The emission rate of greenhouse gases has decreased, further preventing the virus from spreading around the world.

In Wuhan, immediate lockdown and social distancing tactics were proven to be effective. Now, China is back in business, with rapid production taking place daily. Indeed, the pressure is building up globally, but we can learn from China and do the needed.

As of now, there is a serious threat of facing a recession in the future. This can only be tackled through efficiently decreasing the coronavirus cases globally. No doubt, every other business wants to generate higher rates of profits, but they are unable to do so in such a global crisis. As mentioned earlier, the domino effect will take place and people are already aware of it.

Moreover, it has been suggested in a recent study that lifting up lockdown in Wuhan too early will cause another COVID-19 crisis within the next months. Countries need to understand the deeper impact of this disease, training people to become resilient towards such pandemics. Before the COVID-19 outbreak, nobody was prepared for the worst-case scenario which severely affected the global economy. Besides the financial loss, there is an ongoing loss of precious lives that cannot go unnoticed.

What to do now?

Due to the frightening future ramifications of COVID-19, some essential plans will be needed to act upon.
• Firstly, health measures should be improved, with greater emphasis given to the safety of health professionals and patients.
• Local communities will be needing our support as well, with the financial backing of small enterprises.
• Sufficient allocation of funds to the Research department, with frequent updates from scientists working on finding a cure.
• Encouraging philanthropists to donate as much as possible.
• Making everyone prepared for the unexpected, just like the COVID-19 outbreak.
• Increasing the warehouses in countries, with higher distribution capacity to cover the underprivileged areas.
• Rigid policies about social distancing and closure of public places.

With so much going on, many countries are already trying to make amends to beat the pandemic. For instance, South Korea, Italy, and Japan announcing effective fiscal measures to reclaim their position in the financial sector. On the other hand, the Bank of England and the European Central Bank will be updating their monetary policies as well. Through doing the necessary, the coronavirus will be easier to control, with adequate spending done to get back in the business.


Featured Image Credits: Pixabay

Congress passes relief bill

By now, you’ve heard about the coronavirus (COVID-19) that is spreading across the globe. As of March 18, 2020, all 50 states are reporting cases of the virus. The total count in the US has reached 5,881 confirmed cases and 107 deaths (source NYTimes). (Up-to-date COVID-19 Tracker)

With city-wide shutdowns, people are spending and earning less, businesses are suffering and it looks like we’re headed towards an economic recession.

Congress just passed the Coronavirus Relief Bill to support citizens and the economy with overwhelming bipartisan support on March 18, 2020. President Trump signed it that night.

What’s included in the bill?

  • Pays for coronavirus testing
  • Requires paid sick leave for those affected
  • Helps businesses pay for sick leave
  • Strengthens unemployment insurance benefits for those fired or have hours reduced
  • Helps low-income families afford food

What’s next?

The bill passed Congress and has been signed into law by President Trump. Trump requested a separate and huuuuuge (like $1 trillion) stimulus package and things like immediate relief in the form of $1,000 checks for all citizens (s/o to Andrew Yang) and bailouts for industries impacted like airlines. That’s what’s coming in part 3.

Recap:

  • Part 1: $8.3 billion to fund spurring coronavirus vaccine research and development (passed March 6)
  • Part 2: $100 billion largely focused on paid sick leave and unemployment benefits for workers and families (passed March 18)
  • Part 3: $750 billion – $1 trillion to prevent a recession (being drafted). This would be larger than the $700 billion economic relief bill passed during the 2008 recession.

What’s the Post-partisan take?

It’s a scary and trying time as information and the world around us seem to change daily. And while we’re in a state of uncertainty, we’re also looking for glimmers of hope. Congress passing a bill with such overwhelming bipartisan support? A huge glimmer. President Trump demanding relief by putting cash in the hands of struggling Americans, with Democrats supporting the demand? Triple huge glimmer.

We’re seeing small examples of what we can happen when we put down political loyalty and pick up protecting the wellbeing of all Americans first. Now imagine if this was how we operated all the time. That’s the post-partisan world we’re fighting to create.

What Does the Coronavirus Bill Mean for Me?

If you get sick…

  • The government will pay for the test confirming you’re sick.
  • Your health insurance (or lack of) determines how much the rest of your care cost.
  • The government will pay your company to pay you for sick leave – if you work at a company between 50 and 500 people
  • If you are told to quarantine the government will cover part of your loss of income

If you get laid off because of coronavirus…

If you are an hourly worker and your hours get cut…


This article was originally published on Changeroots.com

Featured Image Credits: Pixabay

The covid-19 pandemic has changed the world, grinding to a halt increasingly large geographic areas and portions of the economy in an effort to slow the virus’ spread.

The impacts have been profound on the ground, but government-mandated lockdowns have also remade the atmosphere. Satellite data from China, the first epicentre of the outbreak, and Italy, the second hot spot, have shown big drops in pollution following lockdowns that limited the movement of people and goods and factories’ ability to produce stuff. With the pandemic now becoming increasingly prevalent in the U.S., Americans have already started moving less as mayors and governors have turned to similar measures.

In an effort to track the impacts, Gizmodo assembled an interactive map to explore the changes in air pollution not just in the U.S. but globally. The map runs on Google Earth Engine and uses data collected by the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-5P satellite, which circles the Earth capturing various types of data. It includes four snapshots from December 2019 through March 20, 2020. The Sentinel satellite data shows nitrogen dioxide, which is a handy proxy for human activity.

“Nitrogen dioxide is produced by fossil fuel burning and therefore often used as an urban pollution tracer,” Barbara Dix, an atmospheric researcher at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder, told Gizmodo in an email. “Burning fossil fuels directly emits a lot of nitrous oxide and a little nitrogen dioxide (often referred to as NOx together), but the nitrous oxide is rapidly converted into nitrogen dioxide in the atmosphere. Nitrogen dioxide can easily be measured by satellite.”

Given that fossil fuels power everything from cars to electricity, nitrogen dioxide satellite imagery really does show the impact covid-19 is having on society like no other dataset. There are clear signs of the virus’ impact all around the world, and we’ll dive into some U.S. examples below. But it’s also important to note a few small caveats as you scroll around the map and look at the before and after images.

The data presented here is a series of single-day snapshots. Weather patterns can blow pollution around and disperse it while rain and even the level of sunshine can further change readings taken by Sentinel-5P. There are also natural sources of nitrogen dioxide that can affect readings. The data in Google Earth Engine isn’t necessarily quality filtered. Dix noted that means clouds can mess with readings, which may be why on the interactive map there are some rougher-looking areas like northern New England in March or signs of pollution in the Seattle area where there may not be much. It will take researchers time to really dive into the data and filter it to get a fine-scale understanding of covid-19’s impact on air pollution. Despite these caveats, the trends in many major cities around the U.S. are staggering and clearly at least in part tied to the changes forced by the covid-19 pandemic.

“The rapid decrease we see in nitrogen dioxide due to covid-19 is unprecedented,” Dix said. “We are now witnessing a global experiment where one emission source is rapidly turned down (NOx), while other sources are still up or will decrease more slowly. A lot of atmospheric science will come out of this.”

“I imagine that the air pollution monitoring data collected during the covid-19 shutdown will be useful to test our fundamental understanding of the sources of pollutants (economic sectors, natural emissions, etc.), the chemistry of nitrogen dioxide, ozone and particulate matter, and short term health and ecosystem effects of air pollution,” Viral Shah, a postdoctoral researcher at Harvard, told Gizmodo in an email.

California Covid-19

California

California became the first state in the U.S. to issue a shelter-in-place order effective on March 19, though many cities made their decision to shut down earlier. The resulting drop in pollution from January to March in the state’s major metro areas is stark. Los Angeles is a huge source of pollution owing to its car culture, and the city’s precipitous drop in pollution is clear. Traffic reports back up the satellite data. The Bay Area and San Diego also saw pollution disperse in the face of a shelter-in-place order.

The impacts extended across the border as well. Tijuana—which is intimately linked to San Diego—saw pollution dissipate to practically nothing. Ditto for El Paso and Juarez visible further east. The Mexican and American governments have agreed to partially close the border in an effort to stop the spread of covid-19.

Even though they’re not in states with lockdowns, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, and Las Vegas all have varying degrees of restrictions on residents and businesses. And once again, the map makes clear that’s likely having an impact on pollution.

Northeast Corridor

The Northeast Corridor

The populous area stretching from Boston to Washington, DC, is the epicentre of the U.S. coronavirus outbreak and also a hub of economic and political activity. It’s also an area where states and cities have moved quickly to shut down non-essential services to slow the virus’ spread.

Though New Yorkers aren’t as car-dependent as their Los Angeles counterparts, there are still plenty of vehicles normally on NYC roads and dense clusters of buildings emitting pollution. Ditto for Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, which normally form a daisy chain of pollution along Interstate 95. With covid-19 lockdowns, the chain has been broken.

The Midwest

Midwest

The area from Minnesota to West Virginia forms the biggest cluster of states with lockdown orders in effect. Six governors have already put their states on lockdown are or will do so shortly.

The data here is a bit noisier, but some clear trends are apparent. Car-centric Detroit has a big dip in pollution. Sprawling Chicago’s pollution also disappears.

The U.S.-Canadian border, like its southern counterpart, is also closed outside of essential services and trade. The province of Ontario called for a lockdown late last week, and the impacts of these moves also show up on the map. Pollution also gets wiped out in Detroit’s neighbour, Windsor, and Toronto further east.

One odd blip is a hot spot of pollution in Kansas near Emporia. That could be one of the data artifacts Dix mentioned or nitrogen dioxide emissions possibly tied to fires that burn through the state’s grasslands each spring.

The South

Even though the South is has been slow as hell to act, and Texas’ lieutenant governor spent Monday actively advocating for letting old people to die to save shareholder value, the impacts are still notable there. While the data is a bit noisy, nitrogen dioxide emissions in Houston, a hot spot for the petrochemical industry, appear to have declined. New Orleans—another petrochemical hot spot that’s located the only southern state to call for a total lockdown—appears to have seen a drop in pollution as well.

That may be tied to the fortunes of fossil fuels, which have dropped due to a price war sparked by Saudi Arabia and plummeting demand as the world economy slows. Sharp dives are also visible in Mexican cities like Monterrey, which may be tied to the border closure.

Explore the full map here.


This article by Brian Kahn and Dhruv Mehrotra was originally published on Gizmodo.com.au


Featured Image Credits: Pixabay

The novel coronavirus that causes the respiratory disease COVID-19, and that was first detected in China, has now been detected in 60+ locations internationally, including in the United States. In response, some Americans are cancelling and/or limiting both domestic travel and travel to outbreak hotspots (including Italy, China, Iran, South Korea, Japan and Hong Kong) and preparing for what might happen if the virus becomes widespread.

For freelancers and small businesses, especially those in the events industry, this may mean an uptick in rescheduled/cancelled events and/or a decline in business due to community-based interventions and general fear, uncertainty and doubt among many people.

While it’s natural to feel nervous about what’s to come, there are steps you can take today to minimize the potential impact coronavirus (and actually any type of health emergency or natural disaster) has on your business. Think of this as a business continuity plan for small business to strengthen your business during times of uncertainty.

A business continuity plan for small business:

How to prepare your business for coronavirus

  1. Get and stay informed
  2. Revisit your cancellation and rescheduling policies
  3. Add three clauses into your contract templates: Force Majeure Clause, Safe Working Environment Clause, and Failure of Company to Perform Services Clause
  4. Create a strategy to battle cancellations
  5. Proactively manage your client relationships
  6. Issue a message to inquiries/clients
  7. Know how to enforce retainer payments for cancelled events/projects
  8. Plan for backup help
  9. Get video meeting software
  10. Understand your financial position
  11. Identify new revenue streams
  12. Pivot your business strategy
  13. Create a playbook
  14. Identify ways to supplement income
  15. Tap into city resources
  16. Start saving now
  17. Take care of yourself, your family and your team
  18. Lean on community

Meeting  about coronavirus

Image Credits

Business continuity plan for small business: Things you can do right now

1. Get and stay informed

Stay up to date with official news sources, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). By staying informed, you can better prepare for what’s coming and gain a sense of control (even if just a little) over the rapidly evolving situation. And being equipped with the facts will help you educate (and calm) any nervous inquiries and clients.

2. Revisit your cancellation and rescheduling policies

Wondering how to legally protect your business from unforeseen circumstances like the coronavirus? We went straight to an expert to find out and consulted attorney Paige Griffith of The Legal Paige

“First and foremost, a service provider’s cancellation and rescheduling policies should still be laid out very clearly with deadlines,” says Paige. “Industry standard is generally 30 days prior to the event/session/wedding date for your clients to be able to cancel or reschedule and only forfeit the retainer, but not incur any remaining fees. However, ‘Force Majeure Events’ are different. Thus, if you or your clients want to excuse performance to an unforeseeable, unavoidable, or impossible event, that’s where a Force Majeure Clause would kick in to protect you.”

Paige recommends people include a Force Majeure clause that clearly explains your business’s policies for excusing performance related to such events and, specifically, include “epidemics and pandemics” as qualified Force Majeure Events (see #3 for more details). Paige notes, “Oftentimes Force Majeure clauses are more basic and include occurrences such as ‘acts of God, natural disasters, government orders or laws, or strikes.’ It’s better to list out all qualified Force Majeure events and include the language ‘including, but not limited to’ to expand the types of Force Majeure events under your contract.”

Essentially, a cancellation and rescheduling clause is in place for any other reason that your client may cancel or reschedule. But Force Majeure Events are not part of that and have a different procedure in place for cancellations and rescheduling situations. The non-refundable retainer still applies under both clauses so long as you expressly delineate that policy under your contract, but Force Majeure provides additional protection because it requires you to excuse performance under the contract until the Force Majeure Event is resolved.

Also important to note is that we are NOT in Force Majeure land right now.

Paige explains, “Right now, coronavirus is likely not going to be interpreted as a qualified ‘Force Majeure Event’ under most contracts. There has been no official national government order regarding the outbreak. Thus, if a client wants to cancel or reschedule your services and cries ‘Force Majeure!’ and wants a full refund, it won’t hold up. Hysteria or fear of traveling does not qualify as Force Majeure. A Force Majeure Event quite literally has to make the performance by a party impossible and right now you can still travel, get on a plane, and be in person-to-person contact. Thus, we are still in the land of general cancellation and rescheduling situations, so your policies expressed in your contract apply as well as your non-refundable retainer.”

Want to learn more about protection clauses that you should have in your contract to protect yourself from unforeseen events? This checklist from The Legal Paige will tell you what clauses are needed and describes what they mean to you and your business. Get Checklist >

3. Add three clauses into your contract templates

As part of a business continuity plan for small business, Paige recommends modifying or adding three big clauses into your existing contract templates: (1) Force Majeure Clause, (2) Safe Working Environment Clause, and (3) Failure of Company to Perform Services Clause.

Wondering what all that means? Let’s break down each one below:

A Force Majeure clause (1) specifies the events which enable either party to declare a force majeure/act of God event, (2) how a party should notify its counterparty about the occurrence, and (3) the consequences after a force majeure event has occurred (see #4 for ideas on consequences you could consider). A force majeure clause should apply to each party to the agreement.

“Most often I see contracts missing parts 2 and 3 in their force majeure clause,” says Paige. “People should be sure to spell out that ‘epidemics and pandemics’ are included as qualified Force Majeure Events, and indicate the number of days following the Force Majeure Event that the other party may terminate and the remedies allowed. Also, as it stands [at the date of publication March 9, 2020], the COVID-19 outbreak and its consequences are no longer fully unpredictable and may therefore not qualify as a ‘Force Majeure Event’ in contracts that are entered into right now. Be sure to have other clauses in place such as Safe Working Environment Clause and Failure of Company to Perform Services Clause to protect yourself in case the Force Majeure Clause is not applicable.”

Need a Force Majeure clause for your contracts? Just copy and paste the Force Majeure clause language below into your own existing contract templates.

Force majeure clause:

No party shall be liable or responsible to the other party, nor be deemed to have defaulted under or breached this Agreement, for any failure or delay in fulfilling or performing any term of this Agreement (except for any obligations to make payments to the other party hereunder), when and to the extent such failure or delay is caused by or results from acts beyond the impacted party’s (“Impacted Party”) control, including, but not limited to, the following force majeure events (“Force Majeure Events”): (a) acts of God; (b) a natural disaster (fires, explosions, earthquakes, hurricane, flooding, storms, explosions, infestations), epidemic, or pandemic; (c) war, invasion, hostilities (whether war is declared or not), terrorist threats or acts, riot or other civil unrest; (d) government order or law; (e) actions, embargoes or blockades in effect on or after the date of this Agreement; (f) action by any governmental authority; (g) national or regional emergency; (h) strikes, labor stoppages or slowdowns or other industrial disturbances; and (i) shortage of adequate power or transportation facilities. The Impacted Party shall give Notice within [number] days of the Force Majeure Event to the other party, stating the period of time the occurrence is expected to continue. The Impacted Party shall use diligent efforts to end the failure or delay and ensure the effects of such Force Majeure Event are minimized. The Impacted Party shall resume the performance of its obligations as soon as reasonably practicable after the removal of the cause. In the event that the Impacted Party’s failure or delay remains uncured for a period of [number] days following Notice given by it, the other party may thereafter terminate this Agreement upon Notice.

Disclaimer: This force majeure clause template is provided for your convenience to help protect your business and minimize the impact from coronavirus and other types of health emergencies and natural disasters as part of a business continuity plan for small business. We consulted with attorney Paige Griffith, J.D., of The Legal Paige, who wrote the Force Majeure clause. While a professional was consulted, this is not provided as a substitute for legal advice. If you have any questions about this template or your finished contract as it relates to your specific business, please contact a licensed attorney.

A Safe Working Environment clause tells your clients that your company maintains a safe work environment at all times and complies with all health and safety laws, directives and rules and regulations. Thus, you can reserve the right to discontinue service in the event some unsafe conditions arose such as areas affected by communicable diseases.

A Failure of Company to Perform Services clause ensures that your clients understand the procedure should you not be able to perform your services. “It’s important under this clause to allow your clients to agree to the substitution of another professional and not require such substitution,” Paige says. “And, in the event they do not allow you to substitute or you cannot find a substitute, you will issue a refund or credit based on the percentage of the services you’ve rendered thus far.”

4. Create a strategy to battle cancellations 

If you’re worried about cancellations, the best strategy is to be prepared and proactive.

Be prepared by thinking through “the consequences after a force majeure event has occurred.” Let’s say a client wants to cancel within 30 days of the event (even if your cancellation policy states they need to provide at least 30 days) due to an unforeseen event. What does that mean for you and your business?

As a best practice, we recommend doing everything in your power to work with your client to reschedule for a time when everyone is confident about moving forward and healthy enough to do so. If a mutually agreed upon date cannot be reached, your client will be able to cancel and forfeit only the retainer, but not incur any remaining fees under the Agreement. (See step #7 for how to enforce retainer payments for cancelled events/projects.)

In addition to identifying what you’ll do in the face of an unforeseen event, be sure to proactively communicate with inquiries and clients. This can help set their minds at ease, reducing your cancellation/chargeback risk. (See #5 for more details.)

5. Proactively manage your client relationships

Strong relationships are everything in the face of uncertainty, especially with setting expectations and avoiding cancellations. Now is the time to foster and lean on your client relationships as part of your business continuity plan for small business. “Over communication in these situations is also helpful so if a client is feeling unsure, they can lean on the professional to help lead in making decisions,” says Reina Pomeroy of Reina + Co.

If you’ve been doing a good job of relating to your clients and building that trust, it should be easier to reach an ideal outcome for both you and your client if the event can’t take place. Hopefully that outcome is in the form of rescheduling the event and is reached before you ever get to a conversation about chargebacks or cancellations.

Nichole Beiner of Nichole Gabrielle adds, “Being flexible with rescheduling or being creative about how to interact may be appreciated, especially by clients with compromised immune systems or who care for those with compromised immune systems or elderly people.”

So reach out to your booked clients to schedule a check-in and have a conversation. Get a feel for if they have any concerns or are thinking about cancelling (especially if you deliver your services in-person or work in the events industry).

If your clients were thinking about cancelling, getting a call from you to reassure them, might be just what they need to keep their event on the books.

For example, you could say:

Hey XX,

I hope planning your [insert event name here] has been going smoothly! I wanted to check in and see how you were doing in light of the recent coronavirus outbreak updates. As of right now, the U.S. is in a place of relatively low risk. However, I know how stressful [event name] planning can be, and this certainly doesn’t help!

I wanted to let you know that as of right now our area has had little to no impact from the coronavirus and because of this I have every intention of fulfilling my role at your [event name]. Of course, if anything should change with my plans, you will be the first to know.

If you have any intention of changing or altering the date of your [event name] please let me know as soon as possible so we can work on rescheduling to a date that works for everyone. If you do plan to change the [event name] date, please refer back to our contract for the proper steps.

Thanks,

XX

If your clients weren’t thinking about cancelling at all, tread lightly. You don’t want to give them a reason to worry, but use this as an opportunity to let them know you’re on top of the situation; considering the health and safety of all your clients; and what you’re doing to ensure that.

For example, you could say:

Hello XX,

I hope your [event name] planning has been going smoothly! I wanted to check in and see how you were doing in light of the recent coronavirus outbreak updates. As of right now, the U.S. is in a place of relatively low risk. However, I know how stressful [event name] planning can be, and this certainly doesn’t help!

I wanted to let you know that as of right now our area has had little to no impact from the coronavirus and because of this I have every intention of fulfilling my role at your [event name]. Of course, if anything should change with my plans, you will be the first to know.

Thanks,

XX

If they inquire about cancelling, be ready with your responses (see step #4).

6. Issue a message to inquiries/clients

Similar to step #5, this step focuses on proactive communication but is a bit more passive, and is designed to reach your broader audience, not just booked clients. Set your audience’s minds at ease and let them know that you’re prepared to handle whatever comes your way. Acknowledge the coronavirus and that it’s something your business is aware of and thinking about.

You can create a video message that you put up on your website, on social media or in an email. You can create a blog post. Or you can create an FAQ page for your website.

Wondering what to say? Here’s a swipe copy example:

Hey everyone!

I wanted to take a quick minute to talk about something important. By now, I’m sure you’ve all heard of the coronavirus and its impact worldwide. While at the very least this is distressing, I wanted to assure you that my business and I are prepared. I’m staying updated on the latest information, acting responsibly by avoiding travel to outbreak hotspots, meeting clients/vendors/employees online instead of in person if someone isn’t feeling well, and swapping hugs for a friendly wave. Additionally, I’m making sure that all of my clients know what to expect from me as per contract.

If you are a fellow business owner who would like a resource of best practices *click here/swipe up/link in bio* to read @honeybook’s latest blog post: How to Prepare Your Business For Coronavirus – 18 Steps.

If you are a client and have any concerns about your event and any details pertaining to cancellation and rescheduling practices, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me, or refer to our contract.

Thanks!

7. Know how to enforce retainer payments for cancelled events/projects

Again, the first (and best) line of defense to keep your retainer payments (and avoid cancellations altogether) is to proactively manage your client relationships, maintain open communication and try to reach a solution that works for the both of you before the topic of cancelling comes up.

But if cancellations do happen, here’s what you should know to keep/receive your retainer payments.

“This really depends on the situation,” Paige says. “But, in most cases so long as the language in your fee section states ‘non-refundable retainer’ you should be able to keep the retainer. If you used the wording ‘deposit’ instead of retainer, under some states it is required to give back deposits if services have not been rendered. Thus, if you have the word ‘deposit,’ it’s likely best to refund the amount. Also, remember that at the end of the day, it’s your livelihood and business on the line if you have a really sticky client who wants their money back and is ready to pursue legal action if you don’t give it back. It’s way easier, more efficient, and more cost effective to give a refund under these circumstances than to go to court and battle whether the retainer/deposit is refundable.”

If you’re worried about retainer chargebacks (a chargeback happens when a client asks their credit card to reverse the money transfer from their account), remember that if a chargeback does happen through HoneyBook, HoneyBook works side-by-side with you to resolve the dispute. Unlike other platforms (like PayPal, for instance), HoneyBook will not automatically refund your client.

Business continuity plan for small business: Things you can do in the next few days/weeks 

8. Plan for backup help 

If you don’t already have one as part of your business continuity plan for small business, create a backup plan in the event that you get sick and are unable to perform your job. Identify and lock in a few people whom you can trust to step in for you if needed. (Need help finding someone? Try reaching out to someone in your community or a fellow creative at your local TuesdaysTogether. See #18 for more detail.) Make sure to add this into your contracts, as you want your clients to be aware of this possibility. And see step #3 for more details about what to include in that clause.

9. Get video meeting software

With the possibility of people increasing the amount of time they spend at home (known as social distancing), you may want to move more of your in-person meetings to video meetings. Make sure your phone and computer equipment are set up to work for video. In terms of video meeting software, FaceTime is a popular option for iPhone users, but if you need to show your screen, you can also consider Zoom or Google Hangouts. According to The Verge, Google said “that it would be rolling out free access to ‘advanced’ features for Hangouts Meet to all G Suite and G Suite for Education customers globally through July 1st. That means organizations can host meetings with up to 250 participants, live stream to up to 100,000 viewers within a single domain, and record and save meetings to Google Drive.”

10. Understand your financial position

An important part of business preparedness in the face of coronavirus and creating a business continuity plan for small business is knowing the ins and outs of your finances. This will help you to understand how much business you can afford to lose each month and start making plans if needed. Answer the following questions to start getting a better picture of your finances.

  • What is your projected monthly revenue each month over the next 3-6 months?
  • What are your monthly costs (business and living expenses) each month over the next 3-6 months?
  • How many projects/events/clients do you need at a minimum each month over the next 3-6 months to maintain a positive cash flow?
  • Are any projects/events/clients at risk of getting cancelled or postponed within the next 3-6 months? (If so, see what you can do in steps #4–5.)
  • If your projected cash flow is in the negative over the next 3-6 months, see what you can do in steps #11–12.

11. Identify new revenue streams

While you may be a ways away from needing to implement the next two steps, they’re still worth thinking about now to help increase your preparedness. With that in mind, start thinking about other ways you could bring in revenue if business slowed way down or if cancellations went way up.

Here are a couple ideas:

  1. Check HoneyBook Opportunities. Other creatives post opportunities of all kinds, and you can post if you have one as well. Searching by your zip code makes it easy.
  2. Get a side gig on platforms like Upwork or Fiverr.
  3. Tap into your network and see if anyone needs extra help. Since many events are likely to get rescheduled, take advantage of the shuffle and make yourself available for these dates.
  4. Turn your existing service into a digital or remote offering.

12. Pivot your business strategy

Again, it might not make sense to start pivoting at this very moment, but making plans to do this now can be very helpful if this may be needed in the future. If your business is internationally based, perhaps consider focusing on local markets. Or if your business is focused on servicing large events, consider niching down. Some HoneyBook members have started focusing on more intimate-sized events that are less prone to being impacted by travel restrictions. Another idea is to introduce lightweight services that are easy for you to implement, and that requires less planning ahead, like one-off coaching sessions.

Don’t forget to think through the impact on your brand and what would need to be updated, including messaging and imagery on your website and social channels.

Business continuity plan for small business: Things you can do as a general best practice

13. Create a playbook

Documenting your entire process in a playbook will make it easy to hand a project/event off to someone who needs to step in and take over for you in the event that you get sick. Think through every little step and include it! Imagine that you won’t be there to answer questions and that everything they need to know would be included in your documentation. (Need some help? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Boosting Work Efficiency Through Business Systems and Automation.)

The cool thing about managing your business in HoneyBook is that all your client and project information is kept in one place, which makes it easy to hand over projects. Other team members (or an external person added to your project if you don’t have team members and need to add a back-up contact) can jump in and quickly get up to speed. They can see the communication history between you and your client and access all files to see all relevant information. (Team members can see private notes from all client meetings; external people added to your project can see all files and client communications, just not private notes you’ve taken.)

“Take a deep breath and don’t panic if you don’t have any of these best business practices in place,” says Diana Fang from The Finer Points. “If someone cancels, this would be a good time to use that extra time to beef up your own internal systems (especially for points #10-15).”

14. Identify ways to supplement income

It’s always good to know how you can supplement your income if you truly need to. Research the different options available for small business loans (this is a great resource), as well as a withdrawal from your 401K if you have one. But because of the hefty fees associated with an early withdrawal, this should be saved as a last resort.

15. Tap into city resources

Some cities are offering financial aid to specifically help small businesses during this trying time. For example, in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio said “the city will offer no-interest loans to small businesses with fewer than 100 employees that could show a 25 percent reduction in sales since the coronavirus outbreak and grants of up to $6,000 for businesses with fewer than five employees.” Check with your city’s Small Business Administration office for more details.

16. Start saving now

Having an emergency fund to tide you over for 3-6 months is important for a solid business continuity plan for small business. If you don’t have one, start today. Take a look at your financial position from step #10. How much do you need to maintain a positive cash flow each month? Use that as a starting point to set your monthly savings goal.

Once you’ve set a goal, identify ways to save. Perhaps you allocate a percentage of each paycheck to set aside. Or maybe you aim to save $X amount each month by avoiding indulgent expenses (like that new camera or dinners out) for the time being.

17. Take care of yourself, your family and your team

Follow best practices issued by the CDC/WHO to stay healthy and minimize the spread of the virus, including:

  1. Washing hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  2. Coughing/sneezing into a flexed elbow
  3. Avoiding touching your face with unwashed hands
  4. Staying home if you feel unwell
  5. Encouraging team members and vendors to stay home if sick
  6. Social distancing (swap a handshake for a friendly wave!)

18. Lean on community 

In a world where toilet-paper runs are a thing and entire towns are getting locked down, don’t forget you’re not alone. The HoneyBook and Rising Tide community are here to help (even if just to lend a commiserating ear about why there’s no hand sanitizer available anywhere). Here are a few ways to get the most out of the community:

  1. Join your local TuesdaysTogether. We have chapters around the globe. Connect with other creatives online through your local TuesdaysTogether Facebook and Instagram groups. Building relationships with those in your area can help if you find you need to cancel on a client and need to refer someone you trust (or vice versa). Please note: Some in-person meetings may be postponed out of caution for the health and safety of our members as the coronavirus progresses. Check in with your city to find out details.
  2. Check in on one another. Identify a handful of people to follow up with as the situation unfolds. Knowing how coronavirus is impacting others, and knowing people are also checking in with you, can help you feel less isolated.
  3. Share your wisdom with the community. Don’t feel like you have to go through this alone; we’re all in this together. Tag @honeybook and/or @risingtidesociety to share your tips and tools for how to best prepare and maintain not only your business but your day-to-day client interactions.

Disclaimer: The advice featured in this post was sourced from our community members for sharing of general information and knowledge. For specific legal, tax, mental health, and professional advice, please consult an authorized professional.


This article was originally published at honeybook.com


Featured Image Credits: Pixabay


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