In a bid to help small businesses get through the coronavirus pandemic, the Connected Commerce Council (3C) announced a Surviving Coronavirus Resource Center for small businesses. The Resource Center includes small business survival tips, daily policy briefings and a tool to help businesses find Funding Assistance and Relief from federal, state, local and private loan and grant programs.
“Small businesses are taking heavy blows right now and are desperately seeking help to survive this unprecedented crisis. They are asking for help to cut through the noise and red tape so they can figure out what tools are available to aid them and their employees,” said Jake Ward, president of the Connected Commerce Council. “The resources we’re offering will help small businesses stay connected, stay safe and stay in business. This is a time for the small business community to help each other any way we can, and 3C will continue doing its part in giving them the tools they need to persevere.”
The five tips 3C offers small businesses to survive are:
1. Protect yourself, employees, customers, and your community
- If you’re in retail, reduce touching by providing gloves to customers and limiting the number of people entering your store.
- Clean as often as possible with antibacterial wipes and switch to cashless transactions.
- Turn off the signature screen of the credit card processing machine and give the customer the option to round up to the higher amount to help your business get through the next couple of months.
2. Find new ways to sell your product and service
- Find ways to engage and stay connected with your customers so you can continue to earn business
- Utilize your CRM and existing platforms to let your customers know what you’re doing to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and promote any sales going on.
- Review your website and e-commerce engine to see if it needs to be updated.
- Look into expanding into other markets and territories by adding new products and services to your mix or targeting new customer markets.
- Sell and promote online gift cards for free on your website by using services like Kabbage, GiftFly and GiftUp.
3. Evaluate funding assistance
- Go to connectedcouncil.org/coronavirus for small business resources.
- Find out if your small business is eligible to apply for a low-interest loan due to Coronavirus https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/
- Facebook is offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses. Sign up here to get more information and submit your application: https://www.facebook.com/business/boost/grants
- Ask your landlord for an extension as landlords are looking for the same stability as small businesses.
4. Help your employees
- Some of your employees are like family to you. It’s crucial for you to continue to find ways to work together and be as flexible as possible.
- Unemployment benefits are there as well to be used as a safety net. You can also look into furlough and reduce your payroll cost to plan for the next phase.
- Each state administers a separate unemployment insurance program, but all states follow the same guidelines established by federal law. For more information regarding rules in your state, contact your state’s unemployment insurance program.
- Check out some Q&A’s being asked by employers: https://www.natlawreview.com/article/coronavirus-employer-qa
5. Be Flexible
- Make adjustments to operations to maximize resources.
- Utilize free remote communications tools like Google Hangouts Meet (free for all users until July 1) and Zoom (video conferencing available for free for the first 40 minutes).
- Stay organized through cloud-file management tools like Dropbox and G Suite shared drives.
- Stay connected with your team while working remotely with tools like Slack, Asana and RemoteHQ.
3C is also offering a Facebook Small Business Support Group to help small businesses from around the country connect with each other and share tips, resources, and ideas for how to make it through the coronavirus. They are also holding weekly “virtual happy hours” with small businesses to learn about the problems they are facing during this crisis and how they can help.