A special message from our Founder, Mike Lannen.
As communities throughout not only Vermont but also the world respond to COVID-19 (coronavirus), we know that this time presents unique challenges and anxiety for individuals and businesses. The crew here at Eternity has put together some tips and recommendations to help you navigate this for your employees and customers. For the most updated information on COVID-19, please monitor the World Health Organization website.
Communicate with your Customers
- If your hours of operation have changed, update them on your website, social media, and Google My Business listing.
- Use your blog, social media, and Google My Business posts to communicate information and updates frequently.
- Send an email update to your customers informing how COVID-19 may be affecting daily operations.
- If you are currently advertising on the radio, tv, or newspaper, use this as an opportunity to update your messaging, especially for those in the travel and tourism, medical and public sectors.
Communicate with your Employees
- Talk with your employees and get a “temperature check” on their well-being and ensure they feel safe and comfortable. It is important for not only physical but mental health to create a plan that works for everyone.
- Make a business continuity plan so that you can be prepared for not only this threat but any future one to come.
Vermont Department of Labor Guidelines
- The Department of Labor will be issuing guidance for Employers and Employees, including information on the potential impact on unemployment insurance benefits, employee sick-time and other issues as a result of COVID-19. More information and further updates can be found at labor.vermont.gov.
Vermont Business Impact and SBA Loans
ACCD is asking any Vermont business impacted by the response to the COVID-19 virus to share these impacts with the Agency through a dedicated email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition, the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act recently passed by Congress expanded the Small Business Act’s definition of a disaster to include Coronavirus (COVID-19). As a result, the SBA will be able to provide Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) under a Governor’s Certification Disaster Declaration. In order for the SBA to consider an EIDL declaration, the Governor must demonstrate that at least five small businesses in a disaster area have suffered substantial economic injury as a result of the disaster.
The Agency is working to identify businesses that meet the Small Business Administration’s threshold for SBA disaster loan assistance. Businesses are asked to complete an assessment form (available on the ACCD website at https://accd.vermont.gov/content/sba-worksheet) and return it to email@example.com as soon as possible to help us advocate for eligibility. Their goal is to gain information in each of the 14 counties across the state. They are looking for data on impacts in the following areas:
- Economic Injury
- Supply Chain
- Workforce (Including that caused by lack of childcare)
- Business Travel
- Visitor Travel and Tourism Activities
- Remote Work Capabilities
The Agency has also established a hotline so that businesses may call to report impacts and be directed to resources: (802) 461-5143. The hotline will be staffed Monday through Friday, 7:45 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
- If possible, plan to work from home. Even if your business does now allow for an easy 100% remote working switch, encourage employees to bring laptops home each day so they can work from home if needed.
- Prepare to work remotely and hold client and staff meetings via tools like Slack, Zoom, and Uberconference.
Consult with Local Business Strategists
- You should consider consulting with local business strategists to do a complete overview of your business in a holistic manner. Our friends Sam Markewich and Brendan Coyne over at Downtown Up have written an excellent article on preparing your business for Corona as well as any other threats. We recommend reaching out to them for a free 30-minute phone consult on your business today.
Modify your Advertising (if necessary)
- The worst thing that you could do right now is to immediately pull all of your marketing dollars. However, at the same time, you do not want to be marketing services or products that do not make sense right now. Sit down with your trusted marketing partner and do a review of everything. If you have any questions about this, you could reach out directly to our Founder, Mike Lannen to schedule a time to chat via a remote session at no charge.
Review your Stock Portfolio and Retirement
- Don’t immediately panic about your stock portfolio. If you are questioning what to do with your current investments or worried about your financial future, we recommend that you contact David Gold with Edward Jones. He has shared an article with us that we recommend you review in regards to an Upside to This Down Economy. We encourage you to contact David today to answer questions you may have about your current portfolio and retirement plan.
Review your Finances and Future Planning
- Thinking about your overall financial future can be an overwhelming task, especially in this current climate. Erik Kolomaznik with C.K. Financial has provided Eternity as well as our crew with valuable financial advice and planning for the past 5+ years and we highly recommend contacting Erik for a free review today. Learn more at: https://www.ckfinancialresources.com
Cash Reserves and Credit Options
- While we do not want to recommend a halt on all spending, it is important to ensure a cash reserve in order to sustain business continuity. If you were thinking about expanding your business or making a large purchase, you may just want to put that on pause for a moment.
- Gaining access to credit at this time might come with additional barriers with larger amounts of small businesses requiring this. We do have a recommendation to an online cash advance system that directly connects to your accounts receivable. It is called Fundbox.com and they connect to your Quickbooks, Freshbooks or other popular receivables system and they will pay you in advance of your client paying the said invoice. This could be an invaluable resource if you start to experience a delay in your own clients paying invoices and ensure continuity of your business.
Mental Health, Well Being and Beyond
- During all of this, it is important to take stock of your mental health and those around you. While this is an incredibly serious time, now is not the time for hysteria. Stay calm, stay clean and stay safe. Distancing yourself from social interaction for long periods of time combined with the unknowns of the evolutions of this virus can certainly create a large feeling of anxiety. We are all in this together and it is important in these hard times to rely on each other, work together (remotely as it may be). We will get through this. We will come out stronger.
For even more information, please consider reviewing the Center for Disease Control’s guidance for businesses.
Onward and upward!