Many businesses are still figuring out the getting back to work phase of COVID-19. Companies have been seeking loans from the Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program and banks have been working around the clock to process applications. As of this writing, the SBA has loaned $183 billion of the $310 billion authorized for the second round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding.
The loans can be for 2.5 times payroll costs, up to $10 million, and can be forgiven, fully or in part, depending on if borrowers maintain headcounts and payrolls at pre-pandemic levels and use their loans for authorized expenses over the eight weeks after receiving the loan.
Now the million-dollar question…
How do we get everyone back to work when the loan money comes in?
AND, how do we ensure safety?
The Pivot to Get Back to Work Post-Pandemic
Research what the industry and economic experts are saying about what has changed. Brainstorm with your team to determine how you can adapt, what you can do differently or additionally to deliver what your existing and ideal customers need now. If you don’t know, ask them.
How can you modify your offering to meet the new needs?
Once you know which way to pivot for success, do some marketing, of course! Let everyone know what you are doing – website, emails, advertising.
If you are feeling stuck, contact a business management consultant, SCORE, the SBA or chamber of commerce. Many are offering free initial consultations or complimentary webinars that will help you get unstuck. Here are several resources where you can get help.
Communicate with Your Customers
As a marketer, it blows my mind that there are companies that still don’t regularly communicate with their customers. If you haven’t communicated with your customers since this crisis began, contact them and let them know what’s up. If your business is open, let them know how to contact you and what kinds of safety measures you have in place. If your business is closed, communicate your anticipated plans for reopening. You want to be top of mind when it is time for them to make the purchase.
Listen to what questions are coming in frequently and respond in subsequent communication. Deliver added value. Customer questions may also lead you to additional products or services that you can add to your offering to meet their needs.
In one way or another, businesses rely on relationships with customers and industry professionals for success. In-person networking at trade shows, conferences and other events have been canceled and not likely to be available anytime soon. Explore how you can network virtually.
Some conference organizers and networking groups have taken their events online using digital platforms Zoom and GoToMeeting. Register and participate in industry or locally appropriate digital events to discover new people there.
Most business owners and leaders have a LinkedIn or Facebook profile, but few are regularly connecting and interacting.
Engage with your customers and prospective customers on digital social platforms where they turn out. If you keep promising yourself that you are finally going to use LinkedIn tools to build and enhance your relationship, now is the time to start.
The safety topic is a very large one. One of the best resources that I have found so far on planning for workplace safety is the Recovery Readiness: A How-To Guide to Reopening Your Workplace. It is a 34-page document that provides recommendations on building preparation, communication with the workforce, operational procedures, and other topics that you may not have considered.