Like you, Reach is a small business significantly impacted by COVID-19. Our revenue dropped to virtually zero, and we are looking for how to make the best of the situation. The last two weeks have challenged me to learn about new resources for small business survival and how we can best emerge from this crisis. I thought the information and ideas I have learned might be valuable to you.
Tap into your local Chamber of Commerce
The Tacoma WA Chamber of Commerce holds a webinar/teleconference every MWF for 1 hour. More than 600 businesses join the call. Guests from federal, state, and local government share what is happening with the crisis and what resources are available: loans, grants, rent & utility considerations, taxes, etc. A couple of takeaways: I now know what resources are available and where to go; it gives me real confidence that our government can come together when needed. I encourage you to find out what is happening with your local Chamber or Economic Development Board and what resources are available to you.
Consider applying for an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan -EIDL
As all counties in WA are declared disasters, small businesses are eligible to apply for the EIDL program. The loans are low interest with payments deferred for 12 months and terms out to 30 years. The purpose is to help small business recover from revenue loss. Although the process took some time to complete (the system is clearly overwhelmed with applicants), the flexibility of a low interest loan with great terms will give our business a great chance of recovering and thriving. If your county is declared a disaster you can apply at SBA.gov/disaster
Ensure you have a solid HR resource
Reach is part of a PEO (professional employer's organization) called TriNet. As our HR/payroll experts, they serve as an invaluable resource to make sure we best serve our employees and stay compliant with the law. They can help guide us in understanding unemployment options, paid sick leave, and paid family leave. TriNet also provides regular webinars during the crisis. Whether you are a member of a PEO or tied to an HR consultant, tap into their expertise to understand your employment options and how you can best serve your team.
Follow the website from your county Dept of Health
Our county's (Pierce) Dept of Health website serves as a great resource to understand what is happening locally and provides links to state and federal sites. It gives guidance for testing, considerations if symptoms appear, and mitigation efforts in our area. For many of your patients, you are likely the healthcare provider they see most often. Your guidance on where to go for the best information could be incredibly valuable to them. Your county DOH website might be that source of information.
Brainstorm with your Business Partners
Normally we don't have the time to talk with our business partners and just brainstorm. Now that I have a little more free time, I plan to talk with two partners each week for the next four weeks. I am excited about the ideas this will generate. For you, this could be your accountant, your lab, your computer guy, your insurance agent, or your Reach technician. What opportunities exist? How can these conversations help your business be better and more successful?
Learn from your Clients/Patients
Similar to talking with our business partners, we often do not take the time to talk with our clients. We now have the gift of time when likely both parties are available. So, I am going to try to contact one of you everyday. First to say, "Thanks" but also to ask, "What do you really like about Reach and what idea do you have to make our service even better?" I encourage you to try the same with your patients.
Use the time for personal growth
I have challenged everyone on our team to use this time while "Staying home and Staying Safe" to learn and grow. Pick two things every week to learn a little about. How will this make you more confident? How will this make you more valuable to your clients? How will this make you more successful? If this goes on for 5 weeks, it means you will be smarter about 10 things. How cool is that?
Stay in touch with your clients/patients
Sending an occasional email to your clients/patients will let them know you are thinking about them. By providing valuable information to them, they see you as a partner in their business or life. I encourage you to send emails to your patients. You can serve as a great COVID-19 resource, keep them in the loop on the things the team is doing now (could be fun), make sure they know everything you do keep patients safe, and let them know when you are ready to reopen for appointments.
I hope this information is helpful.
I would love to hear your thoughts or questions.
CEO and Founder