The Main Street Lending Program

There is no doubt that the COVID-19 situation seems to change with each and every day.  The disruption and chaos that the pandemic has injected into both daily life and business is obvious.  Just as it is often difficult to keep track of the ebbs and flows of the pandemic, the same can be stated for keeping up to speed on the government’s response and what options exist to assist companies of all sizes.   In this article, we’ll turn our attention to an overlooked area of the government’s pandemic response and how businesses can use a whole new lending platform to navigate the choppy waters.  As the pandemic continues, you will want to be aware of the main street lending program, which is a whole new lending platform.  It was designed for businesses that were financially sound prior to the pandemic.  Authorized under the CARE Act, the main street lending program is quite attractive for an array of reasons.  Let’s take a … [Read more...]

Why Does Your Business Need Google Reviews?

In today’s business climate, reviews are the differentiator.  Years ago, people commonly asked for references when they were vetting a product or service.  But these days when people are searching for a local business to work with, they are likely to conduct research on their own and read online reviews.  Google reviews can give businesses a big credibility boost without having to spend a dime.  Let’s take a look at some of the key benefits. Increased Credibility & Trust According to statistics, approximately 91% of consumers read reviews to determine credibility of a local business.  In fact, 84% of consumers say the positive reviews have helped them gain trust.  Without the reviews, that level of trust would not have been established.  Needless to say, people trust Google.  The fact that these reviews are on a 3rd party website increases transparency.  These reviews have much higher value than testimonials posted on the … [Read more...]

Back to Business After the COVID-19 Pandemic

COVID-19 has clearly shown that not having a robust global system for dealing with disease and pandemics comes with a hefty price tag.  Despite our technological advances and the complexity of our society, disease can instantly change the course of history.  In the case of the Covid-19 economic crisis, the price tag will no doubt be in the trillions.  You cannot undo what has happened, but you can focus on what to do when the pandemic is over and life slowly returns to normal.  In his recent article, “How to Hit the Ground Running After the Pandemic,” author Geoffrey James explores what businesses need to do to jump start their operations once the pandemic is in the history books. We know that the pandemic will eventually end and we can be confident that the economy will eventually rebound.  Whenever that happens, business owners need to be ready to charge back in.   Almost everything about this economic downturn is unique.  Take, for example, the fact that the U.S. has just … [Read more...]

COVID-19 Advice for Hospitality Businesses

Clearly, some industries are taking a bigger hit from COVID-19 than others.  Any industry that requires a great deal of interaction with the public, or where people gather in large groups, are obviously having very tough times.  Movie theaters and restaurants, for example, have essentially gone dark.  Some restaurants are easing the bloodletting a bit by providing delivery, but in the vast majority of cases, revenue pales in comparison to what it was prior to the pandemic.  While there is no doubt that the hospitality industry is suffering right now, business owners should understand that there are concrete steps they can take now to improve their odds of surviving the pandemic.  In this article, we’ll explore a few of these key ideas. One of the areas every decision maker and business owner in the hospitality industry should be thinking about right now is staff.  During a recent industry roundtable discussion, John Howe, chairman of the … [Read more...]

Dealing with COVID-19’s Economic Impact: Planning and Communication are Key

At the top of the list that you should have to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic is to be proactive.  Now is the time to think about how to best position your business after the economy has returned to something near normal.  Now is not the time for self-pity.  In fact, not preparing for the relaunch of the economy will cost you. In author David Finkel’s recent Inc. article “10 Things Every Small-Business Owner Needs to Do to Deal with the Impact of COVID-19 on Their Business,” he outlines 10 key steps business owners should take immediately.  Finkel has written 12 business books and is CEO of Maui Mastermind business coaching company. There is no way of knowing how long the COVID-19 fueled economic downturn will last, and that means time is of the essence.  Business owners, regardless of their particular sector, need to prepare as though the economy could relaunch tomorrow. Finkel’s 10 Things:  Take steps to protect your staff and customers from getting sick. Tell your … [Read more...]

How to Make Remote Teams Accountable

One of the many, many changes that COVID-19 has ushered in is the extreme uptick in people working remotely.  Social distancing has made working from home a necessity for millions.  The technology that is allowing remote working to take place has matured greatly in the last decade.  Today, it is possible for team members to work from virtually any location.  Of course, as with most technologies, there is a potential downside.  Accountability can become a significant challenge with remote workers.  Of course, the more remote workers you have at a given time, the greater the potential challenges will be.  Many businesses are struggling with the phenomenon of remote working, as it is something new for them.  Under normal circumstances, large numbers of employees working remotely simply wouldn’t happen.  In a recent article, “The Right Way to Keep Your Remote Team Accountable,” author Elise Keith, Co-Founder and CEO of Lucid … [Read more...]

Focus, Focus, Focus

There is one question at the forefront of the vast majority of businesses around the globe these days - "what steps do I need to take to stay in business until the COVID-19 pandemic is over or recedes?".   There is no doubt about it, this is the big question of the day.  The global economic structure hasn’t seen this much uncertainty since WWII, and some would argue that we’ve never seen this level of global economic disruption.  Knowing what steps you need to take to keep your business up and running is of paramount importance.  In short, business owners must be sure that their businesses are in good shape.  You should take every step possible to position yourself for when the economy is back up and running at full steam.  The current level of chaos and uncertainty will not last forever and, as a business owner, you need to focus on getting your house in good order. Now is not a time to take a vacation - even if going somewhere was possible.  Instead, you should be focused … [Read more...]

Survive the COVID-19 period by asking these questions about your business

Developing Your 90-Day Plan The more laser-like your focus, the better the chance your business will survive this pandemic.  View the forced downtime triggered by the pandemic as an opportunity to work on potentially neglected aspects of your business.  Summed up another way, now is the time for dynamic and focused action.  In this article, we’ll address what you can do to help your business survive this unusual time period.  Reevaluating Your Business This is the time to: - step back and look at every aspect of your business, including your processes. - find new ways of doing things. - make your business more efficient, more effective, and more competitive. Scott Bushkie, Founder and President of Cornerstone Business Services, recommended that business owners create 90-day plans where they look for ways to innovate.  This strategic plan should focus on what they are going to do and what they want to accomplish.  It is critical that there is an actual plan that … [Read more...]

6 Tips and 90 Days to Protect Your Business

The April 2020 COVID-19 centered article, by Inc. contributor Brian Hamilton, “6 Actions to Take in the Next 90 Days to Save Your Business,” isn’t pulling any punches.  Hamilton believes that the next 90-days could be make or break days for business owners looking to navigate the choppy waters of the COVID-19 pandemic.  His article provides readers with 6 actions they should take now to survive the economic fallout of the pandemic.  Tip #1 Vigorously Control What You Can Hamilton’s first tip is to “Vigorously control what you can.  Vigorously ignore what you can’t control.”  As Hamilton points out, you can’t control the economy; instead, you need to focus on what you can control.  His view is that there has never been a more important time to focus, “More than ever, you’ll need to go to war with things within your control.”  Now is the time to exercise control. Tip #2 Guard Morale During tough economic times, employee morale can be a real issue.  This brings us to … [Read more...]

Tips for Telework

Rajshree Agarwal, Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland, explores how to get the most out of telework in her April 20th, 2020 Forbes article “Three Keys to Engaged, Productive Telework Teams”.  This timely article covers some very important territory for many companies dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.  We explore Agarwal’s key points so that you can help your team get the most out of telework. Agarwal notes that people may shy away from sharing personal information and feelings while in the office.  But via video conferencing, the story can be different.  This is one reasons it is necessary for employers to keep in mind that the dynamic between you and your employees is often different when using video conferencing.  This will also be the case when your employees speak with one another.  She prudently cautions business owners against taking a “business-as-usual” approach to the COVID-19 situation, as it can make them look both unnecessarily … [Read more...]