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Coronavirus: Recommended resources for business owners

Last updated: 3/24/20

It goes without saying that businesses of all sizes are adjusting and reacting to the sudden new reality mandated by Coronavirus. As a member of a larger community, we want members like you to know we’re here for you. 

We exist to empower members and give our collective network of independent businesses the edge they need to support growth and respond to the unexpected – now is no different. This collection of resources includes recommendations by leading experts, organizations, and business owners like you to help us all navigate today’s new challenges. From communicating with your staff and customers to searching for financial relief: find vetted, accurate, and misinformation-free answers to your member questions here.


For member business-owners:
Communication remains king

Now more than ever, communication is critical when it comes to leading your business and maintaining customer relationships in unusual and unexpected times.  Be proactive, be direct, and ensure that you can continue to answer the questions that need to be answered for customers and employees alike. 

  • Continue communicating with customers: Google reminds small business owners to update their hours and information: In addition to letting customers know if you’re open, you can also update your description to give them more information about service changes and precautions you’re taking 

  • Provide transparency to your management team: From updating your management team on a daily basis to staying agile with changes, communicating your approach to moving forward while being a part of the broader solution starts at the top. Follow these steps from Harvard Business Review to think through an effective plan with your management team. 

  • Share solutions with employees: The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) encourages business owners to remember empathy, reminding us “that the way you treat people during tough times” says a lot. As a business owner or manager. Whether you can work remotely or not, follow these 4 tips for a valuable perspective on supporting your most valuable resource: your people


New Update

Stay tuned into the (evolving) House Coronavirus Relief Bill for Small Businesses

How the bipartisan bill is amending the Family Medical Leave Act

A recent article in Inc.com has highlighted the most important changes made to the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The biggest proposed change is that the act now includes all companies with fewer than 500 employees (eliminating the 50 employee floor that the FMLA has), but there are still limitations. Read a concise overview by an employment attorney at the link below.

3/19/20 Update: President Trump has signed the latest coronavirus aid package into Law as of 3/18/20 to support paid sick and family leave, as well as unemployment and food security benefits. Efforts are already underway to release a third, larger relief measure to inject money into our hard hit economies. 

Employment attorney Jon Hyman summarized the benefits and changes as follows

  1. It amends the definition of employee to anyone who has been employed by an employer for at least 30 days.

  2. It changes the definition of employer from “50 or more employees” to “fewer than 500 employees.”

  3. It expands the definition of parent to include foster and adoptive parents, step-parents, parents of a domestic partner, parental in-laws, guardians, and those who stood in loco parentis.

  4. It provides leave to provide care for a family member who is under a coronavirus-related quarantine

  5. And more…

Read more about it at Inc.com

Consider how COVID-19 could influence your health benefit plans
Legal insights that could influence your HR approach

While the U.S. Government is in the process of passing new legislation to open up paid time off for workers across the country, many small businesses are wondering what they can do now. This helpful resource covers how the government is removing barriers to coverage, what employers should do regarding benefits, and how employers can help in other ways. Read more about it at Benefitslawadvisor.com


Stay aware of disaster relief lending solutions
For members concerned about paying employees & affording rent

A number of states have declared a ‘disaster’ situation regarding the Coronavirus. While the situation shouldn’t be downplayed, try not to let this alarm you. The ‘Disaster’ designation is made by the Government to unlock a number of previously unavailable resources to businesses like yours, including access to low-interest loans (with extended payment terms) exporting assistance, Government contracting, and more.  It covers:

  • How barriers to coverage are being removed for fully-insured, self-insured, and high-deductible plans
  • Employer recommended actions
  • Additional ways to help your employees

Wondering about the process for accessing the SBA’s Coronavirus (Covid-19) Disaster Relief Lending? Learn more at SBA.gov  

3/24/20 Update: For a full list of regularly updated resources available to you – visit the Small Business Administration (SBA) website directly You can also find the proper SBA loan forms here and a presentation summarizing SBA Disaster Recovery Loans here.


Looking for more general advice?

From getting creative to leading with compassion, one of America’s most well known entrepreneurs has some advice

Mark Cuban  – the billionaire ‘Shark Tank’ entrepreneur – recently answered questions from business owners on Linkedin like on how to “Weather the Storm”. From maintaining transparency to telling your customers how they can still spend money with you: Cuban’s advice applies to a broad spectrum of our members. Read more about it on Inc.com


Get some panic-free pandemic perspective (in a podcast) 

Wondering what you can believe and what you can’t? Coronavirus: Fact vs Fiction by Dr. Sanjay Gupta will help you make sense of the headlines, get an expert perspective, and stay sane while doing it.  With short episodes and expertly vetted advice – this podcast is an excellent resource for business owners to manage the hysteria, stay calm, and carry on


What you can expect from us

We exist for you. The above resources have been carefully selected to help you answer questions and field concerns in the coming days. We remain here to support every member in their efforts to stay productive, proactive, and positive

In the coming days and weeks, we will continue to provide helpful, hysteria-free content on topics relevant to your business, your people, and your customers. 

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