Sometimes, when you’re a mom, you can’t help but Mom. Today’s video started with a reminder to get some exercise, which is… hysterical coming from me. As I noted, my preferred workout could be described as the Run, Pant, Stagger triathlon. Especially when choking on pollen. So don’t expect any yoga videos on Wise Economy Workshop anytime soon. Or ever.
Today’s Good Ideas included a point back to the posts here about making sure that you are building intelligently continuous and unexpected-consequence-anticipating programs, as we discussed Monday and Tuesday of this week. I’m seeing more and more organizations, local, state and national, launching grant and loan initiatives. Make sure as you do that, that they are clear, as simple as possible, and not duplicating or competing with someone else’s program. Ain’t no one got time for that at this point.
The second Good Idea was a set of very practical, down-to-earth recommendations for your small business owners around lowering their burden of bills. Rhonda Abrams is a small business advisor who also writes for USA Today, and her daily newsletter had a great section yesterday. You should read it for yourself, but here’s a taste of her advice, which would be good to share with all of your businesses:
It’s easier to get deferrals or reductions on bills if you contact vendors BEFORE you are in trouble. This is your job this week.IDENTIFY YOUR BILLS: Collect the most recent statements of all accounts you pay regularly, not just monthly, but quarterly, semi-annually, and annually. These may be on your credit card bills—especially for services like website hosting and cloud-based applications. Contact the people you normally work with, such as a sales representative at a key vendor (for instance, in my business—a publishing company—it may be our book printer or distributor).MAKE CALLS AND SEND EMAILS: For each account, call your sales representative, agent, or customer service, and do the following: Explain your situation: “my business is temporarily shut/reduced due to the coronavirus” (I’d use the term “temporarily” so as to indicate you’re going to be back in business) and ask to either or both lower your rate or defer payment.UNDERSTAND YOUR VENDOR’S SITUATION: Some of your most important vendors are independent contractors and small businesses. They’re probably in the same boat as you. Try to pay their bills, meet their needs as much as possible. That big telecom company or website hosting company you use is in much better position to ride this out than they are.BE COURTEOUS: Your vendor may be in the same situation you are—especially if they are a small business too.NEGOTIATE: You don’t have to take the first “no” for an answer. Remember, a deferral or payment plan is also a good outcome for you now. Banks and big corporations have made public statements saying they’ll work with customers.WHO’S MOST IMPORTANT: Identify who are your most important vendors and start talking to them NOW. This is especially true if you have independent contractors you depend on. Make sure you keep a good working relationship. And figure out which vendors you could do without if your business changes dramatically, and pay those last.
Finally, your third Good Idea for today is to sign up for the newsletter of the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA.net). A lot of what I’m involved with in terms of building new connections, finding new solutions, advocating and generally getting information out is going to be done on or in partnership with AMIBA’s platforms. If that’s a new name for you, or you only know them as the Buy Local people, you might want to check out my interview with AMIBA’s new Executive Director this Friday at 12 PM Eastern / 9 AM Pacific. Click here to register to join the conversation.
(You could also become a member of AMIBA, if you like, but at minimum please do the free thing and join the newsletter!)
Thanks. I’m glad to see so many of you taking on the challenges of this moment. Go get ’em!