The CoVid Chronicles 5:
"I'm From the Government. I'm Here to Help You"
April 15 2020
From our vantage point in semi-rural Ontario, we have followed the daily communiqués from our Prime Minister and the Premier. Generally, they have received good marks for their responses to an unprecedented event. There are emergency response playbooks but when it comes to real-time execution, there always unforeseen and unintended consequences. This is one of them:
The CBC article refers to the kind of small businesses I talked about in Chronicle #4 (The Lone Wolf Entrepreneur). At the time of this writing, there are three programs in place:
This is a wage subsidy, based on a decline in business revenue. The program allows you to keep paying your employees and later claim reimbursement. If you have no employees at the moment, this is not for you.
This is a wage subsidy program for employees and self-employed individuals, who have been without employment income as a result of the closure of their non-essential employer’s business. As a self-employed, sole proprietor, you may be eligible for this one.
This loan program, delivered through Canada’s big banks, provides up to $40,000 in interest-free loans, 25% of which is forgive-able if repaid on time, to meet operating expenses during the CoVid crisis. One of the qualifications is a minimum threshold annual payroll of $50,000. In spite of that, if you have a business bank account, you should talk to your banker about your situation and how the bank can help you.
You should make it your business to learn the details of each of these programs and, if you think they apply to you, go ahead. If you’re not sure, here are some sources:
- Ontario Chamber of Commerce: https://occ.ca/covid19/
- Canadian Federation of Independent Business: https://www.cfib-fcei.ca/en/small-business-resources-dealing-covid-19
- Small Business Advisory Centre: https://smallbizcentre.ca/
- Your bank
As we have discussed in previous issues, now is the time to deep-think your strategy while enduring this enforced pause and what your business will look like in the new era. In a sense, the re-boot will be like starting a new business. Will the market for your products and services be the same in customer preferences and demand level? Will your resources and business model take full advantage of the post-shutdown climate?
Here is a partial checklist for survival and re-launch:
- Make sure all current expenses are kept to a minimum
- Of you owe rent or other business expenses, talk to your creditors and work with them through the crisis
- Explore and apply for any subsidies, loans and benefits for which you are eligible
- Review your business plan with respect to marketing and financial projections. Revise as necessary
- Reach out to your existing customers through regular email contact, sharing valuable information relating to your goods or services
- Tune up your website, Facebook page and other social media platforms to make sure they reflect your image and marketing message, strongly and consistently
- Map out a detailed plan, ramping up to full capacity post-crisis
- Keep thinking about business; that’s part of your job. Write down your ideas and make them work
- Stay positive
- Stay Healthy
Working on your business every day will help you stay same and distract you from pointless worry. If you follow this path you may actually spend more time analyzing and planning your business than you did when it was originally launched.
It is my belief that thorough planning is not one of the causes of business failure.