We love small businesses, creative forces, and hard workers, and want you to be positive and optimistic.

We look forward to the day coming soon when there is a rise in small business because you had a moment of stillness and creativity.

Your time is coming, and until then we will work through the unsettling parts and focus on supporting each other.

We’re right here with you, contributing information and resources to make your journey at this time feel smoother, and more hopeful.

Resources are being added regularly – keep checking back. Please share this information!

__________________________________________________________________________

 

UPDATED August 12, 2020 

UC Health is offering accurate antibody testing in many Colorado communities.  Click here to learn more.

Joy 4-All Hotline – callers can hear recorded jokes, poems, stories, and daily doses of kindness just by making a phone call!  Created by students with those in isolation in mind. 877-569-4255.

The Grant Station website has an enormous number of available grants. Use their filter to narrow down your search.

Colorado Department of Economic Development has produced an impressive spreadsheet with links of economic resources (deferral, credit card/line of credit, grants, loans etc.).

PPP Loan Forgiveness – projected to be 3-5 months away before being sorted out.  The forgiveness application form is here. If you need assistance with the application, call Epiphany Financial at (303) 359-7041.

If you are unemployed and in the last 18 months were self-employed and responsible to pay taxes on your income, you should file for expanded unemployment benefits called Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.

UPDATED: Airline Cancellation and Change Policies.  You can search by airline here.

UPDATED: Colorado Music Relief Fund is OPEN until September 30th. Click here to submit.

Weld and Larimer Counties Colorado Relief Fund is closed.

The Intellihelp movement is making things happen for those who are truly in need of basic essentials. This is your opportunity to give even the smallest items to people in serious need.  Check them out at the link above or at their Facebook page (click on the Discussion tab on the left to read how it works and what the rules are).

This is for everyone – you can give or you can receive.

NEW:  How To Apply for Loan Forgiveness and What You Need to Know

Some recent new developments that you may or may not be aware of:

Loan Forgiveness Application

1-If you received an EIDL Advance, this amount will be deducted from the amount of your PPP loan that will be forgiven.

2-S-Corp owners cannot pay themselves more than the weekly average they were paid in 2019!  This is big news to a lot of our clients.

3-Eligible expenses include gross wages, state unemployment tax, health insurance and retirement benefits paid during the 8 weeks (must be at least 75% of loan amount) and rent, mortgage interest and utilities paid during the 8 weeks that started on the date the PPP loan proceeds were received.

4-The current IRS ruling says that although the loan forgiveness is “non-taxable”, the expenses paid with those funds are not deductible.  The net effect is that any PPP loan amount forgiven will be treated as taxable income.  You will want to keep this in mind during year-end tax planning.

If you have any questions about any of these items or would like help with payroll calculations or completing your loan forgiveness applications, please contact our trusted financial partners at Epiphany Financial:   Denise Imansepahi  303-359-7041.

The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. PPP provides forgivable loans of up to $10 million for costs incurred from February 15, 2020 to June 30, 2020. Loans can be used for payroll, business rent, business mortgage interest, or business-related utilities.

NOTE: Loans are up to 2.5 times the borrower’s average monthly payroll costs.  For example, if you draw a salary of $2000 per month, you are eligible for up to $5000 (2000 x 2.5).

Where to apply:  go to your bank online and find their COVID-19 banner or button, or a link for Paycheck Protection Program.  Follow your bank’s online process from there.

Loan Details and Who Can Apply

Who is Eligible: small businesses, non-profits, veterans organizations, tribal businesses, ESOPs and cooperatives with less than 500 employees, sole proprietors, self-employed individuals, and independent contractors.

If all employees are kept on payroll for eight weeks, SBA will forgive the portion of the loans used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities. Up to 100 percent of the loan is forgivable.

  1. Gather the necessary materials such as payroll tax filings, proof of lease payments, proof of mortgage payments, and proof of utility payments.
  2. Get in contact with your accountant and/or bank that pays out your business’s payroll so you have payroll information.
  3. Apply through your bank.

Learn more here.

Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Securities Act (CARES) includes expanding unemployment to self-employed workers and independent contractors.

The rate of state pay may be less for self-employed, independent contractors, and freelance workers.

Not everyone who is self-employed will qualify for unemployment, but it does make it an option for many more people. Also eligible for unemployment: anyone who becomes sick and is ordered to be quarantined.

To learn what benefits may be available to you, start here (all states)

For Colorado specifically, click here.

Are you eligible?  Click here. 

Unemployment Claims Benefits Estimator

You will need to report your hours worked and profits or gross earnings for the hours worked each week when you request payment, so be sure to keep track of all of your hours and earnings. You must also maintain your eligibility by meeting all the requirements in order to be paid benefits.

SELF-EMPLOYED, SOLE PROPRIETORS, INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS CAN APPLY FOR UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS BEGINNING ON APRIL 10.  The form you fill out has not been modified for self-employed persons as of this time, so should you try to apply before April 10 you’ll be asked some questions that are difficult to answer due to you not being a traditional “employee” filing for unemployment. Interested to see if the form changes on April 10 to include relevant questions for self-employed etc. persons.

What it is:This advance will provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. Funds will be made available following a successful application. This loan advance will not have to be repaid.

Most Important Links:

SBA COVID-19 website page with details

EIDL Advance Loan Information

Submit your application on-line directly to the SBA  

 About SBA:

Created in 1953, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) helps small business owners and entrepreneurs pursue the American dream. The SBA is the only cabinet-level federal agency fully dedicated to small business and provides counseling, capital, and contracting expertise as the nation’s only go-to resource and voice for small businesses.

 

 

Denver Economic Development & Opportunity is working to connect the business community to the most appropriate resources in the state and region. The first step is to let them know how your business is being impacted by filling out this form.  This is for businesses in the City and County of Denver ONLY.

Revolving Loan Fund, Microlending Program, and More Loans and Information here. Note the information on “Ideal Applicant Profile”.

What do you need most? Tell us what will make a difference for you.

We know a lot about web, email marketing, social media, writing and more. Clever and useful ideas abound here at Six Degrees Studio and one or two is certain to help you or your business.

We’re offering no-charge brainstorm sessions, digital infrastructure ideas, email marketing tips and tricks, and will be happy to connect you with the outstanding professionals we know, like, and trust.

Everyone is opening their hearts and minds to others right now – don’t be shy about telling us how we can be of most help to you.  Pick up the phone to start the conversation:  303.246.4052 or kathy@sixdegreesstudio.com.

 

Almost all businesses carry insurance and for many, business interruption insurance exists within their policy. You should check with your insurance provider to understand your coverage and what, if any, claims you may have.

Business interruption insurance is not sold as a separate policy but is an add-on to an existing insurance policy. Business interruption insurance premiums (or at least the additional cost of the rider) are tax-deductible as ordinary business expenses.

This type of policy pays out only if the cause of the business income loss is covered in the underlying property/casualty policy. The amount payable is usually based on the past financial records of the business.

This type of insurance also covers operating expenses, a move to a temporary location if necessary, payroll, taxes, and loan payments.If you have not reviewed your current policy, please do so.

You may have options in your policy that cover these types of catastrophic occurrences.

 

Credit: Colorado SBCD

 

 

The IRS has established a special section focused on steps to help taxpayers, businesses and others affected by the coronavirus.  Go to the webpage here.

 

 

 

The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment website provides all the information regarding unemployment benefits, wage claims, and (for some workers) availability of paid sick leave.

Unemployment benefits are for 26 weeks and might include an additional 13 weeks and the federal government $600 a week on top of state unemployment benefits. The rate of state pay may be less for self-employed, independent contractors, and freelance workers.

Not everyone who is self-employed will qualify for unemployment, but it does make it an option for many more people. Also eligible for unemployment: anyone who becomes sick and is ordered to be quarantined.

To learn what benefits may be available to you, start here (all states)

For Colorado specifically, click here.

Are you eligible?  Click here. 

Unemployment Claims Benefits Estimator

You will need to report your hours worked and profits or gross earnings for the hours worked each week when you request payment, so be sure to keep track of all of your hours and earnings. You must also maintain your eligibility by meeting all the requirements in order to be paid benefits.

SELF-EMPLOYED, SOLE PROPRIETORS, INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS CAN APPLY FOR UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS BEGINNING ON APRIL 10

For those who lost jobs as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and wouldn’t usually qualify for unemployment benefits owing to insufficient work history, the CARES Act effectively waives such work history requirements and allows those workers to receive unemployment benefits.

Options for getting health insurance if you’ve recently lost your job are presented in this CNN article.

Important things to do if you’ve lost your job.

 

Download this information-rich brochure from Denver SBDC. On pages 6 – 8 you’ll see tables on Work-Share, Colorado Health Emergency Leave with Pay, Unemployment Insurance, Emergency Paid Sick-Leave Act, and Emergency and Family Medical Leave Act.

On page 8 of the brochure the section called Important Resources is especially helpful.

 

 

Temporary Rental and Utility Assistance Program for Denver residents who are facing a housing crisis or hardship to help prevent eviction or displacement.

Eviction Assistance

We’re working to find resources for Rent Assistance programs in cities outside of Denver.

Food Bank of the Rockies is doing everything possible to continue distributing food to people in need. For food assistance, to send a gift, or to volunteer – click here.

Uninsured (no healthcare insurance): Deadline Extended to April 30. Colorado will open a special enrollment period through April 30, 2020 in which uninsured residents can enroll for a state insurance plan.

Residents who lose their job and employer-based health insurance coverage can apply here: Connect for Health Colorado.

Health First Colorado (Colorado’s Medicaid Program) is public health insurance for Coloradans who qualify. You may qualify if you fall under one of the following categories and meet the income guidelines:

  • Children ages 0-18 with household income under 260% Federal Poverty Level (FPL)
  • Pregnant women, over the age of 19, whose household income is under 260% FPL
  • Parents and Caretaker Relatives (you must have a dependent child) whose household income does not exceed 133% FPL
  • Adults without dependent children whose household income does not exceed 133% FPL

Apply here.

2-1-1 serves as one central location where people can access over 7,500 health and human service resources.

Coloradans can reach 2-1-1 Colorado online at 211Colorado.org, by dialing 2-1-1 or texting your zip code to 898-211. Do not call 911 for COVID-19 questions unless it is a medical emergency.

2-1-1 provides information on resources such as:

  • Housing, including shelters and transitional services
  • Rent and utility assistance
  • Applying for SNAP benefits by phone
  • Childcare
  • Food/meals
  • Transportation
  • Clothing/personal/household needs
  • Mental health and substance use disorders
  • Employment
  • Education
  • Medical clinics
  • Dental clinic
  • Other government/economic services

Callers may experience long wait times, as demand for information is high.

2-1-1 and CO HELP cannot offer medical advice or assistance. If you are having a medical emergency, call 911.

 

Colorado PEAK is an online service for Coloradans to screen and apply for a variety of assistance programs including Colorado Works, temporary assistance for needy families.

The need for child care for essential workers is being met!

UPDATE April 2, 2020: Beginning immediately, the state will extend a full tuition credit to all essential workers identified in Updated Public Health Order 20-24 issued by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. This 100% tuition credit will provide child care to all essential workers until May 17. The list of essential workers who will be covered by this care, as outlined in the order, includes:

  • Health Care Operations
  • Critical Infrastructure
  • Critical Manufacturing
  • Critical Retail
  • Critical Services
  • News Media
  • Financial Institutions
  • Providers of Basic Necessities to Economically Disadvantaged Populations
  • Construction
  • Defense
  • Critical Services Necessary to Maintain the Safety, Sanitation and Critical Operations of Residences o
  • Other Critical Businesses
  • Vendors that Provide Critical Services or Products, Including Logistics and Technology Support, Child Care and Services

Colorado Shines

Phone (toll free): 1-877-338-CARE (2273)

Email: childcarereferrals@unitedwaydenver.org

Text “child care referrals” to 898-211

Complete the child care online intake form

Finding ways to focus on your emotional health is important. Use web and mobile tools to help you feel better and stay strong.

Mental Health Center of Denver provides myStrength – custom resources to improve your mood and overcome the challenges you face. Track your health, enjoy interactive activities, and become inspired by quotes and videos.

Healthier Colorado

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

COVID-19 Mental Health Resource Hub

Mental Health of Colorado

Colorado Crisis Services provides free, confidential, professional and immediate support for any mental health, substance use or emotional concern, 24/7/365. Call 1-844-493-TALK (8255) or text TALK to 38255 to speak to a trained professional. Services are free.

Mental Health America has an incredible webpage packed with resources including financial support, webinars, live events and workshops, and mental health health information for disease outbreaks. The resources on this page are thoughtful and well organized.

Headspace is an outstanding mobile app providing guided meditation.  It has over 31 million (!) subscribers. Quiet the mind and calm your spirit through a huge variety of guided meditations – starting with one minute and going up from there. The app has a huge library of meditations (running, breathing, sleep, stress, refresh, unwind, focus, anxiety, movement, and just appreciating life). 

Yale University’s most popular course ever – The Science of Well-Being (otherwise know as the “Happiness” course) – is now FREE.  The course engages you in a series of challenges designed to increase your own happiness and build more productive habits.  The course is offered here.

A trauma psychologist weighs in on the risks of “motivational pressure” during the pandemic. Read this insightful (and comforting) article here.

National Endowment for the Arts Grant Fund  APPLICATIONS ARE CLOSED

NEW! Arts Through It AllWebsite is live (support the arts if you can!)

Denver Arts and Venues has packed a lot of outstanding resources into their Cultural Resources page including Bonfils Stanton Foundation Emergency funding for arts and culture organizations, Denver Actors Emergency Artists Relief Fund, and Denver Metro Area Artist Relief Fund. Click here for all the information.

Also see Colorado Artists Relief Fund in next tab.

For general information and lots of valuable links click here.

Emergency resources for artists:

Musicians

Additional Resources:

Don’t forget to reach out to your local industry groups, like the Ad Club ColoradoColorado Film & Video Association, IATSE – Local 7, SAG-AFTRA Colorado, and Women in Film and Media Colorado to stay in touch with your community (see our longer list of Industry Resources).

More! Arts and Creative Industries Resources

Freelance Artist Resources – an aggregated resource specifically designed to serve freelance artists, and those interested in supporting the independent artist community. Free resources, opportunities, and financial relief options available to artists of all disciplines.

 

NEW! Colorado Artist Relief Fund is OPEN until April 26. Click here to submit.

NEW! Weld and Larimer Counties Colorado Relief Fund – Musicians and Music Industry workers residing in Weld and Larimer counties should apply for funding through Bohemian Foundation’s NOCO Music Relief Fund in lieu of applying to the CO Artist Relief Fund.

En español

$190,000 in total grant funds to be disbursed through Denver Arts & Venues’ IMAGINE 2020 Artist Assistance Fund and RedLine’s INSITE FUND: Artist Relief Fund. These funds will support individual artists who are experiencing immediate, unforeseen emergency needs due to COVID-19.

The funds will provide grants of up to $1,000 to individual artists who live in Denver and within an 80-mile radius of Denver (including Colorado Springs and Fort Collins) whose incomes are being adversely affected due to cancellation of events, classes, performances, and other creative work.

Funding will be made available for artists that have ongoing creative endeavors through multiple disciplines including visual, digital, film, music, performing, teaching, etc.

This program will prioritize lower-income artists and artists who have no other source of income.

Open to all self-identifying artists in multiple disciplines whose income has been impacted by the Coronavirus and who need assistance with basic expenses such as food, rent, medical costs, and childcare.

These grants can be used for (but are not limited to):

  • Recouping financial losses due to cancelled events:
    • Performances in all performing arts disciplines
    • Work in creative disciplines
    • Readings, panels, and speaking opportunities
  • Reimbursement for travel expenses related to creative work that was paid for by the artist including:
    • Attending conferences and convenings that have been cancelled
    • Artist Residencies Touring
  • Offsetting loss of income for teaching artists who could not teach during this time because of cancelled classes and school closures

Requirements:

Individual artists must live in the City and County of Denver or within an 80-mile radius of Denver (including Colorado Springs and Fort Collins).  Supporting documentation will be required on the application

Timeline:

  • Denver Arts & Venues in partnership with the Denver Commission on Cultural Affairs will review applications on a rolling basis, each week
  • Once an application is received, notifications will be sent out within 7-10 days
  • A personal W-9 from the grantee will be required to process payment
  • Funding will be provided to approved applicants within 30-40 days

 

Credit: Denver Arts and Venues

 

 

Help Now Colorado is providing resources for volunteers and also for businesses in need of funding.

The Funding Relief Application and guidelines is here.

How to apply for Nonprofit relief funds – excellent resource!

 

NEW:  Douglas County Community Foundation COVID-19 Recovery Fund

Priorities include, but are not limited to, food banks, food delivery, health care, housing, mental health, workforce development centers and COVID-19 prevention communications. Priority will also be given to the most vulnerable populations in our community, including seniors, those with disabilities, immune-compromised populations and those living in poverty. Grants may be used for operations or delivery of services.

For all below you can help by donating or you can apply to receive assistance.

ROC (Restaurant Opportunities Centers) Disaster Relief Fund has set a target of $500,000 for its emergency relief fund, which seeks to help documented and undocumented restaurant workers who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic. To apply click here.

Another Round, Another Rally is offering $500 grants to those who have lost jobs or hours. You can apply here online, and for aid in Spanish by telephone Mon – Fri 6:30am to 9:30pm EST at 480-702-1669.

United States Bartenders’ Guild has a Bartender Emergency Assistance Program where individuals can apply for financial relief and others can donate to the program.

To apply, click here.  Eligibility requirements and selection criteria are on the application page.

Southern Smoke Foundation provides funding to individuals in the food and beverage industry who are in crisis.  Applications are only through laptop, desktop, or tablet (not mobile devices), and the application process is completely anonymous.

Spill The Dish gives voice to restaurant and other service workers. Select your state from this page to see what resources are available.

4.15.2020 UPDATE: New Belgium Bar & Restaurant Relief Fund supports food and beverage communities in their hometowns of Fort Collins, CO and Asheville, NC.  They are committed to matching donations up to $50,000, and are giving grants for food and beverage employees who have been laid off or furloughed. The application is currently closed after first round funding was distributed. They are working to raise more funding and plan to reopen the grant applications.  Check back here.

One Fair Wage is supporting workers in crisis by providing cash assistance to restaurant workers, car service drivers, delivery workers, personal service workers, and more who need the money they aren’t getting to survive. Their Intake Form is here. 

Yelp recently unveiled $25 million in relief for local businesses in partnership with GoFundMe. The goal is to provide a fast and simple way for independent businesses to get donations through their Yelp pages, along with up to $1 million in total matching grants from the Yelp Foundation and GoFundMe.

Details for the Yelp/GoFundMe initiative are here.

Yelp Official Blog has a resource-rich page for businesses complete with information on all the free upgrades they are offering, ideas and tips for restaurants, using Yelp to share updates, how to update your Yelp page, and more.

The GoFundMe Small Business Relief campaign is here.

Gig Workers Collective has a resources page filled with assistance programs, free offers (i.e. Comcast is offering 2 months free internet to low-income applicants) and (offering donations to hourly workers who won’t get paid during the crisis). Great information on this one.

The James Beard Foundation Food and Beverage Industry Relief Fund provides critical financial assistance to small, independent restaurants that, due to COVID-19, have an immediate need for funds to pay set operating expenses and keep from going out of business. They are gathering support from corporate, foundation, and individual donors to provide micro-grants to independent food and beverage businesses in need.

4.15.2020 UPDATE: the foundation is still not distributing funds or accepting applications. Here’s an FAQs page giving more information.

 

Companies ARE hiring! Here are resources:

Connecting Colorado

Andrew Hudson’s Jobs List

State of Colorado Jobs Opportunities

Built in Colorado – tech Jobs, including Internships, Project Management, Legal, Sales, Marketing and classic technology engineering and coding jobs

Linkedin – powerful jobs portal for every industry. The number and variety of jobs on Linkedin is amazing.

Your Workforce Center – strives to make sure that every Colorado business has access to a skilled workforce and every Coloradan has access to meaningful employment.

COtalentnetwork – geared toward the technology sector for now, but check back). Scroll down the landing page for Job Seekers, Looking to Hire, and a robust Resources area with valuable links to job sources in Colorado.

Flexjobs – remote and flexible jobs that are full-time and part-time.

List of statewide job resources (our own compilation developed through our pro-bono work mentoring young adults). This list isn’t fully up to date (we’re working on it!).

Colorado Landscape Jobs (scroll all the way to the bottom of the page to see the button for jobs)

2-1-1 Colorado is hiring in order to reduce wait times and meet Coloradans’ needs.

 

So many resources – seriously, the entire Choose Colorado page is packed with excellent resources and important information. Definitely worth perusing if not for yourself perhaps for someone else. Check it out here.

Eviction Assistance

Layoff Assistance

Express Bridge Loans for business

Economic Injury Disaster Loans

Assistance for Workers and families

 

 

 

 

From Facebook:  “We know that your business may be experiencing disruptions resulting from the global outbreak of COVID-19. We’ve heard that a little financial support can go a long way, so we are offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits to help during this challenging time.”

Applications are closed for the United States at this time. A new round is expected soon.  Here’s how it works and where you can sign up for updates from Facebook.

Yelp recently unveiled $25 million in relief for local businesses in partnership with GoFundMe. The goal is to provide a fast and simple way for independent businesses to get donations through their Yelp pages, along with up to $1 million in total matching grants from the Yelp Foundation and GoFundMe.

Details for the Yelp/GoFundMe initiative are here.

Yelp Official Blog has a resource-rich page for businesses complete with information on all the free upgrades they are offering, ideas and tips for restaurants, using Yelp to share updates, how to update your Yelp page, and more.

The GoFundMe Small Business Relief campaign is here.

GoFundMe, Yelp, and Intuit QuickBooks have pledged to donate up to $1.5 million in donations into the GoFundMe.org Small Business Relief Fund. Until that Fund is depleted, GoFundMe.org will continue issuing $500 matching grants to qualifying businesses. Additional companies are expected to contribute to this Fund in the coming weeks, in order to provide much needed aid to even more businesses across the country.

See if your business is eligible.

Kiva is a non-profit that expands access to capital for entrepreneurs around the world. Zero-interest loans of up to $15,000 are available. Details here.

During a time when consumer spending will undoubtedly be lower, different industries will be impacted in different ways. Regardless of what type of business you have, you will feel the effects of COVID-19 in your lives and in your business.

What can you do as a business owner to continue to grow your business when people are worried and uncertain? Here are some great tips from SHELeads Group on being active in your own marketing:

Don’t assume everyone will stop buying. Assuming no one will buy now is a mistake. Some people will still buy, and those who do will know how important it is to buy to support the local economy. Not everyone is being laid off temporarily. Even for those who will struggle financially, they still need goods and services and may be looking for creative ways to save money on what they need.

People may have extra time to work on or finish things they have procrastinated on. Many times, people are more limited on time than money. Think of what your target market may have been procrastinating to get done that you can help them with.

People are going to be more aware of their budgets, and for some businesses that can work in their favor. Perhaps they’re looking at how they can save money to help decrease their monthly budget and will be more willing to hear the benefits of shopping for better pricing. For example, if you are a mortgage lender, reach out to people about refinancing to lower their monthly payments.

People need resources. During a tough time, people need extra information and resources. Even if they don’t need your services or products right now, they will appreciate you being a resource to refer them to things they need, and it will keep you top of mind.

Credit: Beth Boen, SHELeads Group and Lori DuBois, Marketing Troubadour

 

 

When the economy does turn back around, you don’t want your business to have lost touch and been silent. People will remember who helped them out, who stayed in touch, and who had the best customer service and customer care during this time. If you stay in front of people in a non-sales-y way, their trust in you increases.

Identify new opportunities and market them now. There is nothing wrong with opening up new possibilities. For example, if you are an professional organizer, someone now be working from home realizes their make-shift office area is a disaster area and they need a virtual walkthrough of their space with you for advice and recommendations. Consider running a special to help newly remote workers get their home office area organized and productive.

Offer online classes and trainings. While people are self-isolating, they may have more opportunities to stay engaged by learning something. Dust off an old Powerpoint or create a new one – just don’t overthink it at the expense of getting it out there.

Batch your content. If you find yourself with bigger blocks of time, or a schedule you can control more now, block some time to kick out a lot of content or work with someone who will take your ideas and write content for you. Pick your most creative time of day, determine how much to get done (how many blog posts, social media posts, newsletters etc.).

Credit: Beth Boen, SHELeads Group and Lori DuBois, Marketing Troubadour

 

 

Do a website review. Spend some time doing an analysis of your website. Whether a quick glance or more thorough review, how often do you have time to deal with your website? Jot down typos you find, out of date information, gaps in information, images that need to be changed, or ideas for new pages that need to be created. Do your own changes if you are able or have your vendor make them for you. Decide you need a refresh or completely new site? This may be the perfect time to research and meet (virtually) with a website developer.

Ask for recommendations. Give recommendations. Updating testimonials often gets pushed aside when we are busy, but is an important marketing activity. Go through your records and contact customers who may be willing to help you out. Review your email and social media to find things people have already said about working with you.

Don’t let them forget about you and don’t you forget about them.  Stay in touch/reach out to prospects, clients, past clients, referral partners and/or former prospective clients who never bought. What a nice surprise for them when you simply pick up the phone and check in with them (with no sales agenda).

  • Ask them how they are doing. Have a discussion about what they are experiencing. Ask them if there is anything you can do for them. This effort can WOW them and they might ask if you need anything in return.
  • Make a point to connect with everyone by phone and then schedule them for follow up touches every 3-4 weeks. One touch can be emailing them an article link that is of interest to them, a hand written note, or even a small gift sent virtually.
  • A note on prospects – they may decide to hold off on their purchase. You can offer payment plans, a discount, or simply stay in touch for when things do turn around.

Credit: Beth Boen, SHELeads Group and Lori DuBois, Marketing Troubadour

Don’t be selling, be helpful! If you have extra time on your hands and you haven’t done so already, get your social media going! Find and share helpful/educational articles, humorous memes, caring memes, etc. Write some helpful blogs and tease them in your email newsletter, which also can feed into your social media.

If it is appropriate to run a special, it is ok to announce it on your social media and email newsletter, just make sure the majority of your touches are of the helpful variety, not the salesy variety.

Do some prospecting. Use LinkedIn for prospecting new potential clients or referral partners and ask for introductions through the connections you discover. Download lists from your library website of potential customers and do online research on them to further qualify.

Do some competitive intelligence. One of the most underutilized marketing resources is knowing what your competitors are doing and what your industry is doing. Use the internet, hire a secret shopper, sign up for your competitor’s newsletter, or research articles through library databases on current news and future trends and projections in your industry.

Provide exceptional customer service, not just with your customers and prospects, but also your referral partners, vendors and as a customer yourself. Have exceptional follow up and follow through.

When times are tight, people will be easily turned off by salespeople and poor customer service. Return phone calls and emails promptly. Under-promise and over-deliver. Actively listen and try not to interrupt. Say please and thank you. When you call people to stay in touch, let them know the purpose of your call and ask them if it is a good time to talk. “Debbie, I am just calling to see how you are doing with everything going on. Is now a good time to talk?”

Learn more about marketing. Take advantage of free or paid webinars or online classes. Spend some quality time learning from programs such as Lynda or Gale Classes.

Think of your referral partners who are in your networking and leads groups. Be aware of what you can do for someone else. You may not be obvious referral partners, but there may be ways you can be supportive. Something as simple as bouncing an idea off of another person, or helping them figure out how to use remote meeting technology can be a huge help.

Credit: Beth Boen, SHELeads Group and Lori DuBois, Marketing Troubadour

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