Resources for eCommerce Businesses During The COVID-19 Pandemic

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Isaac Herman

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Resources for eCommerce Businesses During The COVID-19 Pandemic

08/05/2020 Categories: ARTICLES

The global outbreak of COVID-19 has put eCommerce merchants in uncharted waters. The effect that the pandemic has had on global supply chains and the overall economy is nothing short of cataclysmic. As a result, online businesses everywhere have been hit with uncertainty, struggling to decide their next moves. The small silver lining is that many companies are temporarily offering their resources for free to support teams working remotely. Read on to learn more about what’s available and how it can boost your team’s cohesion and productivity. The Federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) The Paycheck Protection Program is a COVID-19 relief program that is part of the $2.2 trillion CARES coronavirus stimulus package, which was signed into law on March 27, 2020. The PPP offers loans backed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) intended to provide relief to businesses impacted by the coronavirus between February 15th and June 30th. This program was passed to keep small business workers employed, with loan forgiveness primarily contingent on payroll expenses and retaining employees at pre-pandemic salary levels. The PPP is currently in its second round of funding after its initial $350 billion funding round was depleted, so there are loans available depending on eligibility.  The loans will be available through June 30th, but we firmly recommend you apply as soon as possible, since the loans are given out on a “first-come, first-serve” basis.  These loans are intended for small businesses, so your company must demonstrate eligibility. To be eligible, an applicant business: Must have 500 employees or fewer or be classified as a “small business” under the eligible NAICS code. Must be primarily headquartered in the United States. If otherwise ineligible, has a maximum net value of $15 million or less, and/or has an average after-tax net revenue of $5 million or less for two full fiscal years prior to the application date. If your business receives a loan, you can use it for the following purposes: Payroll expenses. Continuing benefits such as health care, sick leave, or family leave. Employee salaries or commissions. Interest payments on mortgages (excluding mortgage principal). Rent. Utilities. Interest on accrued debt. The SBA is also offering full forgiveness on these loans, but only if the following requirements are met:  If loans are used exclusively for the reasons listed above. If the loan is only used to relieve no greater than eight weeks of eligible payroll costs. If businesses maintain salary levels comparable to before the pandemic. If you do not follow the criteria above, your business will have to repay the loan. If this occurs, you will have a maximum repayment window of 10 years with an interest rate capped at 4 percent, with no loan fees or prepayment penalties. There is no reason not to apply for the PPP; You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.  Just keep in mind the loans are going fast, so apply as soon as possible. Click here to get started. Free Software To Help Your Business Due to COVID-19, many software companies are releasing their products for free on a temporary basis. These are products designed to help different departments to work better remotely, especially if your company is scrambling to support remote work. Here are our recommendations on the different applications that can help each of your different departments.  Microsoft Teams: Microsoft Teams is a free collaboration and communication software that is part of Microsoft’s Office 365 suite of

franklin mask

short of cataclysmic. As a result, online businesses everywhere have been hit with uncertainty, struggling to decide their next moves. The small silver lining is that many companies are temporarily offering their resources for free to support teams working remotely. Read on to learn more about what’s available and how it can boost your team’s cohesion and productivity.

US money

The Federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

The Paycheck Protection Program is a COVID-19 relief program that is part of the $2.2 trillion CARES coronavirus stimulus package, which was signed into law on March 27, 2020. The PPP offers loans backed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) intended to provide relief to businesses impacted by the coronavirus between February 15th and June 30th. This program was passed to keep small business workers employed, with loan forgiveness primarily contingent on payroll expenses and retaining employees at pre-pandemic salary levels.

The PPP is currently in its second round of funding after its initial $350 billion funding round was depleted, so there are loans available depending on eligibility.  The loans will be available through June 30th, but we firmly recommend you apply as soon as possible, since the loans are given out on a “first-come, first-serve” basis. 

These loans are intended for small businesses, so your company must demonstrate eligibility. To be eligible, an applicant business:

  • Must have 500 employees or fewer or be classified as a “small business” under the eligible NAICS code.
  • Must be primarily headquartered in the United States.
  • If otherwise ineligible, has a maximum net value of $15 million or less, and/or has an average after-tax net revenue of $5 million or less for two full fiscal years prior to the application date.

If your business receives a loan, you can use it for the following purposes:

  • Payroll expenses.
  • Continuing benefits such as health care, sick leave, or family leave.
  • Employee salaries or commissions.
  • Interest payments on mortgages (excluding mortgage principal).
  • Rent.
  • Utilities.
  • Interest on accrued debt.

The SBA is also offering full forgiveness on these loans, but only if the following requirements are met: 

  • If loans are used exclusively for the reasons listed above.
  • If the loan is only used to relieve no greater than eight weeks of eligible payroll costs.
  • If businesses maintain salary levels comparable to before the pandemic.

If you do not follow the criteria above, your business will have to repay the loan. If this occurs, you will have a maximum repayment window of 10 years with an interest rate capped at 4 percent, with no loan fees or prepayment penalties. There is no reason not to apply for the PPP; You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.  Just keep in mind the loans are going fast, so apply as soon as possible. Click here to get started.

software help

Free Software To Help Your Business

Due to COVID-19, many software companies are releasing their products for free on a temporary basis. These are products designed to help different departments to work better remotely, especially if your company is scrambling to support remote work. Here are our recommendations on the different applications that can help each of your different departments. 

  • Microsoft Teams: Microsoft Teams is a free collaboration and communication software that is part of Microsoft’s Office 365 suite of applications. It is a must-have for everyone working remotely. Due to COVID-19, Microsoft has removed the user limit for the free version and is giving the basic Office 365 suite out free for the next 6 months.
  • Druva: This is a SaaS platform that handles cloud data management and data protection. This program automates and secures backup and recovery of all data in your company, so you won’t lose anything to accidental or malicious data loss. The program also protects against ransomware attacks. Druva is being offered for free through June 30th. Additionally, if you take advantage of the free 6 months of Office 365 mentioned above, Druva supports up to 300 Microsoft Office 365 users. It also will give you 15 GB of data backup per user, and 300 endpoint protection users with a maximum of 50 GB per user. 
  • Vidyard: This application makes it easy to record, edit, and share videos to stay in touch with clients and co-workers. This application is a great way to update the entire company on goings-on, or to send appreciation to specific clients and employees. Through June 30th, Vidyard is free for internal communications. 

new normal

Tips on Adjusting To The "New Normal"

To continue business-as-usual as best you can, it’s important to think about what you will change to adapt to the “new normal” of the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, if you sell your products on Amazon, now is a great time to diversify your distribution channels. There have been significant interruptions to Amazon’s distribution chain, leaving many small sellers high and dry. If you are one of them, consider the following actions: 

  • Look at your ad spend. Make sure your automated ads are not advertising products that are not available. Availability will be a big issue in the weeks to come. 
  • Look for ways to cut costs in general before considering layoffs. Even small things can add up; you may have recurring subscriptions to company software that are underutilized and can be stopped.
  • Put less emphasis on direct-to-consumer business. Coronavirus has demonstrated that consumers are relying on the largest eCommerce sites Look for alternative 3rd-party sellers, such as eBay and Walmart. 

Next, it’s time to begin thinking about your re-opening plan and if your business model is still viable. When reviewing your business model, consider the following simple questions:

  • What are you selling?
  • Who are you selling to?
  • How are you delivering your products?

Although these seem like no-brainers, it’s important to start with the basics when appraising your business model. Here are a couple more tips: 

  • Look at state and local programs for extra resources. The federal government is not the only institution offering aid during this pandemic.
  • Consider your vendors. If your business reopens, keep in mind your vendors may not. You may need to find new vendors to help you during this time. 

These tips will help you during this crisis, but the most important thing is to do right by your employees and customers. If you can prioritize your team and customers, their loyalty and your leaner approach will increase your chances of success in the recovery. Stay positive! This too shall pass.

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Ben franklin

The global outbreak of COVID-19 has put eCommerce merchants in uncharted waters. The effect that the pandemic has had on global supply chains and the overall economy is nothing short of cataclysmic. As a result, online businesses everywhere have been hit with uncertainty, struggling to decide their next moves. The small silver lining is that many companies are temporarily offering their resources for free to support teams working remotely. Read on to learn more about what’s available and how it can boost your team’s cohesion and productivity.

US money

The Federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

The Paycheck Protection Program is a COVID-19 relief program that is part of the $2.2 trillion CARES coronavirus stimulus package, which was signed into law on March 27, 2020. The PPP offers loans backed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) intended to provide relief to businesses impacted by the coronavirus between February 15th and June 30th. This program was passed to keep small business workers employed, with loan forgiveness primarily contingent on payroll expenses and retaining employees at pre-pandemic salary levels.

The PPP is currently in its second round of funding after its initial $350 billion funding round was depleted, so there are loans available depending on eligibility.  The loans will be available through June 30th, but we firmly recommend you apply as soon as possible, since the loans are given out on a “first-come, first-serve” basis. 

These loans are intended for small businesses, so your company must demonstrate eligibility. To be eligible, an applicant business:

  • Must have 500 employees or fewer or be classified as a “small business” under the eligible NAICS code.
  • Must be primarily headquartered in the United States.
  • If otherwise ineligible, has a maximum net value of $15 million or less, and/or has an average after-tax net revenue of $5 million or less for two full fiscal years prior to the application date.

If your business receives a loan, you can use it for the following purposes:

  • Payroll expenses.
  • Continuing benefits such as health care, sick leave, or family leave.
  • Employee salaries or commissions.
  • Interest payments on mortgages (excluding mortgage principal).
  • Rent.
  • Utilities.
  • Interest on accrued debt.

The SBA is also offering full forgiveness on these loans, but only if the following requirements are met: 

  • If loans are used exclusively for the reasons listed above.
  • If the loan is only used to relieve no greater than eight weeks of eligible payroll costs.
  • If businesses maintain salary levels comparable to before the pandemic.

If you do not follow the criteria above, your business will have to repay the loan. If this occurs, you will have a maximum repayment window of 10 years with an interest rate capped at 4 percent, with no loan fees or prepayment penalties. There is no reason not to apply for the PPP; You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.  Just keep in mind the loans are going fast, so apply as soon as possible. Click here to get started.

software help

Free Software To Help Your Business

Due to COVID-19, many software companies are releasing their products for free on a temporary basis. These are products designed to help different departments to work better remotely, especially if your company is scrambling to support remote work. Here are our recommendations on the different applications that can help each of your different departments. 

  • Microsoft Teams: Microsoft Teams is a free collaboration and communication software that is part of Microsoft’s Office 365 suite of applications. It is a must-have for everyone working remotely. Due to COVID-19, Microsoft has removed the user limit for the free version and is giving the basic Office 365 suite out free for the next 6 months.
  • Druva: This is a SaaS platform that handles cloud data management and data protection. This program automates and secures backup and recovery of all data in your company, so you won’t lose anything to accidental or malicious data loss. The program also protects against ransomware attacks. Druva is being offered for free through June 30th. Additionally, if you take advantage of the free 6 months of Office 365 mentioned above, Druva supports up to 300 Microsoft Office 365 users. It also will give you 15 GB of data backup per user, and 300 endpoint protection users with a maximum of 50 GB per user. 
  • Vidyard: This application makes it easy to record, edit, and share videos to stay in touch with clients and co-workers. This application is a great way to update the entire company on goings-on, or to send appreciation to specific clients and employees. Through June 30th, Vidyard is free for internal communications. 

new normal

Tips on Adjusting To The "New Normal"

To continue business-as-usual as best you can, it’s important to think about what you will change to adapt to the “new normal” of the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, if you sell your products on Amazon, now is a great time to diversify your distribution channels. There have been significant interruptions to Amazon’s distribution chain, leaving many small sellers high and dry. If you are one of them, consider the following actions: 

  • Look at your ad spend. Make sure your automated ads are not advertising products that are not available. Availability will be a big issue in the weeks to come. 
  • Look for ways to cut costs in general before considering layoffs. Even small things can add up; you may have recurring subscriptions to company software that are underutilized and can be stopped.
  • Put less emphasis on direct-to-consumer business. Coronavirus has demonstrated that consumers are relying on the largest eCommerce sites Look for alternative 3rd-party sellers, such as eBay and Walmart. 

Next, it’s time to begin thinking about your re-opening plan and if your business model is still viable. When reviewing your business model, consider the following simple questions:

  • What are you selling?
  • Who are you selling to?
  • How are you delivering your products?

Although these seem like no-brainers, it’s important to start with the basics when appraising your business model. Here are a couple more tips: 

  • Look at state and local programs for extra resources. The federal government is not the only institution offering aid during this pandemic.
  • Consider your vendors. If your business reopens, keep in mind your vendors may not. You may need to find new vendors to help you during this time. 

These tips will help you during this crisis, but the most important thing is to do right by your employees and customers. If you can prioritize your team and customers, their loyalty and your leaner approach will increase your chances of success in the recovery. Stay positive! This too shall pass.

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