I revisited my post from Women’s History Month with amazement. Just a month ago I was in New York and travelling freely to events and warmly greeting friends. It feels like a lifetime ago. Now my State’s Governor has issued a Stay at Home order and we’re all falling into a groundhog day routine, even if we’re not quite accustomed to it yet. In talking to my friends and colleagues, the people who own small businesses tend to need three things right now – cash, community and connections. I’m providing here the resources I’ve found helpful and hopeful as we adjust and adapt now and in the weeks to come.
There are a number of resources out there for business owners loans, forgivable loans, and grants. The first step is figuring out how to keep your business going in the short to medium term. Here are some tips if the thought of what to do next is paralyzing. Here is a list of grants for small business owners in 2020 (not necessarily related to COVID-19).
Once you’re in a position to give back either your time, talent, or treasure, reach out to your local certification organization and the national organization. This is the best time to be a “go-giver” and share your skills with the community.
- WBENC has a marketplace for WBEs who offer goods and services to address COVID-19.
- NMSDC has a town hall series about how to cope with business disruptions due to COVID-19.
- NGLCC also has a resource center and is highlighting LGBTBEs who are providing solutions to address COVID-19.
- Disability:IN not only has resources for coping with business disruptions due to COVID-19 but also addressing the mental health issues that come from dealing with this unprecedented situation.
There is still a critical need for the goods and services small business owners offer. A certified WBE just won a $250 Million contract with the City of New York to offer temporary housing for medical workers. If you have something you can offer right now for healthcare, grocers, delivery personnel, and those others on the front lines protecting us – it’s your duty to do that!
Here are some ideas of how to keep those connections from home. I’ve also included connection resources I’ve found helpful and hopeful in the past few weeks:
- NMSDC hosted a great discussion from Chief Procurement Officers. They discuss how they are approaching the COVID-19 crisis and how they’d like to hear from you.
- On the webinar they announce that SAP Ariba is providing open access to SAP Ariba Discovery so any buyer can post their immediate sourcing needs, and any supplier can respond to show they can deliver.
- For some bright spots a WBE company just quantified the impact of supplier diversity and how it’s more important than ever.
- Read this article about a WBENC certified company who grew their revenues 10x in 2 weeks and how certification helped them streamline their procurement processes.
- I’m interviewing business owners about doing Business UNusual simply to have a dialogue about what potential lasting impacts of COVID-19 could be, good or bad. You may get some ideas or simply feel less alone.
There could be a whole separate post about the mental and emotional fallout from COVID-19. The reality is, we just won’t know those effects for long time. In lieu of a comprehensive discussion of self-care during these times, which I do not mean to minimize at all, I’ll give you one thing that absolutely put a smile on the faces of me, my 5 year old and my 3 year old: Dolly Parton reading bedtime stories. h/t to elise ambrose of Elite Personnel for the tip!
Stay healthy, happy and home!