Entrepreneurs & Small Businesses
What’s on this page:
This is an unprecedented and challenging time for all of us. We invite you to see the current crisis as an opportunity, a time to redefine entrepreneurship to become more inclusive and connected; a time to create new business models and shape a workforce that’s more equitable for all. Although our other sections—“For Leadership” and “For Employees”—will also be applicable to those running small businesses, this section includes information tailored to the specific needs of entrepreneurs. If you’re looking to start your own business, we also have a whole page of resources and tools specifically geared towards that.
1. Lead with your values and protect your customers, employees, and community. Always prioritize the health and safety of your employees, customers, and community first.
2. Stabilize your finances: Review your cash flow and burn rate and realistically forecast for worst-case financial scenarios at 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, and up to a year or more, depending on your business. Identify what’s critical and what’s not and quickly cut or defer expenses if you can. Explore new revenue streams and financial assistance programs, grants, and/or loans. Start collecting your financial information for potential grant and assistance programs. If you have investors, communicate with them immediately and regularly.
3. Develop your Business Continuity Plan, mapping out a recovery plan that includes short-term strategies and tactics, as well as one for long-term growth. Act on it immediately.
4. Communicate with your employees, guests, partners, and community, letting them know where you stand. Remain transparent and empathetic, making sure your communications are appropriate and compassionate. Turn off your automated emails and paid media campaigns. Rework your website and messages to make sure it’s not coming across as tone-deaf, insensitive, or out of touch.
5. Innovate and lead. This crisis is an opportunity to develop new business models, try out new ideas, and tap into new markets.
Here are some ideas:
→ Look into delivery or pickup opportunities for your customers, especially if you have a food or retail business.
→ Develop a plan for employees to continue working on other projects and business-related duties. This will reduce the risk of losing employees to other businesses as they look for work and ensure the longevity of your business.
→ Don’t stop investing in marketing and your customer relationships.
→ Create small business “bonds” to receive money now. Explore gift cards or gift certificates so your customers can still support you (SNEWS has been reporting small business’ success on this front).
→ Launch or expand e-commerce options. Still, consider halting shipping for two weeks or a month in solidarity with our postal workers. Communicate your reasoning to your customers.
→ Consider new sources of revenue or market needs that you can meet through your business or by creating a new business (for resources and tools to launch a new business, visit our Camber Outdoors Entrepreneur Resource Center).
Help With Your Current Business
COVID-19 Resource Hub, Unreasonable
Video: Pivot or Proceed, Kauffman Foundation
Business Operations Guide, Outdoor Industry Association
Emergency Preparedness, SCORE
Human Resource Questions & Policies, U.S. Department of Labor
Business Recovery & Continuity Plan
Colorado Small Business Development Center
Funding & Financial Resources
→ Senate passes $484B coronavirus relief package, The Hill
→ The U.S. Small Business Administration has set up a page specifically for those grappling with Coronavirus (COVID-19) and looking for small business guidance and loan resources.
→ Hello Alice is offering $200,000 in small business grants for diverse business owners, along with mentorship and support.
→ Amazon is creating a $5 million Neighborhood Small Business Relief Fund to provide cash grants to Seattle small businesses that need assistance.
→ Nonprofit Kiva has always provided 0% interest loans to small businesses worldwide. Effective immediately, U.S. applicants for a Kiva loan will also have access to expanded eligibility, larger loans, and an extended grace period.
→ MainVest, a crowdfunding platform, announced the Main Street Initiative: a $2,000, zero-interest, 120-day loan for restaurants or other brick and mortars affected by the shutdown.
→ This fund specializes in money lending to small businesses owned by women, immigrants and people of color, is collaborating with investors and nonprofits to put together a coronavirus relief fund that will provide grants and low-interest rate loans.
Business Support & Mentoring
→ COVID-19 Startup Resource Guide
Thanks to Rockies Venture Fund, Carabiner Outdoors, Catapult Innovation Labs, and Chronicle for sharing!
→ Catapult Innovation Labs has launched a new Survive & Thrive series of virtual workshops for startups and entrepreneurs every Monday at 1 pm MT. The series is focused on helping startups succeed during the uncertainty of COVID-19, and each workshop highlights a different topic.
→ Coalition Snow and Sisu Magazine have launched Inside Voices, a weekly virtual small business support group and happy hour. The small business support group will meet at 3 p.m. on Wednesday Pacific Time, (sign up online to save your spot) while the happy hour will take place at 5 p.m. Thursday Pacific Time. Inside Voices has also set up a Google Doc with a directory and other resources.
→ On Facebook, the Basecamp Group continues to offer business and freelancing opportunities, with many posts geared towards our current crisis. Accountant and financial expert Lyssa Lynn Kemper has launched a private Facebook group, where she’s offering free advice to those in need.
Small Businesses Adapt Creatively to Coronavirus, U.S. Chamber of Commerce