Important PPP update for 2021
On December 22, 2020, Congress passed a bill renewing funding under the CARES Act, including an additional $284 billion earmarked for America’s struggling small businesses. The rules and application process for PPP loans and forgiveness have been modified, with more businesses eligible for PPP loans, more expenses forgivable, and a simplified application process.
In this 5-minute read:
- SBA guidelines
- Emergency financial assistance for local shops
- How to help your employees financially and emotionally
- Emphasize sanitization policies
- Great time to set up online scheduling
- Modifying your business model
- Plan for the future
Being a business owner right now is getting a little scary. We don’t know exactly how this coronavirus pandemic is going to impact the economy, but there are ways that you can mitigate the impact on your business and prepare for the future.
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Throughout this article, we’ll offer guidance, including counsel from the CDC and SBA, for your salon or barbershop to get through this difficult time.
Guide for business owners from the SBA
The U.S. Small Business Administration has created guide for businesses and employers to help them navigate through the chaos of current events. Have a look and read up.
Economic Injury Disaster Loan program
The SBA is also offering disaster assistance to businesses that are heavily impacted by COVID-19. If your business is located in an eligible community that is affected by the disease, you can apply for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.
Tips for managing your salon or barbershop staff
Keep your employees in the know of what is going on with your business. Help them to understand how they may be impacted and advise them on best practices for maintaining a safe and healthy environment in your barbershop or salon.
CDC’s guidance for business owners
The CDC has put out a guide for businesses and employers that provides some great recommendations for managing your staff. Click to read their full counsel. The key is be patient with employees as they deal with family needs and other local directives for safety.
Get ready for absences
COVID-19 has spread globally and will likely impact your community. Be prepared for employees that need to stay home to take care of themselves or loved ones during this time. Maintain flexibility with their schedules and be understanding of their situation.
This may put a strain on your healthy employees or on you as you work to cover shifts.
Prioritize the cleanliness of your salon or barbershop
If you are keeping your salon open during this time, take extra measure to prioritize its cleanliness and maintain a safe environment for your employees and customers.
Some things you can do to help:
- Advise people to wash their hands for at least 20 seconds before and after breaks, after doing someone’s hair or nails, after touching the register, and before and after eating
- Clean the surfaces that come into frequent contact with people: pens, counters, chairs, door handles, hair accessories, and tools
- Make sure you have hand sanitizer and other cleaning supplies on hand for when someone needs them
- You might also consider wearing protective facemasks to put customers more at ease (though this might warn other customers off). Maybe you could ask each client “would you feel more comfortable if I wore a facemask?”
Prepare your salon for the future and any uncertainty related to COVID-19
No one knows exactly what the future holds, but that’s okay. You can still prepare now for the future of your business, no matter what may happen.
Is your business expected to drop?
Since salons and barbershops are not often considered “essential” businesses (for most people), it’s likely a service that will see a drop in customers over the next little while as people are encouraged to make social distancing a priority.
If your shop is seeing a significant loss in revenue due to this decrease in business, there are emergency funding options that you can use for support:
- SBA loan programs
- SBA disaster assistance for COVID-19. Learn how to apply for an emergency SBA loan.
- Government bailouts may go into place to help struggling small businesses
- Private loans from banks could be an option: reach out to your bank to see what their current rates are
Keep transparent communication with customers
We cannot stress the importance of communication enough right now. Keep your customers updated on what is going on with your salon.
Are you temporarily closing? Are you accepting new clients? Are you reducing your hours? Any changes that you make should be clearly elaborated by updating your Google My Business listing and other online profiles, adding announcements to your website, and sharing new information on your social media profiles
Share positive messages and show your customers that you are doing everything you can to maintain a safe and healthy environment.
Set up online scheduling if you haven’t already
If you aren’t already on the online scheduling bandwagon, this slower time may be ideal for you to implement any changes necessary to allow this useful offering for your customers.
Think outside the box
If business is dropping right now, think about how busy you are going to be when all of this blows over and things start getting back to normal. Your clients are going to be fighting for your open slots to get their haircuts after this social distancing period is up.
Keep the cash flow going now by encouraging your clientele to purchase gift certificates online or over the phone. Book appointments out in advance and require a deposit or cancelation fee. Offer fun discounts or coupons for the future for those who do come in during this time.
If your area is not currently impacted by “shelter in place” directives and your business is fully open or open on a limited basis, consider easing people’s minds by closing your waiting room or lobby to walk-in business, and requiring appointments and online check in. Customers who feel nervous about being around larger groups of people will appreciate being able to wait in their cars until their appointment.
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