Last Friday Governor Holcomb released his plan and guidelines for Back on Track Indiana, which is a 5 stage plan to get Indiana fully open by July 4th.  Stage 2 started yesterday in Hendricks County, but will be pushed back a week in Marion County, along with a few others as long as their local governments allow it.  As this process continues, the Governor has put in a caveat that a certain stage could be paused for longer or even reversed to an earlier stage if the data suggests.  With this in mind, what are some things you can do to make sure your business is ready to open back up?

  1. Develop or Strengthen your Marketing Campaigns
    1. Social Media Utilization is up 50% or more as several are staying home to work remotely and/or give care and education to their children.
    2. The Good – Despite this fact, advertising budgets have gone down, which lowers the cost of ads.
    3. The Bad – With more eyeballs on Social Media, you are competing with others to get your content seen.  So make sure your content is informative, relatable, and timely.
      1. The Best times to post on Social Media during Covid-19
  2. Make sure you communicate with your customers and employees to make sure they know your plans.
    1. Make sure you are continuing to sanitize your establishment based on the CDC guidelines, to maintain your customers’ and employees’ health and well being.
    2. Make a plan for getting your customers served or back in the door.  For appointment only businesses like salons, you may want to start booking your best customers first as you will most likely have a lot of pent up demand.
    3. If you have been doing business so far, make sure you are collecting email addresses and maintain an email campaign to stay in touch.  For Emails, we use MailChimp, but Constant Contact and others work as well.
    4. Make sure you are communicating with your employees on when you plan to rehire them, and what you are doing to keep your workplace safe.
    5. Some employees may not want to come back due to the added benefit of the $600 weekly Federal Unemployment Benefit from the Cares Act.  This is understandable due to the remaining uncertainty.  For these employees,  make sure you make an offer in writing for them to come back to work.  If you do this, they will not count against your PPP forgiveness.
  3. Did you apply for the PPP or EIDL yet?  Here is the most recent FAQ and guidance on PPP program.
    1. If you applied for the PPP and have not yet received it, check on the status of your application.
      1. If you have a number, congrats, you are in the queue.  If not, ask your bank where you are in line.  If you are with a big bank and are far behind, you may want to contact Home Bank, PayPal or Stripe to see if they are still taking applications.
    2. If you have received your PPP funds and can certify that they were “necessary to support the ongoing operations” then make sure you can document a couple of things.
      1. Why it was necessary
      2. Where the money goes.  Remember, the loan is forgivable if 75% of the funds go to payroll costs.
    3. If you have received your PPP funds, but have new clarity that you did not really need the funds.  You have until May 7th to pay it back.
    4. If you have already applied for the EIDL and got a loan number, they are continuing to work through their applications.
    5. If you have not yet applied for the EIDL, they have opened the portal to submit applications for Agricultural businesses, but not any other businesses yet.  
  4. If you are a freelancer or Independent worker and are still not seeing any return to normalcy for your business, you can file for unemployment.
    1. The CARES Act (Section 2102) also allows for self-employed individuals and Independent Contractors to file for Unemployment if the filer:
      1. is diagnosed with COVID-19 or experienced symptoms or is seeking a diagnosis
      2.  has a member of his or her household that has been diagnosed with the illness
      3. is providing care to a family member with COVID-19
      4. has primary caregiving responsibility to a child that is unable to attend school due to COVID-19
      5.  cannot reach his or her place of work because of a quarantine or advice of a health care provider to self-quarantine
      6.  has become a breadwinner after the head of household has died from COVID-19
      7. has had to quit his or her work as a result of Coronavirus, or
      8. has a work location that is closed as a direct result of a COVID-19 public health emergency.
    2. Indiana began to accept applications for Independent Workers and Self-Employed Individuals on April 24th.
    3. When applications are accepted, benefits will be paid retroactively back to March 29th and will consist of the federal $600 per week.  Here are tips on how to add yourself as an employer to the Indiana system.

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