Share Your Story: How has COVID-19 affected you?
Hi everyone, I'm Haley, the Community Manager here at business.com. As the spread of Covid-19 has turned the world upside down and posed a particular challenge to small business, we’re working to broaden the scope of what we do in this community – to make it something slightly different, and hopefully better.
We of course want you to continue to come here for answers to your most pressing business questions. Additionally, we’d like this community to become a support system for those who need it.
As we track the personal stories and challenges of several business owners through our ongoing coverage, we also invite you to share your personal stories with each other here. The goal is to grow the community into a place where we can gain strength and resilience together alongside the great information and advice that our expert community members share every day.
We understand this is outside the norm of our usual community threads. But we are living through a time that is not “normal,” and we’re all going through it together.
We’ve already heard from a lot of you individually. Our goal is to give you a venue to collectively vent your frustrations, talk about your personal and professional challenges, and continue to share great information with each other right here. We hope this becomes a place for you to connect, commiserate if needed, and eventually overcome the challenges we face today.
So please feel free to post about how the last several months has taken a toll on you personally and professionally.
Have a story to share? Share it.
Experiencing an emotional roller-coaster? Tell us.
Want to spread some positive news? Spread it.
Have advice for others? Fill us in.
I finally feel like I'm in the right mood and frame of mind to tell my story, albeit short. I have been a self-employed Mobile Massage therapist for over 34 years dividing my years giving 12 years to No. California, 5 years to N. E. Indiana and now 17 years to the So. California desert. Since the second week of March, I decided to self-furlough hopefully for just a couple of months until the Pandemic passes through like a "bad storm". Not to be as we all know. Sitting idle is not my normal. Wife and I have been have been Isolating at home safely ever since and it is now early July without work or pay. Fortunately I have financial assets stored away and Social Security to fall back on while my wife is getting her pensions, but now has taken a 6-month sabbatical from her work to see how she likes retirement as well.
Roughly about 10 weeks ago I filed for Unemployment Compensation with California EDD and haven't heard a "peep" from them other than an email receipt on the date of filing, 2 weeks ago I sent an email to my State Senator's office for assistance to learn if my filing fell through the cracks and I'm still waiting for that response also.
Other than being in those 2 "limbo's", I guess I'm doing as well as I can considering the COVID-19 hasn't caught up with me yet.
Stay safe and well everyone,
Michael's Mobile Massage
Our experience with COVID-19 is like a bad joke that starts "a man walks into a bar". Our company, IBCT), is a boutique-style firm providing business continuity training to other businesses to help them keep running, no matter what!
Over the past 20 years, we have helped hundreds and hundreds of operations ranging from Fortune 500s to 1-person cassava bakers, with their own business continuity and pandemic plans. Our office is in Niagara Falls NY, right on the Canadian border, and our own continuity plan calls for a remote office in Toronto Canada. We put a lot of thinking into this - once we cross the border we have a completely different power grid, more conservative societal values, good highways, lower crime rates, international airport - everything you want in a remote facility.
So when COVID-19 hit, we invoked our BCP and headed down the road 1 hour to Toronto. Everything was fine until the Canadian government shut down the border!
So, "a man walks into Canada". And here we are, three months later. You can plan for 101 things to happen, but it's the 102nd that gets you! It has been pretty good though, really, as the Canadian people and governments have taken a much more mature approach to dealing with the pandemic.
Since we couldn't meet with clients in-person or teach our classes, we have used this time to create online versions of all our courses. We have also made a free, very comprehensive course available to small business and non-profit organizations, as our contribution to firms struggling with planning their way out of COVID-19.
If any of your readers would like access to this free business continuity course, they can reach me at email@example.com.
Institute for Business Continuity Training
Thanks God, i was not effected. In this lockdown time I have shared my knowledge and experiences. You can also read my blogs @ Blog
Coronavirus is a challenge as so many other challenges you meet in your business life. You need to be skilled to handle any type of business disruptions and should have the patience and courage to implement changes you have identified to the status quo of the business of the business so as to retain your identity, but continue your business in the new normal as all of us are in it (Customers, suppliers, service providers..). You ofcourse need to put your thoughts in a business continuity plan (BCP) by consulting each functional departments and identifying the critical ones that are needed to make the business function in the new normal.
I work in a B2B copper products manufacturing company importing our raw materials - Copper commodities from Africa and distributing our finished products in the MENA region countries. Our factory is about 80% automated, operate 24 hours and we can manage with about 100 semi-skilled workers 90% of whom are provided company accommodation 5 kms away from factory. When curfew and restrictions were applied, we couldn't transport our labour within the 5 Km short distance, another temporary labour supplier we used to overcome peak demand couldn't operate due to transportation restrictions. Most of the management staff operated remotely through remote login software and sales staff operate from the respective markets they are responsible where the restrictions varied. We were able to operate with 83% of the revenue flows during Q1-2020 which I think was a good achievement.
VP Finance - Abu Dhabi
Hello Everyone. Would Like to share my tought in times during this COVID-19. I just opened up a Small Deli in Florida last Dec, 2019 and had to shut down due to COVID-19 for about 6 weeks before i reopened first of this month. I had a Employee which i have to let her go for time been because i have no business may be two customers all day. somtimes no one all day. Tried Everything as far as SBA, PPP AND ALSO THE EMERGENCY LOAN and got denied on all because i opened only four months back. so my point is person like me and others like myself needed more help from government then big corporations.
I work from home but from time to time I have to go on site. Before the lockdown, I was already planning to work from home for two months and transfer some task to freelancers. Right now, no one can go at the current “workplace". We have curfew and you need a permit to go out.We have decided not to take any risk. We will resume task later. My second workplace, which is next door, is already open. Right now, I am in touch with potential clients through the internet. I am doing most of my work online. I hope to get a deal. My ‘workplace’ has often changed depending in circumstances, when my laptop had a virus and was being repaired for 3 months, I stayed in the cits lab in the medecine department to send my documents. Whenever I'm out even if it's with someone, I take phone calls because these are my potential clients. I can be on a site and do other works. In short, you cope how you can. My next exciting thing will be to have my own office someday.
Sr. Web Designer
As coronavirus spreads, more businesses are putting safeguards in place to protect their companies and employees. A key precaution many business owners are taking includes creating or revamping an emergency preparedness plan. If you haven’t created a plan yet, it’s time to giddy up, employers!
An emergency plan not only outlines what steps your company plans on taking if an outbreak impacts your business. It also lays out what measures you’re taking to protect your employees and business before disaster strikes.
If your business is struggling to gather funds to cover business expenses due to the coronavirus outbreak, you’re not out of luck. The government will be providing millions of dollars in funds for low-interest federal disaster loans, backed by the Small Business Administration (SBA).
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In these calls, the fraudster says the person has tested positive for the coronavirus and, to get a prescription, must provide the scammer with their credit card and health card numbers.
If you're the target of a COVID-19 scam or have already lost your money, I urge you to contact this recovery agent firstname.lastname@example.org
I hope these helps someone.
Stay safe and protected
Hi everyone, I'd like to give my thoughts on the matter as well.
I keep hearing the words "new normal" in the media and from colleagues, but the reality is that we are now living in a new economy. The sooner that we pivot our businesses toward this new economy, the better off we all will be.
Some industries, unfortunately, may not recover for years and many companies will fail. Those are industries like petroleum, travel, hospitality, and the like. The good news is that some industries will and are thriving, and new opportunities will arise. I am speaking specifically about on-line education, telemedicine, on-line entertainment and delivery services.
Not all of us can pivot our businesses, of course, but those of us who can need to do it now.
I am assuming, of course, that this crisis will last well into 2021 and perhaps beyond. I could be wrong and I hope that I am.
It is a good exercise for all of us, as business owners, to take some time to step away from the day to day and think hard through the consequences of what is happening. I scheduled a few hours every week for calls with industry leaders whom I respect to discuss the current situation and walk through the likely scenarios for our industry. It was well worth it, at least one of those conversations changed my approach to a particular negotiation and resulted in a much more positive outcome.
Thanks for starting this thread dialog, Haley.
I'm currently typing this from my hostel in Bangkok. I've been living and working in Thailand for over 3 months. I have lots of great memories traveling around this beautiful country. I decided to make the wise decision to stay here due to the travel restrictions. The Thai government enacted a secondary automatic visa extension for foreigners and expats which allows me to remain legally in Thailand until July 31st. We don't have a mandatory lockdown, just an evening curfew from 10-4. Businesses are starting open up again and things are return to normal for the most part.
According to Worldometer, there are only about 3,000 reported cases of Coronavirus and 50 deaths in all of Thailand. So the fact of the matter is, I'm actually a lot safer over here versus back in the United States. And it's also a lot more interesting living in a foreign country during this world pandemic! To the end, I'm arranging interviews on various podcasts to tell my fascinating story and inspire others to get out of their comfort zones!
I recently launched my own consulting business teaching digital entrepreneurs how to adapt to the remote work lifestyle, build a profitable online business, and work from anywhere in the world. I believe a large factor in success is being in the right place at the right time. Tomorrow I'm going to the beach city of Pattaya with a few friends to stay at a beautiful villa with a pool we rented on Airbnb. I finally received a large amount in commissions from Airbnb after waiting patiently for over 4 months! I've been working remotely as an independent contractor for Airbnb in charge of signing up new hosts to join the platform for about 2 years. As we all know, the travel industry is really suffering right now, and it is my intention to make a positive difference creating more entrepreneurs!
I never received my stimulus check or PPP funding from the US government even though I should have qualified with flying colors. Rather than feeling sorry for myself, I'm using this time to overcome lots of adversity, grow my business and professional network, and help more people during these challenging times. Teamwork makes the dream work.
I'm excited for the opportunity to be a new contributing writer at Business.com and look forward to publishing content that will inform readers over the coming months...
You can read the full story about Traveling During the Coronavirus Outbreak on my travel photography blog here. Also, check out the website for Be Remote Consulting.
You can inspire others every single day simply by living without fear and choosing love. Keep up the great work!
Remember that your survival hinges on agility.
While recessions impact most organizations, an HBR study found that 9% of companies flourished after a slowdown. What did these companies' senior teams do differently that you can learn from? They ensured agility and resiliency. Darwinism couldn't be more apropos. It's not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest that survives, the species that survives is the one that is able best to adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself.
In a crisis, your company's survival hinges on your ability to mobilize and inspire your talent. Your decisions and actions determine whether your people will be an asset or a liability. Ideally, your talent ensures adaptation by quickly developing and implementing a new operating model. But a variety of talent missteps can cause business failure:
Your employees aren't aligned with the new strategy
Leaders are oblivious to employee struggles
Leaders poorly manage the impact of a reduction in force
Hiring teams don't reevaluate job requirements and needed skills
While it's hard to manage panic and the impulse to make knee-jerk decisions, objectivity will be your saving grace. You can maximize strategic performance by crafting an aligned talent strategy that empowers your employees to handle the execution themselves. Mitigate your chances for failure and ensure success by using analytics and data to design your teams and hire the right people in each position. We're here to help. We're objective, experienced, and a phone call away.
This is a brilliant initiative Haley, Thank you. Here's my story. I currently work from Pakistan and have been working for a group with business interests in the Asian and ME markets. When the Covid-19 Pandemic hit our markets, they were not prepared - in all honestly no one was prepared for this.
There was a quick realization by some businesses (like ours) that to build immediate financial stability people at the top had to take on salary deductions so that groups that were the most vulnerable to this (operationally/financially) would be able to survive this. So we took the hit early on, till we can figure this out. On a personal front, I was able to mediate the financial loss incurred because I have always relied on multiple revenue streams (I teach at a local university so that was my rock in this time of crisis - I suggest find a side gig, this will be the new normal)
Another thing that we realized was that certain businesses would feel a huge impact and as such, digital/business transformation was essential. Look these are unprecedented times - no one is going to create a fuss and take you up to task for not following conventional brand guidelines etc. Learn, unlearn and relearn.
As of now I have been in touch with almost 4 enterprise level firms (who I am helping to focus on eCommerce enablement in lieu of their reliance on conventional supply chain models) I am also in touch with several SME brands to help them assess quick pivots they can take and recover (so they don't end up closing shop in the months to come).
This is tough for all of us. As a community, dare say as a species, we have to adapt and evolve (be better human beings and realize that its time to help one another out and hack this problem - all research says that were in for the long haul) If any of you need to reach out to me my email is: email@example.com (feel free to get in touch for free advice/support - and pass this practice on, help others. It always pays back) Good luck to everyone out there! Stay home, stay safe.
My company's revenue dropped about 30% last month compared to what I had forecasted and what we did in March. I still consider us very well positioned, though... both because our margins are very high and because we're small/flexible. I expect us to bounce back relatively quickly and maybe even come out ahead, as our bigger competitors may struggle more and be forced to lay people off.
Overall, I'm dropping my revenue forecast by 25% for the entire year, but I'm still optimistic about the long-term picture.
So far the pandemic has been tougher personally and mentally than financially for me. I realize I'm lucky to be able to say that, although it hasn't been easy.
So, this pandemic has been challenging to say the least! Getting into a consistent and productive work flow was definitely the most difficult thing for our team initially. For anyone struggling to remain productive themselves, I do just want to say what personally helped me stay productive. For me it was vital to separate my personal space from my work space and adding some familiar items I had in my work office definitely helped do that! Not sure whether it was just a psychological impact that helped me stay efficient, but I would highly recommend to anyone having issues with remaining productive. Take some time out of your day to tidy up your workspace and put some work into making it your own!
Additionally, during our outreach with clients we found a really useful tip that applies to anyone that owns a vehicle. In an effort to alleviate financial burdens for our clients at The Debt Relief Company, we found an easy 30 minute way for them to save a good amount of money on their automobile insurance. The tip is that you should reach out to your auto insurers! Regardless of whether you have already received an automatic discount or not, explain that your car is no longer in use due to the coronavirus. If you are decent at negotiating you should be able to get a 3 month retroactive discount on your auto insurance and 6 month discount moving forward. This was able to save our clients and our team anywhere from $200-$600 with a 30 minute phone call. Hope this helpful! Stay in there and stay strong!
CEO at The Debt Relief Company