#Smallbizchat LIVE is a monthly video chat where small business owners can get answers to their questions. The focus of #Smallbizchat LIVE is to end small business failure by helping participants succeed as your own boss.
Please join us live every third Wednesday of the month from 8-9 pm ET Live on my SmallBizLady Facebook Page, YouTube Channel and LIVE on Twitter. Follow @SmallBizChat on Twitter and follow the hashtag #Smallbizchat to join the chat.
Lynnette Khalfani-Cox @TheMoneyCoach, is a personal finance expert, speaker, and author of 15 money-management books, including the New York Times bestseller Zero Debt: The Ultimate Guide to Financial Freedom. Lynnette has been seen on more than 1,000 TV segments nationwide, including television appearances on Oprah, Dr. Phil, The Dr. Oz Show, The Steve Harvey Show, Good Morning America, The TODAY Show and many more. A former financial news journalist for The Wall Street Journal and CNBC, Lynnette is the CEO of TheMoneyCoach.net LLC, a financial education company that she runs with her husband and co-founder, Earl Cox. For more information: www.AskTheMoneyCoach.com
SmallBizLady: What should small businesses do now to get federal CARES Act money and Grant’s from govt?
Lynnette Khalfani-Cox: To take advantage of federal funds the single best thing to do is APPLY NOW!
Under the CARES Act, there are two main programs to help small business owners. The first is the PPP loan initiative, the Paycheck Protection Program. It’s a forgivable loan program, of up $10 million — although realistically most people aren’t going to qualify for anywhere near that amount because the loan size is based on 2.5 times your monthly payroll.
Nevertheless, demand has been incredibly high for PPP loans — mainly because the federal government is basically saying they will float you the money to cover payroll and other expenses for two months. The money is provided as a loan, but it becomes forgivable as long as you meet certain criteria, like maintaining headcount and NOT slashing employee salaries. The second program is the EIDL — or the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. This loan program was supposed to offer up to $2 million to entrepreneurs, contractors, and others financially harmed by the coronavirus outbreak. This one was incredibly popular also because it includes a $10,000 free grant. But overall, both of these programs have been pretty messy and problematic. Delays in funding, major rules and guidelines have changed and there have been so many “fine print” issues it’s ridiculous. For example, that disaster loan limit of $2 million. It’s now been cut to just $15,000! So a lot of small biz owners are seething about that. And that grant: well it’s not just $10K for any entrepreneur who applies, as the SBA originally suggested. The grant is awarded on a PER EMPLOYEE basis, at $1,000 per employee. So unless you have at least 10 employees on the payroll, you won’t get $10 after all.
SmallBizLady: If you have business loans and lines of credit that you can’t pay, what should you do?
Lynnette Khalfani-Cox: Now is the time to get on the phone and work deals if you can’t pay any bills — and that goes for business loans and lines of credit as well as personal loans. A lot of creditors and lenders are working with customers and extending payment flexibility. So don’t stick your head in the sand and ignore any cash flow problems. If you can’t cover the bills, do call — or at least go online to see their website page. Most lenders have a COVID-19 or coronavirus relief page that tells you about the help they’re providing or a toll-free number you can call to discuss your specific situation.
SmallBizLady: If you have personal debt such as credit cards and student loans that you can’t pay what should you do?
Lynnette Khalfani-Cox: The CARES Act actually granted enormous relief for those with federal student loans: you don’t have to make any payments for six months — from April 2020 through September 2020. No principal, no interest, and no fees. That’s good news for the 44 million Americans who owe student loans. So if you want to put your student loan payments on hiatus, just call up your loan servicing company and tell them that, and it will be a done deal.
With private loans, that’s a separate matter. You have to call them and request help too. But the new federal stimulus legislation doesn’t cover private student loans.
Lastly, as for your credit card bills, again many lenders/credit card issuers have already announced the different ways in which they’re helping people out. Some are letting customers skip payments. Others are accepting partial payments, etc. So if you can’t afford to pay: Just go online first and see what relief they have announced — or call if they instruct you to dial them and have a conversation on the phone.
Andrew Sobel is author of the book It Starts With Clients: Your 100-Day Plan to Build Lifelong Relationships and Revenue and creator of the eLearning master classes Building Your Clients For Life and Building Relationships That Matter. He is the leading authority on the strategies and skills required to build clients for life. He has written nine acclaimed, best-selling books on developing enduring professional relationships. His books have sold well over 250,000 copies. Andrew can be reached at andrewsobel.com.
SmallBizLady: How can you select the right clients?
Andrew Sobel: The composition of your client base is often the result of historical accidents and short-term decision-making rather than intentional, strategic choices. Doing business with anyone who will write a check is an appealing strategy when you need to pay the bills or meet your sales target. But it’s a formula for big trouble down the road. Your clients should meet three essential criteria: strategic fit, relational fit, and potential for you to have impact.
SmallBizLady: If you have a client relationship that isn’t going so great how can you fix it?
Andrew Sobel: Take a hard, careful look at your current client relationships. For you, what are the ideal conditions that allow you to have a positive, lasting impact on your clients? What percentage of your current clients meet these conditions? Could you change or renegotiate elements of those relationships that don’t stack up to your criteria (e.g., increase the scope, connect at more senior levels) and increase your impact and professional satisfaction?
SmallBizLady: You’re not a fan of doing a deep dive to prepare for a sale meeting, why is that?
Andrew Sobel: It’s just not worth it. Don’t over prepare for a meeting. Instead, spend time studying the individual you’re going to meet, not just the company. When you do too much research and spend too much time rehearsing, you get fixated on your message. You build in rigidity, so you can’t easily flex and improvise. Better to develop thoughtful questions that will engage the client and draw them out. The more you can understand the person you’re going to meet, the faster you’ll build rapport.
Chelsea Krost has had a passion for empowering Millennials since she was 16. Today, Chelsea is one of America’s leading Millennial influencers, marketing/brand strategist, a global keynote speaker, media personality & the host of #MillennialTalk on Twitter. For more information: chelseakrost.com.
SmallBizLady: How does one build a brand online in this business climate?
Chelsea Krost: Creating a personal brand doesn’t happen overnight, and it can feel overwhelming to build your presence from the ground up. To help you get organized on how to further develop your personal brand, here are six key components to building an online brand.
- Build Your Personal Brand Foundation: define the brand, logo, color story, purpose and message
- Identify Your Target Audience: who is your niche? what are their needs?
- Create Your Brand Story: share who you are and establish credibility
- Package Your Expertise & Define Your Offer: what are you selling? what are the benefits of doing business with you?
- Establish Thought Leadership: publish articles on your blog or LinkedIn, Host webinars
- Leverage Social Media and Build Community: be consistent in your branding across all channels, post and engage daily, provide value in your content.
Your personal brand is the complete extension of who you are and your business. Ultimately, it’s what differentiates you from the competition, and it’s something no one can take away from you, so it’s important to look within.
SmallBizLady: How can one compete in the cluttered landscape today and pop through the clutter?
Chelsea Krost: Video and Live streaming are two effective ways to build brand awareness, grow an online community, and generate engagement for your brand and business. When I meet with clients and we discuss video, they often assume they’ll need a camera person, editing skills, or a big budget. Of course, this seems daunting. But the truth is, some of the best ways to create and share videos are through simple live-streaming apps that require nothing more than a smartphone, good lighting, and a tripod.
Here are three simple ways you can start today:
- Show Your Audience Some Behind The Scenes!
There’s a reason reality shows about everyday jobs have been entertaining us for so long. We love to see behind-the-scenes. So give your audience a look at how your business operates. Your audience wants an authentic and relatable inside look—not an overproduced infomercial.
- Tease a New Project and Build The Buzz!
Use a pop-up live stream to “leak” a new project you’re working on that has not yet been released. We all like feeling like we’re in the inner circle, so of course, your audience will love having that insider info. And here’s a tip on this: Ask your viewers questions during the live video. This helps your audience participate in what’s going on, and it’s fun and exciting for them. Remember a LIVE Video should always have some sort of call to action. For example, do you want them to subscribe? To follow? To opt in to a lead magnet? Start at the end goal, and the narrative will fall into place!
- Demo your product.
Or if you’re an information-based personal brand like I am, use the live stream to give actionable and valuable information to your audience. So, schedule your Facebook Live video when you know your audience will be watching and write a great description for your video. Inform people of the essential facts, including where you are, what you’re doing, what they’ll learn and why it’s beneficial. If you give your audience incredible free value, they’ll be hungry for your paid offers! You know how important samples are to consumers – give them a taste that makes them want more!
SmallBizLady: Does everyone need to think of personal branding today, Especially employees vs entrepreneurs?
Chelsea Krost: Your personal brand is your most unique asset and the most powerful marketing tool you can use to your advantage. Smart business owners aren’t just taking the time to develop and grow their own personal brand, they’re also encouraging their employees to invest in building their online presence. Think about it, your employees are best positioned to discuss and share your product and consumers are more likely to trust their recommendation than they are a big corporation. It’s all about peer approval. The power of personal branding is REAL and as we turn to online solutions while living through the Coronavirus pandemic, those that have taken the time to build their personal brand and business online footprint are better positioned to thrive during this time!
Would you like to be a guest on #Smallbizchat?
If you are a small business owner, author, or subject matter expert, we’d love to have you appear as a guest on #Smallbizchat LIVE. Submit your name, headshot, Twitter handle, bio, website, topic and 3 questions and answers in paragraph form to demonstrate your expertise. To submit your materials to be a guest on #Smallbizchat click here.