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Out Sick 🤒

January 12, 2022


Why the US is giving out $10B to SMBs

What’s going on?
The US government’s State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) is back – and it’s about 7 times larger than the first version. From 2010-2017, it provided $1.5B in federal funds to aid US states in small business loans and equity capital. Now, the program’s being relaunched with a whopping $10B in funding.

Wait, where did those other funds go?
You may remember last year’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which authorized a staggering $659B of loan forgiveness to fund small business payroll costs, benefits, rent, and more.

But unfortunately, the PPP provided fewer business loans on average “in areas with majority Black, Hispanic, American Indian or Alaska Native populations.”

Well, not this time! One of the main goals of the 2022 SSBCI is to fix those overlooks in previous initiatives and direct money toward disadvantaged groups. Specifically racial minorities, rural communities, and veterans.

How it’ll work:
The funds will come from the $1.9T COVID relief stimulus package passed last March. Of the $10B for the SSBCI, the majority will be distributed to states based on declines in employment. And the federal government is expected to divide $3.5B of the funding for SMBs as follows:

  • $500M: Business owners with fewer than 10 employees
  • $2.5B: Areas with socially and economically disadvantaged business owners
  • $500M: Technical assistance to small businesses applying for support programs

Then what?
Once the SSBCI is relaunched, eligible small businesses can get a loan or investment as they normally would through a bank, community lender, or equity investor. But now, chances for approval will be sky-high, as states will be required to use 90% of their allotted funds for loans, investments, and other support for small businesses.

Loans can be used in any way (business-related, of course). From startup costs to hiring employees to equipment purchases – you name it.

But when small businesses will see these funds depends on their state. And states will receive money based on a formula that accounts for hardships like the number of job losses compared to the national average.

So, prepare those loan applications and keep your fingers crossed that funds are distributed sooner rather than later.


The hottest SMB trends of 2022

What’s happening?
Time really flies – we’ve somehow already reached 2022. And this new year is the time to take your business to the next level.

And one way to do that: take advantage of this year’s business trends.

To make life a little easier for you, we’ve compiled a list of the hottest trends we think small businesses should take advantage of in 2022.

Give me the list!
Okay, okay! Here are a couple of the trends we think your business should focus on this year:

  • Authenticity. More than ever before, customers are looking for an authentic, personal connection with the businesses they interact with. In fact, 91% of consumers are more likely to make purchases from an authentic brand versus an unauthentic one.

    So, when it comes to your interactions with customers in the coming year, be transparent. Talk about your company’s mission, your team, your highs and lows. Foster meaningful relationships with your customers and keep them coming back.
  • TikTok. Social media has always been a powerful marketing tool for businesses because it’s 1) inexpensive and 2) incredibly popular. But you’re likely missing out on the most popular social media platform: TikTok.

    Some small businesses have been able to take advantage of TikTok’s widespread audience by showcasing their products or highlighting their team members. Whatever path you decide to take, you’ll definitely want to consider signing up for a TikTok account sooner rather than later.

👉 Check out the full list.


How many people are calling out sick? Like, a lot…

What’s the scoop?
If a ton of your employees have been calling out sick recently, the data shows that you’re not alone.

How so?
Up to 5 million US workers called out sick last week, mostly due to the record-high increase in COVID cases. For context, that means 3% of the US labor force was offline and out of office, leaving businesses in a tough spot.

Why it’s a problem.
Simply put: being short-staffed sucks. Employees who are covering for their coworkers may feel overworked. Companies have to quickly change up plans if key stakeholders suddenly can’t show up. And at its worse, some businesses have to shut down completely since they can’t find coverage.

But some companies are getting creative.
Especially small businesses who can easily pivot when needed. For example, Gupshup, an Indian restaurant in Manhattan, has been able to avoid closing their doors. Even though they’ve been short-staffed from sick leave.

Their solution? Shifting workers around where needed. For example, their owner has been stepping in to be the host. Chefs have been stepping in on the front lines. And barbacks have been stepping in to bartend. That way, the show goes on for Gupshup, even when someone can’t show up.

Okay, but what if my employees don’t know how to step into other roles?
Fair point! While some roles can’t be replicated on the spot (like nurses or technicians), others can be temporarily filled in when the processes are documented. AKA when the job how-tos are written down in an easy-to-access location. That way, the person who is covering them can easily pull up the process, and get the job done if needed.

And even though the pandemic will eventually end, sick leave won’t. So, this strategy may come in handy for the long haul.


This week's highlight reel

  • Up, up, and away! According to the Conference Board (global business research org), budgets for salary increases in 2022 are estimated to rise to 3.9% – the highest rate since 2008. The estimated rate is attributed to an increase in wages for new hires and increased inflation.
  • Goodbye, Archie. ViacomCBS and WarnerMedia are considering the sale of The CW, the network known for broadcasting shows like Supernatural and Riverdale. The sale would free up resources for the companies to focus on content for their streaming services.
  • Late-night taco run? Taco Bell is entering the subscription market – the fast-food chain’s “Taco Lover’s Pass” allows customers to receive a daily taco for only $10 a month.

Organize the chaos
of your small business