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Episodes

Supporting Small Businesses with Chrissy Houlahan

As Pennsylvania begins to open up following the relaxing of lock-down orders, we had the opportunity to sit down with U.S. Representative Chrissy Houlahan. We discuss how the federal government has been supporting small businesses and how local business owners and leaders can engage with Rep. Houlahan and her office, to get assistance and to drive legislation.

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Notes

How is the Federal government supporting small and mid-size businesses?

  • “We are all trying to build a good business – hard in the best of times.”
  • The Federal Government has done a number of things:
    • Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), to enable small and medium businesses to keep staff on payroll
    • Economic Injury Disaster Loan Emergency Advance Program (EIDL)
    • Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act – fixes some issues with PPP
      • Extends timeline for using the loan or grant funding
      • Provides for a better split on what money that has to be used for payroll, versus for other businesses expenses
      • Loan period has been extended to 5-years (from 2)
  • Business in Chester County and Berks County also have different loan and grant programs
  • As of the recording of this show, there is $100 billion still available in the above programs

How can businesses re-open safely?

  • Follow the locally suggested practices for social distancing, wearing of masks, and other guidelines for limiting the risk of spreading COVD-19
  • Be flexible and innovative in exploring ways to sustain businesses

How can business owners and leaders get involved?

  • There are a number of task forces working on preparing for the reopening of business
  • There is a task force in Rep. Houlahan’s office for small businesses; it’s email address is pa06.smallbusiness@mail.house.gov
  • The task force can provide both individualized assistance, but also access to resources and valuable content
  • The feedback of local business owners is the way that the Federal government drives new legislation

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Episodes

Leading a Remote Company with Brad Williams

As businesses forced to work from home due to the coronavirus begin to wake up the possibilities of working remotely, we spoke to a local business owner who leads a completely remote company, with 40 full-time employees. CEO and Co-Founder, Brad Williams has lead WebDevStudios for a decade. Brad shared his experience and advice for professional services firms considering a permanent transition to remote working.

Links

Notes

What are some recommendations for structuring remote work?

  • Make it very clear to your employees what your expectations are. 
  • Employees may wonder “Do you expect me to say hi in the morning?” Simple signals and notifications make it easier for team members to know who is around.
  • Set expectation of responsiveness: When do emails or Slack members require a reply? Immediately? Same day?
  • There shouldn’t be an expectation to respond right away unless it’s an emergency
  • It’s also about managing the expectations of colleagues – If you’re going to step away for more than 15 minutes, consider letting your colleagues know.
  • Slack allows for folks to share their working hours.
  • Set boundaries for when you’re working or not working. 
  • WFH – working from home – means there’s not a clear definition of when you are or are not working. 
  • Many of remote team are using Zoom, Slack, etc.

What are some key advantages of working remotely?

  • Remote companies can hire folks from anywhere, which can allow them to hire the right people for the company’s needs. 
  • Remote working reduces costs – employers don’t need to spend a ton of renting an office or physical location. That money can be redirect into salaries, employee benefits, computer equipment, training, and more .

Is there a benefit to having a person local to a client?

  • Definitely! Having a team local to the client is a great card to play. The human connection is of real value.

What processes should businesses consider when trying to manage clients and projects remotely?

  • Getting a group on a Zoom call / video conference on can be very beneficial. 
  • Any time there’s conflict or confusion, get on a phone call or a Zoom call – reduce the risk of misunderstanding by talking
  • Things can spiral downward if your team is out of sync, or if you’re out of sync with clients
  • Go with what works best for your business and people