My business is in the Event Industry, what can I do to survive the COVID-19 Crisis?
If you are an Event Planner, Venue, Event Entertainer, Event Producer ,Photographer or Photo Booth, chances are you are more frustrated than anyone right now. During this trying time, no industry has been impacted more severely than the Events Industry, yet nobody in the news seems to have any clear answers of what can be done or when this will end. Event cancellations by the masses across the country has led to zero income to these businesses and the newly created public fear [of attending events] will drastically reduce the number of events planned or organized for the near future. For these reasons, we are outlining a few steps simple steps you should immediately take to protect your Event Industry business. We hope this article can provide you with some simple guidance and resources that can help you navigate this difficult time for all of us!
- Stop the Bleeding - Temporarily freeze or hold any recurring payments for services that you are not using so they don't drain your bank account. Some examples that could be cancelled for the short term include phone bills, advertising websites (i.e. The Knot, Wedding Pro), or insurance premiums. In some instances, you may even be able to get free credits so that you can continue using services without paying monthly for them. For example Google recently announced that they are giving small to medium size businesses impacted by COVID-19 free Google Adwords Credits for the next few months.
- Use a Company Furlough and Unemployment Benefits - Large companies have been implementing this strategy for decades to survive difficult times. If you are a small business, a company furlough will allow you to pause expensive payroll but also allow you to retain your best employees with the option for them to come back. Unlike a company layoff where employees aren't expected to come back, a company furlough will give notice to your employees that you do plan to bring them back as soon as you possibly can. Also, the new economic stimulus package passed by Congress will allow you to collect unemployment benefits as a self-employed business owner so don't hesitate to file unemployment as the owner of a business. More information can be found here:
- Take Advantage of Tax Grace Periods - Both on the Federal and State level, extensions for filing taxes are now being offered so that you can make late payments on taxes with no penalty or interest if you were a business impacted by COVID-19.
- The new Federal Income Tax deadline is now July 15 instead of April 15th.
- You will also not be charged interest or penalty fees if you are unable to pay your state quarterly Sales Tax.
- Consolidate your Debt - If you have multiple outstanding credit cards for your business, now is the time to simplify all of them to one card.
- Apply for COVID-19 Emergency Grants or Loans - Seek additional funding to create a a longer life line. We don't know how long this can last so be prepared for a long marathon with a substantial cushion of funding. Loans should be your last resort to keep your business afloat since the last thing you want to do is have a deeper hole to climb out of for the next coming months or years.
- Rebuild and Pivot - Don't waste any time waiting for business as usual to come back! Remember, all tragedy creates new opportunities. If you are a smaller business, it also means you can pivot much faster and get ahead when adopting new market trends. It is highly unlikely that any business in the Events Industry will operate in the same way even after the apex of Corona Virus passes. Now is the time to explore new services that can be offered. For example, social distancing has led to the explosion of online Zoom Parties. If you haven't heard of it, Zoom is an online platform that enables the participation of multiple attendees to engage in a video conference call at the same time. If you are an event planner, you can start offering your existing clients a service that organizes their Zoom Party whether it be a birthday, graduation party, or company happy hour. You can even brand them and have every attendee dress for the special occasion.
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