As the Coronavirus and the resulting mitigation efforts continue to cause disruptions around the world and within the promotional product industry, AIA is committed to supporting distributors through uncertain times. We’re all facing new challenges that just days ago, didn’t exist. In that spirit, we’ve compiled a list of resources that may be helpful for independent distributors looking for guidance.
Useful Work From Home Technology
While working from home and conducting virtual meetings may be old hat for some, we realize it’s a whole new ballgame for others. If you’re used to face-to-face meetings and cringe at the thought of social distancing, here’s some free video conferencing solutions that help to make the virtual magic happen:
- Google Meet -If you have G Suite, you already have access to Google Meet. We use it at AIA and our Owners have access to it as well. It’s frictionless tech that allows you to hold a video conference instantly with no need for additional downloads or plug-ins.
- Zoom -Simplified meetings, video conferencing and chat.
- Skype -Yes, Skype is still around and it’s owned by Microsoft. You can do group calls and it can be used from a browser, meaning you can communicate with people who don’t have the app installed.
- FreeConference -International dial-in is available with FreeConference and no software downloads are necessary. The maximum number of participants is five, so it’s great for small group or one-on-one meetings.
COVID-19 Promotional Products Industry Updates
Like distributors, promotional product suppliers have been significantly affected by the Coronavirus.
- The Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI) has been updating information regarding the operations of several of them, available here: Coronavirus: Updates From Industry Companies
- PPAI has posted updates here: PPAI Coronavirus Information
- Additionally, many suppliers have experienced increased phone calls and emails and may not be responsive right away. In many cases their operating status has been posted on their websites and/or social media.
This resource will assist you in putting together a plan that will protect your employees while ensuring continuity of operations. It also guides employers on policies and practices that are consistent with public health recommendations.
Cancelled orders and reduced business can be detrimental for small businesses. The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering designated states and territories low-interest (3.75%) federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus. These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of impact from the Coronavirus.
In looking for local guidance and assistance you should check with your state for business resources. Additionally, the U.S. Small Business Administration works with many local partners.
The U.S. Chamber has compiled key messaging for businesses, example posts, social media graphics, and CDC recommendations here.
Work On Your Business And Yourself
In the midst of all of the social distancing, you may find yourself with some extra time. Why not spend it on improving your business or yourself? Get to some of those projects that you’ve been putting off for the last few months so when business begins to get back to normal you’ll be ready to hit the ground running. If you’re looking to improve yourself and your business acumen here’s a list of almost 500 FREE online courses that are offered by Ivy League universities, 112 of which are business courses.
AIA-affiliated Owners are encouraged to contact their Owner Success Manager with any questions or concerns, and remember that the AIA team is here to support you!