COVID-19 Business Update – 25 November 2020
Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. We hope you and your family are safe and doing well. Read on for the latest updates and some ideas that will help us all move forward.
Small Businesses Bearing the Brunt of COVID-19
Statistics Canada said small businesses have been impacted the most by the pandemic because many are unable to take on more debt and are more likely to experience a decrease in revenue.
Nearly one-quarter of businesses with 19 or fewer employees reported revenues being down by 40% in August compared to the previous year. Roughly 6% of businesses with one to four employees said they were actively considering bankruptcy or were closing because of COVID-19.
If your business is struggling to bounce back amid the crisis, get in touch with us so we can help you get back on track.
Online Shopping Set to Hit Record This Year in Canada
Statistics Canada said online sales are set to hit a record this year in Canada amid limits on in-person shopping during the pandemic. The new data is in line with Statistics Canada’s estimates from the spring, when retail e-commerce sales more than doubled from February to May.
In a separate survey of 600 adults by Google Canada in late October also suggested that 70% of respondents were looking online, not in-store, for holiday gifts.
Do you want to add a new revenue stream by getting your business online? Book a one-on-one consultation with us so we can work out a plan.
New Rent Subsidy Program Kicks Off
Businesses struggling to pay the bills because of the COVID-19 pandemic will be able to start applying Monday for a long-awaited new commercial rent-relief program offered by the federal government.
The new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy will cover up to 65% of rent or commercial mortgage interest on a sliding scale based on revenue declines, with an extra 25% available to the hardest-hit firms.
Further details of this new rent assistance can be found here. You may also contact us so we can help you apply or consider other options you may be eligible for.
Applications Open for Three New Benefits
The Canadian government has opened the application process for the three new benefits that are intended to help people who lost their income because of COVID-19.
The Canada Revenue Agency has opened the applications on the My Account section of their website for the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB), and the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB).
If you need help with your application, get in touch with us so we can assist you. You may also book a consultation with us so we can explore other financial assistance options you may be eligible for.
CanExport: New Funding for Small- and Medium-Sized Businesses
The CanExport program will be pivoting to provide new support to small and medium-sized businesses on e-commerce, online platforms, and virtual trade events. Additional resources will also be provided to help businesses navigate changing trade rules, as well as women and Indigenous entrepreneurs.
Up to $75,000 in funding will be available to help Canadian SMEs break into international markets.
Up to $75,000 in funding to help Canadian SMEs, academic institutions and non-government research centres develop R&D collaborations through partnerships in foreign markets.
Starting December 1, 2020, Canadian national industry associations and trade organizations can apply for annual funding of up to $400,000 to pursue international business development activities.
You can find more information here.
New Canada United Small Business Relief Fund
The Canada United Small Business Relief Fund brings together financial institutions and business associations to support small businesses affected by COVID-19.
Starting August 31, the fund provides up to $5,000 in funding toward recovery efforts such as buying personal protective equipment, renovating physical spaces, or developing e-commerce capabilities.
This new funding is being managed by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce on behalf of the national Chamber network.
New COVID-19 Rules for International Travellers
Starting November 21, anyone arriving in Canada by air will be required to submit a quarantine plan and a novel coronavirus “self-assessment” before getting on a flight. Those who are entering the country by land are also strongly encouraged to do the same.
The information must be submitted digitally through the ArriveCAN app. Meanwhile, those who can’t use the app to submit must contact the government using a toll-free telephone number before starting their trip.
Furthermore, travellers are required to use the ArriveCAN app to send updates after they arrive in Canada, including confirmation that they have made it to their place of quarantine or mandatory self-isolation. Those in quarantine will also have to submit a daily update on their COVID-19 health status throughout the duration of their quarantine.
Failing to comply with these new rules could be subject to penalties ranging from verbal warning to a $1,000 fine.
More information can be found here.
Canada’s COVID-19 Alert App Updated to Include More Precise Information
The COVID Alert app can now provide more precise information to people who are exposed to the virus.
Users who test positive for COVID-19 can enter the time their symptoms started or the date they were tested. These bits of information are important to determine when they were most infectious to others, while those who are exposed can better estimate the time period they were at risk.
The new features are optional and the additional data will not be shared with the government or anyone else.
FREE Team Collaboration Tools for Small Businesses
As remote work arrangements have become far more common than ever, team collaboration and communication tools have become necessary to keep the work running smoothly. If you are looking to cut down on your monthly expenses, below are some FREE tools that can help.
Best Tools for Chat
Slack sorts out team communication into various messaging channels so everyone can stay in the loop. Its free plan will give you access to unlimited messages, video calls, and channels.
A great alternative to Slack, Flock makes it easy for your team to stay in touch. The free version comes with unlimited one-on-one and group messages, 5GB of storage for each member, and access to up to 10 different channels.
Initially exclusive for companies with Office 365 subscription, Microsoft Teams now has a free plan for small businesses and startups. It is free for up to 300 users, offers unlimited messages and channels, and can integrate with over 140 different popular apps.
Best Tools for Video Conferencing
Currently the most popular video conferencing app today, Zoom offers video and private chat options, screen-sharing capabilities, and private chat options. The free plan allows up to 100 participants, unlimited one-on-one meetings, and group meetings limited to 40 minutes.
RingCentral is also a reliable way to host video and audio calls. You can also share screens, record meetings, unlimited one-on-one calls, engage in group or private text chats, and group calls limited to 40 minutes.
Also a widely used video conferencing tool, Skype provides audio and HD video calls, public and private chats, group calls for up to 25 participants, and screen sharing. What makes Skype unique is its voice translator which supports 10 different languages.
Best Tools for Project Management and File Sharing
Google Drive allows you to collaborate with your team over documents in real time. Signing up to Google Drive also allows you to gain access to Docs, Sheets, and Slides.
An all in one project management tool, Trello boards let you manage every aspect of a project from start to end. Users can assign tasks, due dates, tag other users in comments, share documents, and create built-in workflows.
One of the best apps for assigning tasks, staying on top of your team’s progress, and improving team communication, Asana is free for up to 15 team members.
Need more expert business advice and tips? Get in touch with us for a FREE one-on-one consultation!
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