Week 6 of Jessica’s Journal

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Stockpiling Cash or Paying Back Loans Now?

If you read or listened to any of our Zig Zag podcasts, you may have heard the advice to stockpile cash. We certainly did. We made our credit lines liquid even with our approval of a PPP loan just in case we needed it and wanted to get ahead of any liquidity issues banks may face.

Amazing how quickly things change. This article from April from Harvard Business Journal predicts and gives advice to small-to-medium enterprises to search for private investment as banks start to crack down. Now it seems there’s no worry about getting credit and liquifying credit – at least not short term concerns.

We’ll be holding on to our money for now because I don’t have a crystal ball. I still worry that the shit will hit the fan in two months, three months . . . maybe never? Maybe next week? As our sales cycles continue to stay in the 60-90 day mark and we look at incoming lead trends to try to make our best guess. In April, we did only 4 initial consultations. In May, we did 10 – our normal average. If June continues at 10 or more per month, we should be fine and I can look at paying back our line of credit.

Hiring in a frenzy when you’re unsure how long it will last?

That said, we are incredibly busy right now with new work that closed in February, March, and May – many of our new clients have urgency and tight deadlines around their campaigns and projects too which is putting extra pressure on our team. In normal times, we would just hire someone and have them go through our in-office onboarding, they would get a flavor of how awesome it is to work with us. I have two concerns: 1) hiring when I’m still worried about the bottom of everything falling out from underneath us and 2) onboarding new employees in a completely remote situation which isn’t ideal for their directors or the employee.

Likely, we’ll do temporary-to-permanent hires for production staff this year to play it on the safe side. I’ll be reaching out to some agencies to help me with that process. It’s a slightly better way to handle this instead of using a contractor which we already have several we trust. They’re just busy so we need some dedicated time from someone.

The second situation for onboarding them so they can operate like a Hot Dog pack member requires us going through our onboarding checklist and figuring out ways to do all of the items remotely. We’ll probably have to get creative. I’ll let you know what we figure out.

New Ideas for Going-Back-to-the-Office:

Have you talked to your landlord about building improvements? If you’re in a managed building, you may want to see what bathroom and entryway improvements can be made to make people feel safer. We’re looking at splitting the cost of touchless faucets in the bathroom with our landlord. We’re in a 200-year-old building so nothing is really “modern” about the doors or bathrooms, but we might be able to make some simple upgrades to make everyone feel safer.

Also, I’ve been discussing protocols for sick employees. Basically, companies are likely asking employees to complete a contact-tracing survey if they are sick that asks where in the office they’ve been and who at the office (clients, visitors, and employees) they’ve had close contact to so those individuals can go home to work for the next 14 days. It’s likely that our office is small enough that a single sick person would just shut us down completely for 14 days. Again, is it worth going back to the office yet? I’m not sure.

Employee survey results seem to indicate that no one is in a hurry to come back to work because of their own concerns for health or for the concern of public safety. Most of them haven’t wandered out much even with businesses reopening including bars. We probably won’t enter a phase one of reopening the office until August.