Updated COVID-19 information from Washington State.

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What you should know about…

Updated statewide guidance on COVID-19 requirements

On May 13, 2021, Gov. Jay Inslee announced a presumptive June 30 end date for many COVID-19 capacity restrictions for businesses. In addition, the governor signaled that all counties will move to Phase 3 as of May 18, 2021, and that fully vaccinated individuals will no longer be mandated to wear face coverings, whether indoors or outdoors. Businesses may continue to require face coverings by all customers if they choose, and continued vigilance around sanitizing and social distancing indoors is encouraged.  You can read more here.

For employers, the Department of Labor & Industries has issued guidance on how to safely implement the new face-covering standard for fully vaccinated employees.  Continue reading

Revenue is revenue, right?

by Kelly Dies, Soundpoint Consulting

A dollar is a dollar. That’s true. And, all revenue is equal. Right? Well no, not in an investor’s or potential buyer’s eye. So what makes some revenue good and other revenue better? 

Recurring

Recurring revenue is highly desirable because is it known and predictable. The best example of this is an auto-renewal fee or service charge periodically charged directly to a customer’s credit card. Once the initial sale is complete there are no more costs to acquire a customer. The revenue stream is much like an annuity. Continue to provide the goods or services as promised and the revenue keeps coming in. 

Great examples of this are insurance premiums and streaming fees. Once customers have decided to purchase the product – and assuming they remain content, they are happy to have their credit card billed automatically. 

In contrast, consulting and attorney fees are often one-time in nature. Revenue ceases when the project is complete and the engagement ends. 

High Switching Costs

Revenue generated from products or services that have high switching costs are more reliable than from those which do not. Switching costs can vary from technical reliance to data lock-up to high start-up costs with a new vendor.

A great example of high switching costs includes services which are outsourced, such as payroll processing. The cost to bring the work in-house is significant as you would have to hire and train a staff of people for this function.  Likewise, a bank account with automatic bill pay also has high switching costs, as unwinding those (recurring) transactions is a pain in the neck!

High switching costs in combination with recurring revenue results in some very high quality revenue. Take for example, my relationship with Constant Contact which reliably sends these monthly newsletters to you on my behalf. My credit card is billed monthly. And, it would be a quite an undertaking to transfer my email list to another email provider. Do you think

Constant Contact is at risk of losing my revenue? Absolutely not!

Loyal Customers

Revenue from a loyal customer base is extremely valuable. Not only does it guarantee repeat business but it potentially means additional business from referrals, thus significantly reducing the overall need for marketing and advertising spend.  

Good examples of this are a trusted relationship with your tax preparer or a favorite clothing store. Although switching costs may not be high, loyalty keeps you from looking elsewhere.   

Consider two comparable stores with the only difference being the loyalty of the customer base. The store with the more loyal customers has less customer churn and doesn’t have to work as hard for every dollar of revenue. Conversely, the store without the loyal customers has to work hard for every dollar earned. Not surprisingly, the investor/banker/ potential buyer will value the first store more. 

What are you doing to earn and keep the loyalty of your customers? 

High Margins

All businesses have revenue streams with different margins. Revenue that generates higher gross margins is more valuable than revenue which generates lower margins. Makes sense. You cannot generate much income from a revenue stream that is saddled with large variable costs.  

And, if a revenue stream costs more to produce than the dollars it generates, well that is not good. It’s like giving someone $1 in exchange for 85¢. Do this in too often and you will soon be out of business. 

The bottom line – know and manage your unit costs. Try to divert revenue from your lower margin products to those with higher margins. 

Diversified

Just like an investment portfolio, a diversified customer and supplier base is less risky than if you are highly dependent upon a handful of them. 

If one of your largest customers were to transfer business to a competitor, how quickly can your business recover? Or, if your largest suppliers were to run into financial difficulties, could you weather the storm? 

If your business model is highly dependent upon Google, Amazon or Microsoft, what happens if they change how they do business with companies such as yours? Trust me, you do not have much negotiating power with these guys. 

A good rule of thumb is that your top 5 customers should not be responsible for more than 15% of your total revenue. A similar metric should hold for suppliers. 

If you would like assistance improving the quality of your revenue, please give me a call. I would be happy to help.

Join the SBA’s Seattle district office to learn about the Restaurant Revitalization Fund

The American Rescue Plan Act established the Restaurant Revitalization Fund to provide funding to help restaurants and other eligible businesses keep their doors open. 

During this live webinar we will discuss: 

  • What is the Restaurant Revitalization Fund
  • Who is eligible to apply
  • How much money you can get 
  • How funds can be used
  • How and when to apply 
  • Where to get help with your application

Staff from SBA will be answering your questions live throughout the presentation with dedicated Q&A time at the end. 

Who should attend: Current small business owners who have experienced pandemic related revenue losses who own a restaurant, bar, and other similar places of business that serve food or drink.

Business & Worker Newsletter

What you should know about

Business Grants

April 9 deadline for Working Washington Grants: Round 4

The application portal is still open! This program is administered by the state Department of Commerce and focuses on brick-and-mortar for-profit small businesses, especially those that were required to close due to public health and safety measures. Grant awards will be up to $25,000. Visit commercegrants.com for information. Materials are available in multiple languages and technical assistance teams are ready to help with questions.

WSDA COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Grants for ag-related sectors

The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) is offering grants to small agriculture-related businesses in sectors that have suffered economically due to the coronavirus pandemic, but have been left out of earlier relief programs.

The WSDA Relief and Recovery grants, funded through a partnership with the state Department of Commerce, are intended to assist small businesses in four agriculture sectors, which include:

  • Shellfish growers
  • Farmers market organizations
  • Agritourism farms
  • Small breweries, cideries, wineries, and distilleries that depend on tap and tasting room sales

The application period for the WSDA grants will be open for two weeks, beginning as soon as Friday, April 9. Visit agr.wa.gov/grants to learn more.

Small Business Administration’s Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program launches this week

The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program includes over $16 billion in grants to shuttered venues, to be administered by SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance. The application portal is scheduled to open Thursday, April 8.

Eligible entities include:

  • Live venue operators or promoters
  • Theatrical producers
  • Live performing arts organization operators
  • Relevant museum operators, zoos and aquariums who meet specific criteria
  • Motion picture theater operators
  • Talent representatives

More information about eligibility and the application process are available here.


What you should know about…

COVID-19 Response

COVID-19 vaccine distribution update

The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) continues to make progress with their COVID-19 vaccine distribution and administration efforts.

As of March 29, more than 3,325,998 doses of vaccine have been given across the state, which is 83% of the 4,006,330 doses that have been delivered to Washington state providers and long-term care programs. Washington is currently averaging 55,894 vaccine doses given each day. This information can be found on the DOH data dashboard under the vaccines tab, which is updated three times per week.

Inslee announces vaccine eligibility expansion to all adults April 15

Gov. Jay Inslee recently announced that effective April 15, all Washingtonians age 16 and up will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. 

Over the past four months since Washington began administering doses of the vaccination, the state has followed a tiered eligibility system, beginning with those most at risk of hospitalization and death.

The governor and the state Department of Health (DOH) have also prioritized equity issues in each phase to ensure vaccine access to populations disproportionately affected by the virus, including communities of color and low-income communities. 

The expansion of eligibility comes, in part, in response to a recent uptick in COVID cases in the state. 

Find more information on the COVID-19 vaccine here

Use the Vaccine Locator tool to register for a vaccination appointment here

For DOH’s COVID-19 Information Hotline, dial 1.800.525.0127, then press #. Language assistance is available.


What you should know about…

Resources for small businesses

Washington Requirements and Resources Webinars

Start a Business in Washington,” is a free, one hour webinar which includes information about business registration and licensing, other regulatory requirements, and resources for further assistance. The webinar is scheduled for April 14 at 2 p.m. Click here for more information and to register online or call 800-917-0043.

Additionally, the free, 90-minute “COVID-19 Impact Webinar” includes the Governor’s Office of Regulatory Innovation and Assistance and the state departments’ of Employment Security, Labor and Industries, and Revenue. These partners provide an overview of resources, updates, emergency rule changes, and other impacts affecting small businesses to create a new successful path forward. Subject matter experts are available online answering questions throughout the webinar.  The webinar is scheduled for April 22 at 2 p.m. Click here for more information and to register online or call 800-917-0043 and the Spanish webinar is at 9:00 a.m. Click here for more information and to register online or call 360-515-6101.

Keep Your Business Secure in the Pandemic Era

Date:  Tuesday, April 6, 2021
Time:  3 – 4 p.m.
Via: Zoom (link to be provided)
Register Here

Ever wonder if your company’s information is on the dark web? 

Credential hacking, email phishing, the dark web–all are increasing threats to businesses these days. The global pandemic brought business a slew of challenges, not the least of which is fast-changing security issues. With many companies turning to remote ways of working, they’re increasingly relying on virtual activities like email, meetings, and remote access to systems. And each hold a unique set of security risks. This presentation will outline those risks as well as provide tips on how to mitigate them (and some even remove altogether). Continue reading

How can a non-tech savvy small businesses improve its marketing?

by Ken Sethney, Kitsap SCORE

Trying to understand the effectiveness of your marketing efforts without access to measurable results means your business is flying blind.

Marketing data gives you the insight you need to make well-informed decisions about your marketing efforts and know how to adopt the right marketing efforts to drive the biggest return on your investment.

Reliable analytics will empower you to make data-driven decisions that improve the effectiveness of your marketing.

Just about every business needs an online presence regardless of what they sell. And, bringing customers and prospects to your website should always be one of your primary marketing goals.

Google Analytics is the website analysis platform most used by businesses to get real- time data for insight into how many people visit their website, who those people are, which products or services they’re most interested in, and much more.

Because of its ability to dig into the weeds of your web traffic, Google Analytics is one of the best tools for determining the effectiveness of your marketing and learning how to improve it. Fortunately, you don’t need to be a technology expert or SEO professional to use the platform.

By familiarizing yourself with how to pull some basic information, you can gain an understanding of how well your website is performing for your business. Even at its most basic level, Google Analytics is a tool that the non-tech savvy business owner can operate and benefit from exploring.

  1. Visitor Volume
    See daily and monthly web visitor volume, monitor trends, watch ebbs and flows during
    your marketing campaigns and compare traffic performance as time passes by.
  2. Average Time on Site
    Track how long visitors stay on your website as well as which pages they view.
  3. Bounce Rate
    Measure how many of your visitors quickly left your website after landing on just one
    page. Visitors who leave quickly likely did not read your content and are not interested.
  4. New vs. Returning Visitors
    Measure the ratio of new vs. returning visitors. This is useful data when measuring the impact of your marketing efforts on prospects vs. existing customers.
  5. Traffic Sources
    Determine where your audience is coming from – from different websites and different
    geographic locations.
  6. Conversions
    Set-up conversion tracking and measure the percentage of your website visitors who make a purchase, fill out a contact form, or take some other desired action.

    There are so many tracking capabilities available to small businesses through Google Analytics and these just scratch the surface. One of the best is its comparison tool that allows you to compare data year-over-year to identify trends. This can be hugely helpful in planning your long-term marketing efforts. Google Analytics has the ability to give you better insight into your web visitors’ behavior so you can use make more strategic marketing decisions.

    Fire up your analytics and start making more strategic, data-driven marketing decisions.

    Even if you’re a non-tech savvy business owner, you can still easily make Google Analytics work for your business with the right support. There are many resources available to help small businesses navigate this tool and make sense of the data. One of those resources is your SCORE mentor.

    For help with starting, growing or successfully exiting your business venture, contact SCORE — Mentors to America’s Small Business. SCORE is a nonprofit organization with more than 11,000 volunteers who provide free, confidential business mentoring and training workshops to small business owners. To contact Kitsap SCORE, email kitsap@scorevolunteer.org or call 360-328-1380.

Working Washington Grants Round 4: March 29th thru April 9th

Working Washington Round 4 offers grant relief funds to small for-profit businesses, especially those that were required to close due to public health and safety measures.
These grants are NOT first-come, first-served, so please do not rush in submitting your application. You will want to make sure all of your documents and application are correct because there are no opportunities to edit or amend applications with this go-around.

Continue reading

Working Washington Grants Open Round 4 Next Week

These grants of up to $25,000 are focused on small businesses, especially those that were required to close due to public health and safety measures.
Priorities for funding are:
  • Businesses with lost revenue as a result of closure.
  • Businesses with added expenses to maintain safe operations.
  • Equitable distribution of grant funds across the state and to businesses owned and operated by historically disadvantaged individuals.
Online applications open March 29.