COVID-19 ResourcesIndustry News

Free resources for bike shops adjusting to COVID-19

It goes without saying that Bike Shops occupy a strange (and sometimes) confusing place in the whole Coronaviurs equation. And while publishers like Outside Magazine remind us that “Damn Right, Bike Shops are Essential Businesses,” conversations with stores across the country have told us that the day-to-day reality for our members truly runs the gamut – from businesses operating with smaller crews to virtual demos and “by appointment only” service calls. 

Changing the way you do business isn’t easy (even when it’s temporary). Whether you’re looking for new ways to improve cash flow, unlock emergency funds, or minimize in-person contact – we’ve compiled the below resources to make the process easier.

Cutting costs and boosting cash flow

Now is an important time for all IBDs to cut costs where they can. Below, find some suggestions on where to look and how to proceed.

  • Talk to your tax professional: two new provisions in the Coronavirus Stimulus Plan (CARES) give you ways to generate cash quickly with minor tax adjustments.  This includes deferring social security tax payment and carrying back your net operating losses to offset taxable income and claim a quick refund of income taxes paid in prior years. But this is only scratching the surface: get the details on new relief sources available to you here.
  • Inquire about rent relief: Rent abatement is available in many locales. Talk to your business landlord for options. Members:TBC has resources available to help with this.
  • Negotiate with vendors: Wherever possible, discuss payment plans with your vendors and determine what your options are for cancelling or returning orders. 
  • Promote gift cards: Gift cards are a fast and easy way to quickly generate cash and the promise of future shoppers. You can even consider further incentives to buy a gift-card or collaborations with complimentary businesses. Lean on your mailing list to get the word out!
  • Discount stock that’s underperforming: Now isn’t the time for dead stock. To ensure you’re not sitting on cash held up in inventory, do what you can with bundles, discounts, and special offers to sell off what you can. The Bike Cooperative is also offering 2 months of free access to our full suite of tools, including Co-optics, which can add valuable insights into purchasing and inventory decisions.
  • Take advantage of group discounts: Whether you’re a TBC member with access to our cost cutting service or you’re part of your local Chamber of Commerce (or another industry group), you likely have access to discounts that can reduce daily operating expenses. Take advantage of every one you can.

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Members have access to powerful tools, purpose-built to empower the Independent Bike Dealer. Ready to see how they work with a two month trial?
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Accessing emergency funding

New options available for emergency funding are becoming available by the day, but your most reliable source of funding remains the U.S. Small Business Administration.

U.S. Small Business Administration loans are available to small businesses who require immediate cash flow to offset lost revenue. The passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) act created a number of new avenues for small businesses to seek aid. 

The two most important provisions include the Payroll Protection Plan (PPP) and eased restrictions on Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) from the Small Business Administration. With options ranging from forgivable $10,000 advances (EIDL) to entirely forgivable loans (PPP), getting to know the solutions and getting started with an application will be incredibly worthwhile. Take a look at our guide here to move forward with your shop’s application.

For a full list of regularly updated resources available to you – visit the Small Business Administration (SBA) website for the most up-to-date information .  

Helpful tips from our members:

  • New regulations allow store owners to also apply for unemployment under the CARES legislation (Normally independent owners cannot apply and receive benefits)
  • Retailers need to be extremely thorough when tracking their expenditures from the loans in order to qualify for loan forgiveness. One member has suggested opening a separate bank account to make this easier.

Facebook will be offering $100 million in cash grants and advertising credits for up to 30,000 small businesses in 30 countries. They’ve also created a Resource Hub that provides small business owners with free information to cope with COVID-19,  including a Resilience Toolkit and a Quick Action guide.

Citibank has waived fees and penalties for qualified small businesses affected by the outbreak.

Kiva is a useful non-profit resource for small-business loans up to $15,000 at 0% interest. Learn more on how to get started at their website.

Keeping your team productive and informed

Zoom: If you’re one of the stores getting creative and consulting with customers via video chat, Zoom might be able to help. As one of the leading providers of free video conferencing, they are now hosting webinars to help small businesses use their platform. Their website makes it easy to get started. LogMeIn and GoToMeeting are also providing businesses with  “Emergency Remote Work Kits”, including solutions for meetings and video conferencing, webinars, virtual events, and more

PandaDoc: Have you shifted service to pick-up and/or delivery only? If you have, PandaDoc has a solution for you to eliminate in-person signatures from customers with their free e-signature plan, created to help you stay busy without sharing a pen, collecting a piece of paper, or meeting face to face.

ADP: one of North America’s leading human resources and payroll management services has created an expertly researched and written Coronavirus Preparedness Toolkit which includes answers to questions about employee management, continuity plans, payroll, and more.

Exclusive for existing ADP customers: ADP is providing access to LifeMart Discounts accessible on the MyADP Mobile Application for customers using Run Powered by ADP. These discounts can be used with vendors ranging from Blue Apron, Costo, and Sam’s Club to Verizon and 1-800-Flowers.

For the kids

Are you juggling emails and calls with juice boxes, homework, and an endless stream of questions? If life as a business owner is running up against life as a home-school teacher, an almost overwhelming variety of free educational content is being made available to help you out. But don’t get too bogged down by everything out there, pick a few and go with it. We’ve included some recommendations below.

Scholastic Learn at Home is providing day-by-day projects that can help your kids stay ‘reading, thinking, and growing’. Get started on their website by choosing a grade-level.

Drawing Classes by the Kennedy Center’s artist-in-residence at Home are a fun and innovative way to keep young minds (and hands) occupied while the family spends more time at home. In each short episode, Mo Willems,  the creator of ‘Don’t let the Pigeon Drive the Bus’ and illustrator for Sesame Street and The Muppets teaches your kids how to draw, talks about his own artistic process, and keeps it fun. Watch Lunch Doodles with Mo on Youtube

Amazon Prime is helping parents out with free kids programming on Amazon Prime (if you’re willing to relax some ‘device’ rules around the house). An Amazon login is required, but a prime subscription is not.

For more information

There’s a lot of information out there for retailers like you. If you’re looking for a state-by-state guide to ongoing developments, take a look at the Outdoor Industry Association’s State & Federal Policy Updates During COVID-19 page. Here, you can easily find an up-to-date overview of restrictions and protective measures in-place for your state.

Work together, go further

Members have access to powerful tools, purpose-built to empower the Independent Bike Dealer. Ready to see how they work with a two month trial?
Become a Member