COVID-19: How Does a Small Business Owner Deal With the Psychological Trauma?


Many small business owners have been frustrated by the federal government’s implantation of Trillions of dollars for the small businesss: https://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources

At the end of another day, for me and other business owners, the demands on retaining employees, customers and vendors is paramount!

Lord, how hard do we work in these uncertain times? How do we take care of others? How do we take care of ourselves?

How do we take care of ourselves and our businesses?

Since the COVID-19 lockdown went into effect I have worked from home almost exclusively. Sometimes I have felt like I’m on an island, alone and frankly, afraid.

Not a good place to be psychologically. I know this and will not allow a “novel coronavirus” derail everything I’ve built for the past ten years. Daily routines were radically altered so here are a few things I have done to keep myself off the COVID-19 island.

  • Take a deep breath! Yes, this present reality SUCKS! Breathe! You are alive. And Life is Good!;
  • Take a walk. Walk around the neighborhood. A park or beach (if open). Move your body. Release some endorphins. You’ll feel better.
  • Call your kids, siblings, parents, grandparents. It may come as a welcome surprise that you are reaching out during a typically busy business day. Remember to tell them, “I love you!”.
  • Exercise. It’s been on your annual New Year’s Resolution for years: “losing weight and gaining strength” only to have the daily “life (business) as usual” pull us away from our goals. What better time to do it than now?
    • Toward that, the OC Fitness Coach will give you an easy workout program based upon your physical condition and equipment you have (if any). And, it’s FREE. (next excuse?).
  • Love one another.
    • Everyone is stressed.
      • Immediate family members have seen WAY more of us than typical. (Editor’s note: Keep it up post COVID).
      • Employees (current, furloughed, etc.) are anxious. Keep them in the loop! Call, text, email them. Let them know what’s going on with the business. And how are they doing?
      • Customers & Clients are dealing with this too. More on this later.
  • Talk to other business owners and/or their employees (social distancing appreciated).
    • How are they? How can you help them? (Nothing helps self healing than healing others);
    • There’s lots of business networking groups that are still meeting virtually. The Mission Viejo Chamber of Commerce‘s weekly Daybreakers networking breakfast had over 50 local business leaders online. That’s not far off from the pre-lockdown days when we met at the High Park Tap House.
  • Do the things for your business and relationships you never have had time for:
    • Internet Search:
      • While we are trying to flatten the curve on COVID-19, your local customers are still searching for your services. And, more than ever, you need to be highly visible to them in their search results on Google when they query your most relevant keywords.
    • Social Media:
      • Get on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter. etc. Get your followers engaged. A sale or discount isn’t going to cut it just now. Instead,
        • Display staff photos, stories of employee challenges and how they are overcoming them, your own personal story. People are hurting now. They can relate to others hurting also.
    • Email
      • Personal emails to your best customers. Not an email blast, rather direct from you to them, personally. Short and sweet. Again…”How are you? Your family? Your staff? Your friends?…”. How can you help them?
      • Email blasts. What are your hours currently? What discounts or specials are you offering? Share short stories of staff or other customers.
    • An adult beverage
      • At the end of another long and stressful day, there’s nothing like the “old stand-by” to take a bit of the edge off. A nice glass of wine can really help. But remember, you have to work again tomorrow so don’t get a headache. Order some “No Headache Wine” from local King Frosch Wines

We are not on an island! You are not alone! I have many business associates (friends) going through the same thing, and so do you. Keeping in constant contact with your employees, customers and associates helps them and you

Stay “Top of Mind”

Do you have other tactics or strategies you have found that help you through the psychological effects of the COVID-19 Lockdown? I would appreciate hearing about them!

Hang in there everyone. We’re doing great, together!

Local Orange County Businesses Adapt to Covid-19


I’ve been talking with a lot of local businesses lately. I have spoken to all of our clients and many members of the Mission Viejo Chamber of Commerce, which I am pleased to serve as an Ambassador. I’ve wanted to know how they are adapting their business and marketing strategies during the Covid-19 lockdown.

The common thread among all these conversations? “We are adapting. We are thinking outside the box. We WILL SURVIVE!”

Here is a sample of what some local businesses faced at the beginning of the lock down, what they’re doing to adapt to it and how they see themselves coming through when we turn this page, Covid-19.

OC Fitness Coach

One of the first businesses I spoke to after the lock down was ordered. Dan Tatro had lost 75% of his personal training clients in 72 hours. A former Army Ranger, Dan is a warrior. He immediately pivoted to provide in-home personal training to his client base and new clients whose gyms shut down but they still want to stay fit.

Still thinking outside the box, Dan is planning his exit strategy for the Covid-19 lock down. Dan’s 21 Day Fitness Challenge is a totally free complete fitness and nutrition program done virtually.

Knowing that we are all going stir crazy, Dan wants to support locals that want to stay active and fit. This program is for any age and any fitness level. You don’t even need any equipment! The OC Fitness Coach will design a custom workout routine around you and what you have.

Getting or staying fit or losing weight is all about having a solid support team behind you. Coaches and peers can encourage you to stay on track. Toward that, the OC Fitness Coaches will meet virtually with the members to review their goals and progress. And he’s putting together Facebook Groups of members of similar ages and fitness levels so they can support each other. Who knows, perhaps you’ll meet your next best friend post-Covid.

On the back end, we hope that those who join the Challenge will want to further their physical and nutritional progress after the lock down and flock to the OC Fitness Coach’s studio on Lake Mission Viejo.

Kwik Kopy Printing

The first thing that the owner of Kwik Kopy Printing, Dave Leckness, did when the “Shelter in Place” order was announced was to expand his marketing.

Dave reasoned that neighboring communities like Ladera Ranch and Rancho Santa Margarita would need envelopes, forms, cards, business cards, etc. Covid-19 or not. Overnight, Kwik Kopy’s Google Ads campaign was modified to focus on Ladera Ranch and RSM in addition to their pre-existing campaign focused exclusively on Mission Viejo.

Dave and Kwik Kopy Printing made it easy to get whatever printing is needed without ever leaving your home or office. Simply email artwork as a PDF file, they prepare the proofs which they email back. When the job is printed, Dave and his crew delivers them to your door.

Dave recognized that getting the first order from a customer is the toughest. He knew that if he could secure the business of local businesses in neighboring communities, he would have a customer for life.

As competitors pulled back from their marketing on Google, Dave’s cost per click dropped. Now he is acquiring new customers at a fraction of the cost than he would have paid just weeks ago.

Sterling Flooring and Tile

At first, you would think that the timing of the Covid-19 Lock Down could not have come at a worse time for Sterling Flooring and Tile. Alhough they have been established in Anaheim for decades, they are relative newbies in Mission Viejo.

Yet, March was their best month for sales since their recent opening. According to Dave Fay, their local general manager, having people at home so much has them looking closer at their surroundings. “Honey, our floors look like…”.

Although the showroom on Alicia and Fabricante is open, their staff has become mobile. They make house calls. Equipped with samples.

Easy Fleet GPS

Easy Fleet provides services to businesses that utilize a number of vehicles to perform. Keeping track of the vehicles, deliveries, pick-ups, etc. can be a daunting task. And, that means real money!

This local company contends with many large and multinational companies. Yet they provide more and better services at a lower cost.

Better price. Local service. How can you miss?

EasyFleet is offering Three Months of FREE services for new clients. (See: https://easyfleetgps.com/fleet-management-solution/

These guys are in a great market space. Their prospects/suspects need them. Now! And will continue.

If you manage multiple vehicles, this is an offer you should take advantage of, TODAY!

Schooley Mitchell

There is little doubt that many Orange County small businesses will need to minimize their overhead expenses now and after the lockdown. Schooley Mitchell offers cost reduction consulting that covers telecommunications, merchant services, waste disposal, and small package shipping.  

Evaluating these products and services in order to best balance your goals of minimum cost and maximum service can be a very time consuming and frustrating task. One of the best parts of their service is that if you do not implement our recommendations for savings, then they don’t charge you any fees. We are very confident that they will be able to help you, so we are willing to take the risk of spending our time to prepare the required in-depth analysis. Schooley Mitchell consultants are highly trained professionals in the field of cost reduction, and are sure they will deliver great value to you, both immediate and long-term.

So sure are they that they can help local businesses during this COVID-19 crisis, they are offering to defer their fee for 3 months to allow you to benefit in the near term from the savings they deliver, so that you can keep your business running lean and focus on revenue initiatives.

Share Your Success Strategies

Have you implemented some awesome strategies to help flatten the curve that the Covid-19 lockdown has presented your business? Do you know of other local businesses that are thinking outside of the box?

We would love to hear from you so we can share your innovation to help others in and around Orange County. Call or email Jim@949local.com with news and views that we can include in future releases.

There is light at the end of the tunnel, folks. It appears that Covid-19 is peaking and even starting a descent in many areas of California. We ARE going to get through this together. And we will emerge stronger than ever, together. In the meantime, stay well!

Government Programs for Small Business Affected by Coronavirus & Covid-19


Governor Newsom held a press conference today in which he outlined what the state is doing to help those affected by the CoronaVirus and Covid-19. A good portion of his briefing centered on small business.

The state has set up a website that describes each of the programs currently in place or in process now. I was pleased to see some serious dollars being made available in grants and loans to small businesses. One example is an interest free deferral of sales taxes of up to $50,000 for businesses with taxable sales of less than $5 million.

As you have probably heard, Congress passed and the president signed a $2.2 Trillion stimulus and relief package to help individuals affected by the Coronavirus and Covid-19. A significant portion of that money is targeted at small business as well.

Of particular interest to businesses with employees should be the Paycheck Protection Program. This  is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll.

SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities.

The Paycheck Protection Program will be available through June 30, 2020. Put this on your Things To Do list for April 3rd when the SBA begins taking applications.

There are a bunch of other programs recently signed into law that can help small businesses and their employees during these times. More programs than we can adequately summarize here and now. However, the US Chamber of Commerce has put together a great resource. Check this out here.

We are all living through a historical time which is pressing on everyone’s business, employment, finances and emotions. As small business owners, we are not drifting aimlessly. There’s help available. Go get yours!

If you’re reading this, we know each other. Either directly or indirectly. In any case, I’m praying for you. Stay healthy!