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Lessons from COVID-19 for our small business community

At GoDaddy, we launched OpenWeStand.org during COVID-19 as a landing place for small businesses to gather resources, get ideas, and learn from each other. 

We wanted to provide meaningful content that business owners can use to stay creative and stay afloat, so we joined forces with GoDaddy’s entrepreneur-in-residence, Scott Shigeoka. Over the past three months, Scott has been conducting on-camera interviews with industry experts, thought leaders, and entrepreneurs and penning articles with thoughtful guides and resources for small business owners during this time.

Through his conversations, we have come away with important guidance and lessons about the issues that are impacting small businesses and society as a whole during these difficult times. 

Here is his journey thorough COVID-19:

At the beginning of this journey, Scott spoke to experts about the CARES Act. Experts from Franklin Square Group and #OpenWeStand partner, Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO), and GoDaddy’s Global Policy Director, Ashley Heineman, broke down the essentials on what PPP loans are, who can apply, and how businesses can get the money they need to stay in business and hold onto their employees.

Scott then spoke with experts and academics about the importance of supporting small businesses to bolster our local economies. This conversation focused on the correlation between the number of ventures in a community and that community’s ability to be economically resilient. Scott spoke with experts and entrepreneurs including Amber Khan-Robinson and Kibwe Robinson, husband and wife duo and owners of MokiPops, a business that makes vegan popsicles in Atlanta, GA, and GoDaddy’s Venture Forward team about learning from the past, rebuilding after hardship, and the fact that supporting small businesses could help us recover more quickly from these challenging times. 

Next up, we tapped into the best ways for entrepreneurs to cope during COVID-19. We learned that businesses were coping by coming up with creative solutions, finding resources, and leaning on their communities to find funding and help. They were pivoting and adapting. And, importantly, they were remembering to try to find joy and take care of their own mental health in these times. Check out our mental health and wellness roundtable featuring Ashley Wray, Founder, Mala Collective, which provides “authentic, handmade, fair trade Mala (prayer) beads from Bali,” Thea Monyee, therapist, podcaster, and founder of MarleyAyo Creative Consulting, and Elisabeth Cardiello, Founder and Owner, Brave Conversations and Caffe Unimatic, moderated by Scott to help entrepreneurs cope personally, emotionally, and professionally through the COVID-19 crisis:

We then shifted to an industry-specific conversation when we discussed restaurants pivoting during COVID-19. Scott talked to #OpenWeStand partner ChowNow, a food journalist from Eater, and John Anderson, co-owner of Cinder BBQ, a local restaurant in Washington, D.C., about how restaurants were thriving and surviving during this time. We learned about restaurants shifting their business models to delivery and takeout to meet their customers’ needs, staying open even if they couldn’t welcome customers inside their doors, and giving back to their communities.

Next, we revisited the CARES Act and PPP loans to help business owners navigate the state of the loan package and the rules for applying for and receiving a loan. Scott jumped into a roundtable with industry experts on the current state of PPP loans and also had a meaningful conversation with small business owners about their real-life experiences with PPP:  Lizzy VanPatten, owner of rock climbing business, She Moves MountainsYolanda Owens, owner, Iwi Fresh, a farm-to-skin spa, and Kevin Malcolm, who co-owns Frite & Scoop, a craft ice-cream shop, with his wife, Lisa.

Another important topic we covered was the major shift for many businesses to remote work. Scott talked to experts from big and small businesses including Eileen Lee, co-founder of women’s community and networking space, The Lola, and #OpenWeStand partner, Zenefits, about the future of work, if remote work is here to stay, and the impact this adaptation to new tools and technologies will have on the workforce in the future. 

Scott also led an important discussion for small business owners on managing cash flow during COVID-19. After speaking with entrepreneurs, we found that many wanted to know about other funding and cash flow options and strategies, besides PPP loans, that they could take advantage of now. So, Scott held interviews with #OpenWeStand partners Paypal, Better Business Bureau, and Hello Alice to help business owners understand their best options to raise money during this time. 

As the final stop on his journey, Scott spoke with entrepreneurs on how they are shifting to online classes during this crisis. The roundtable features entrepreneurs who shifted their classes entirely online. Scott interviewed Olivia Young, Founder of boutique boxing and yoga studio, Box + Flow, who uses social media to broadcast her classes and generate revenue, Maria Ure, Founder and Director of Spanish in Action, who had to shift her entire learning structure to continue to teach Spanish to her young students, and Executive Chef Zach Sass of ChefZachSass.com, who made a career change from cooking in the kitchen to cooking online with interactive lessons. 

Check out all of the conversations for and from entrepreneurs featuring GoDaddy’s entrepreneur-in-residence, Scott Shigeoka. Through genuine discussions with industry experts and small businesses, he’s been shedding light on the issues that matter most during these challenging times. 

The information contained in this post is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as an endorsement or advice from GoDaddy on any subject matter.