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AMY PORTERFIELD: “Just recently, an 883-page, $2 trillion stimulus bill was passed in response to the coronavirus pandemic, and what you might not know is that $350 billion of that stimulus package was earmarked for small businesses. And in this episode, we are going to explore if you and your business are a good fit for receiving funds from the stimulus package. You might be surprised with that answer. In addition, we're going to break down all the details—who's right for it, how to get the money, how to apply, how fast you can get the money, is it a loan, do you need to give it back—we're going to explore all of that in this episode, because right now we want to be educated on what are our opportunities and the possibilities to not only continue our businesses during these uncertain times, but to thrive and make sure we protect ourselves, our employees, our contractors, and our business as a whole. So we're going to break down the entire stimulus package as it relates to small business owners, in this episode.”
INTRO: I’m Amy Porterfield, ex-corporate girl turned CEO of a multi-million-dollar business. But it wasn't all that long ago that I lacked the confidence, money, and time to focus on growing my small–but–mighty business. Fast forward past many failed attempts and lessons learned, and you'll see the business I have today, one that changes lives and gives me more freedom than I ever thought possible, one that used to only exist as a daydream. I created the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast to give you simple, actionable, step–by–step strategies to help you do the same. If you're an ambitious entrepreneur, or one in the making, who's looking to create a business that makes an impact and helps you create a life you love, you're in the right place. Let's get started.
AMY: I want to be very clear about one thing: the goal of this podcast episode is to give you valuable information to help educate you about what you have available to you so that you can make a decision that is right for you and your business. I am not saying that you should or should not take advantage of the small–business stimulus package. This episode is to educate.
Now, as you already know if you're in any of my Facebook groups or if you are a student of mine, you know that I am encouraging you not to hit the Pause button on your business. Right now, we can't wait and see what happens. We need to be making decisions and taking action. So I encourage you to look at your offers and make pivots where necessary, but continue to sell, because your business needs you to, the contractors and employees you work with need you to thrive during this time, and the economy needs you to continue to sell and offer value so that we can get back to where we were faster than ever. So there's so much we can do as small–business owners to continue to move our business forward, by making pivots, to be relevant and resonate with our audience, and show up in the most impactful way possible.
Now, in addition to all of that, there is a stimulus package that you may be eligible for that you may want to take advantage of, and that's what we're talking about in this episode.
I'm not doing this episode alone. And my guest today is my dear friend, Casey Graham. Casey owns the company Gravy. Now, you've likely heard me talk about Gravy a bunch on this podcast because they are the company we use for customer retention and failed–payment recovery, which is so important during times like this. Now, not only is Casey a very savvy business owner, very successful in owning and selling many businesses, but he's also been through multiple downturns. And with that, he's made some mistakes along the way that he's vowed to never make again. So he's passionate about helping small businesses not only sustain during these times, but thrive. And so he is such a leader in understanding what we can do to protect ourselves during this time, and that's why I've asked him to come on the show and talk about the small–business stimulus package. So I won't make you wait any longer.
So, Casey, thanks so much for jumping on and doing this so last minute. I really appreciate it.
CASEY GRAHAM: Absolutely. Thanks for having me, Amy.
AMY: It’s such an important conversation. We’ve got to have it. And I talked a little bit about who you are and why I wanted you on the show today, but I mentioned that you’ve been through two really big downturns in the economy, and I want you to talk a little bit about that before we get into all the details.
CASEY: Yeah, I think this is important because my first go at business was in 2008. And so I left my job. My wife, her name is Kacie as well, so in case I say Kacie, that is my wife. And so I left my job, and I had my wife, Kacie, at home with a one-year–old baby. And three months later—so she's not working. I’m the breadwinner in this new company. We go through the 2008 financial crisis. I don't know if you remember that one, Amy. Do you remember that one?
AMY: I do remember it, but I wasn’t in business yet.
CASEY: Well, essentially, it is just one part of what we're dealing with now, which is the capital markets, or the stock market, and people losing, like, 40 percent of their 401(k)s in a period of, like, thirty days, and those kind of things, and so it was a massive crisis. And I remember that hitting right when I went into business, and I was freaked out. We went scared. We lost a bunch of money. I did some very stupid things financially. I followed the market. I followed the herd. And essentially, as the red arrows were flashing on CNN and Fox News and saying that the world is going to hell in a handbasket, I acted with fear like everybody else did. And I remember going through that, and then two years later, looking back, and then getting some training from a guy that you know—you worked with at some point—Anthony “Tony” Robbins, and looking back and going, “I did what everybody else did, and I lost a crap ton of money.”
And so I'm going to spend the next ten years of my life—because people like Warren Buffett say about every ten years something like this happens. And it's true: about every ten years, there was the dot–com bust; there was 9/11; then, there was 2008, and now we're 2020, and we're dealing with this. So about every ten years, something like this happens. So I spent the last ten years studying and looking and focusing on what happens in crisis, financially and to businesses and to business owners in general, and how can you actually benefit from crisis and leverage the crisis in such a way that you actually can get ahead. And some of the wealthiest people on Earth made the most money after downturns, and that was fascinating and intriguing to me. So I just studied it and got ready.
And we actually built Gravy, from 2017 until now, in the 2017 board meeting, the first board meeting that we went to, we said we are going to build what's called a recession–accelerated company, that the company, when the economy goes bad, Gravy actually does better because the need is there. And so we’ve been waiting, preparing, and focusing on this. But good gracious. We had no idea it was going to be a virus, on top of a small–business meltdown, on top of a financial crisis in our capital market. So this is like three in one. And I'm not a doom–and–gloom guy, but this is the worst that we'll probably see in our lifetime.
AMY: So, with that, because you've been through some hard times with the business, because you vowed to never show up like that again, I feel like you are such a perfect person to have this conversation with. So before we dig in into how online businesses can benefit from this stimulus plan, can you talk about what you see happening in the world and how it really affects our market? I mean, you talked about the three things—the virus, small business, and capital markets—but get into that a little bit more.
CASEY: Yeah. So the virus, I have no words on. I'm not a doctor. I don't know how to fix anything. I know just to stay home and stay away from people. That’s what triggered this one. There was nothing underlying in our economy that was wrong. So we were at the lowest unemployment rate in the United States that we've ever been at. Everything was booming. We almost had the highest capital markets we’ve ever been at. So this virus thing comes out of nowhere, and then it attacks small business. So, I mean, restaurants out of business, out of work, all of these small businesses. And 50 percent of the population of the United States is employed by small businesses, and I want you to think about this, that literally, I was talking to my accountant friend instantly when this started to hit and starting to realize, oh, my gosh, if people can't go out, what happens? We're going to go from under 3 percent unemployment to, if something doesn't happen with the stimulus, to over 30 percent of people in the United States of America being unemployed.
Now, Amy, you don't have to be an economic scholar to understand that is a disaster. And that is so hard to deal with because then, from the small–business crisis—think about this—is then that trickles down into the big–capital markets, which will be like the airlines and will be the travel industry and all this kind of stuff. And so this one is a three–in-one punch. It's happened all at once. But as it relates to online businesses, it's actually been the opposite. I don't know if you've seen this to be true. We’ve seen with a lot of—I talked to some of the tech platforms and some of the leaders that support, like Kajabi, for instance—I know that you have a platform with—and talked to some of the tech leaders. They’re seeing an uptick. So they're starting to see more people come online because this online–business space, everybody's at home; they've got money to spend. And we started looking at it, and we'll process about a half a million customer contacts this month in the online–business space.
And so we're seeing what's happening underneath the surface, and we're hearing what's going on. And what we're seeing is this is absolutely affecting online businesses, depending upon which industry or market that they serve. We have one lady that's an online business, and she's in the crafts industry, for instance. Her people, they love her, but they're going to cancel because they can't get the crafts shipped to them. You see what I’m saying, Amy?
And so we have a unique advantage in looking inside of this, of going, like, hey—and this is why I think we should talk about this, Amy—our market has been really like it's the kind of market that you go to, like I go to the baseball field with my son or go somewhere, and somebody asks me what I do for a living. And I just don’t know how to say I sell stuff online, and explain it, so I’ll just say I’m a consultant, because it’s really hard to explain. Have you ever had that experience?
AMY: Oh, all the time. Very hard to explain.
CASEY: But here’s the point. Right now, this market is pretty stable, and we have the opportunity to remain stable, which, then, makes us the lighthouse and a beacon. And this is why I'm so passionate about talking about this is I listen. Everybody listening to this, even if you're a solo online marketing, for you to keep your income and your job is paramount for our economy, for you to keep staying in business—and that's why I'm going, hey, our market is actually built for this. We're actually like a life raft to the macro markets, and we have the opportunity in being an online business to be the safe haven and be the place that employs people, the place that keeps people employed, and we get to be that. We are actually built for this. And that's why I wanted to talk about that, to make sure that everybody had the information they need to stay financially strong and stay in business, keeping everybody hired and hiring more people through this.
AMY: Amen to that. So, we’re going to get into really trying to understand this $350b stimulus for small businesses and break some things down. So with that, I just want to jump into it. So what is the CARES Act, and specifically, what does it mean for small businesses and online businesses?
CASEY: And just so you know, Amy, we put together a resource. It's just called onlinestimulus.com. You can go to it. It‘s on our website. And it's every single thing. There's no hoops. You don't put your email address. But it's every question and answer and all that kind of stuff. So we put that out there for online businesses if you want it.
AMY: It’s really good. So that’s where the conversation with Casey and I started. He sent me that. It's onlinestimulus.com. Totally free, just all the info you need, and it was so incredibly eye opening.
CASEY: And we put an hour training up. So now the training is up, where we have ten experts on this bill from Warren Averett, and they're class-act, great people. And so I did an interview with them, and it's up there as well. You should watch that. We get into details of like all of the nitty–gritty details. It's absolutely worth watching.
But the bottom line is this. This bill is PPP—Paycheck Protection Program. And your online business can get a loan from the SBA, which is the Small Business Association, of 2.5 times your monthly average payroll, 2.5 times your monthly average payroll. So that means if you have a monthly average payroll of $10,000, including health insurance, and benefits, including anything else that you would pay, if there was $10,000, you would be eligible up to a $25,000, one-time check, that you get very fast, that can come into your business. And it’s very important because the thing is, we get scared, and we cut. And I understand that. That’s why I’m here today is to go, we don't have to do that, and here's why. This loan can become forgivable. And I don't know of—this is never happened. This is unprecedented, that the government can give you money, and it becomes forgivable, and essentially becomes a grant, where you just get the money and use it if the funds are used for approved expenses, okay? This is a big deal. And the reason I want everybody to get this is, like, this is essentially the government going like, “Hey, small-business owners that employ 45 to 50 percent of the United States’s working population, will you guys please partner with us to save America?” I'm not trying to be dramatic, like, 30 percent unemployment rate and cutting people out is like, you'll see crazy things happen. You've got to have people working. And so the point of this bill is to keep people employed. it's so important for online businesses to understand is to keep these people employed, and for you as a business, to have as much cash on hand as possible is so important.
AMY: Okay. I love that you are getting to this, because where I thought it was interesting, when you and I were talking about it, is you said that this is our opportunity to keep people in business, I was very surprised to hear that.
CASEY: Yeah. I don't want to get into politics and government, but they're all sitting there going like, “Hey, when we look at this economy, our economy is a gig economy.” And for the first time in my adult life, and even my wife, and, Amy, yours as well, I'm literally looking at the forty-two people that I employ at Gravy. And I'm going, for the first time in my life—I've never been in a war, and I would never say this is anything close to that—but my contribution to society is to make sure that they stay employed, no matter what. And that's hard for a lot of people to hear. But that's what this bill is for, and that's why it's so important that people can access this money to make sure that that happens, because we get our part to play in a bigger mission, which absolutely matters.
AMY: Okay, so, before we get into the details of the bill, I have to say that when I heard about it, my first thought was, well, this isn't for me, because I don't want to take any money away from other people that need it way worse than I do, such as a brick and mortar. And so can you talk to me about how much is available and who should apply?
CASEY: Yeah. First thing I would say is, number one, like, this, I'm not a CPA. You don't want me doing your taxes and books. I'm just around some really, really smart people that are in capital markets and in these law firms, and this ten geniuses on this bill, that when the 833-page bill came up, there were ten content people that were scouring over it to make it simple and have access to that. And so before—I just want to give a disclaimer that I'm not saying anybody should or shouldn't do anything, but the education is very important, okay?
So, here’s what it is. They looked out and said, small–business means anything less than 500 employees, okay? That is the majority of business. And from the SBA website—I want you to think about this, Amy—there's thirty million small businesses in the United States of America. Thirty million. Out of that number, twenty–four million of those are what's called a non–employer business, so think real–estate agents, think somebody that's in a band or a guitar, musician, or independent contractor that would fit into this kind of category.
And so when they were doing the math, they were realizing that most of those thirty million are just solo shops. And so if you think about it from that perspective, they're doing the math, going, well, those people aren't going to get—they don't qualify for a $10 million loan, so they're going to get very a little bit. They can get enough, but it's equivalent to how many people you employ, because that's what the bill is for, is to keep people working, including you. So that means that there's another six million small businesses that employ two or more people.
And so when they did the math on this, they did $50 billion. This is not a random number. And so one of the things I think people have a hard time understanding is fifty billion. When we just say billion or a million, people don't really get it. So I did the calculation in seconds. Do you know, equivalent to time, what fifty billion is?
CASEY: It's 10,971 years, or something like that. So this is very important from the standpoint of going, like, they took unprecedented amount of time and measures to say, how is this going to be split up to where if anybody and everybody—because everybody’s not going to access this, everybody’s not in trouble, and everybody’s not, out of all of those thirty million businesses, Amy, a lot of those are just L.L.C.s that are open that don't even operate. And so they knew that.
And so when you really dig down into this, if just the six million small businesses like ours that employ more than two, if we evenly distributed the money, there would be $58,000 per small business. So I want you to think about that lot. There's plenty to go around. So every business can get money, and you shouldn't be sitting there going, like, well, just because they need— no, no, no. It's not they need it more or I need it more. We all can have access to it, and we all can use it if we've been impacted. And most small businesses, even online businesses, have been impacted, and we'll talk about how they've been impacted a little bit later.
But I think everybody should look into it, everybody should know about it, and everybody should at least go through the process, going, how have I been impacted? How have my revenue, my customers, my clients, cancellations, letting people go, and all of that being impacted.
AMY: Because I love what you were telling me earlier. You said, “When we talk today, Amy, on the podcast, it's not about saying you should or should not apply to get help.” You said, “What I'm saying is that you should be 100 percent educated on this stimulus package, personally and professionally.”
CASEY: Yeah. Let me give you another example. This is a $2.2 trillion—Amy, there's individual benefits as well that we're not even going to come close to talking to, that people listening, especially people in your audience that are just a solo shop and just as an individual, and they're just getting started, there are so many individual perks that it is—and we're going to have it on our website, and we're going to be connected to all that stuff, and we've made it super simple, where you're going to have an unprecedented amount of tax benefit, cash that can come to you, and grants that can come to your business, that can just come, that aren’t even a part of this small–business plan. So this is a bigger deal, and we just want to simplify it for everybody.
AMY: Okay. I’m so glad you brought that up, because there are people listening right now that employ some employees—like, for me, I employ fifteen full-time employees—there’s other people listening that might have one or two full–time employees and then a bunch of contractors—1099, W-2—and then there's some people that just employ two 1099 people and themselves. And we're saying all of you, all of us, should pay attention to this, both professionally and personally. And I love what you just said. You're going to have some resources for, like, that one–woman show that she needs to protect herself. She might not be employing other people. So what's the URL again that they should go to?
CASEY: Yeah. It’s just onlinestimulus.com.
AMY: Perfect. Okay. So, let’s get really practical here. What does a business need to know in terms of knowing if they’re eligible for the stimulus money?
CASEY: Okay. Here’s what it is, which is most everybody listening, was in operation before February 15 of 2020, which, essentially, is when the pandemic was considered a pandemic, or the cut off, and paid employees or salaries and payroll taxes. Okay? Is that clear?
CASEY: That's number one. And number two, they've been negatively impacted by COVID-19 in any way. And this is where this gets very interesting.
AMY: Okay. Talk to me about this one, because this is when you and I were talking, and I was thinking, like, so we have not seen a huge impact in our business because of this, but we've definitely seen something sell better than others or other things not do as well. We likely have to possibly change one of our live events. So there's some things. But I'm like, but I can make it up here, or I could make it up there. So talk to me. When you say “been negatively impacted by COVID-19 in any way,” what are you thinking in that area? This is such an important conversation.
CASEY: Well, I will say, when this came out—and I was literally sitting there at 11:32 p.m., when the Senate passed the bill, and they put it online and described a website. And I went, and I was looking at the thing, and I went, I thought this was going to be really complicated. Like, you had to have all of these things and prove all of these things. But then I started realizing, they made this very simple and very gray on purpose.
And here's why. There's not a direct–line test. There's not a form to fill out. They did this because what is about to happen is that people are about to go to any FDIC–approved institution—so think of just your bank or local bank or credit union—and you're going to be able to walk in and create an appointment and be able to go—and you literally, what they are saying—now, I don’t believe this, Amy, until I see it—they’re saying that you can get funds pretty much instantly. I’m thinking weeks. I don’t know. That’s unclear right now. But they left it gray. And they just said, “if you’ve been impacted.”
And so a couple of things they talked about impacted was reduction in sales. So if you had an event coming up, and you’re not able to sell from that event, that’s impact. Employee-burden cost that you can’t carry because people are cancelling and quitting. I talked to a lady. She said, “I'm going to have to lay off some of my contractors,” or “I’m going to have to lay off the marketing outsource firm,” or whatever, that “I can't do that anymore.” Supply–chain interruptions, customers leaving or turning over. If you've got customers saying, “I just can’t pay it. I need out,” all of these kind of things are impact. Obviously, being shut down. If the government has mandated that you shut down, which is not this crowd as much, but I'm sure there's people listening, that they've had to be shut down, like a restaurant or a place where it's gathered.
So the question is, you've got to go through in your mind, and this is what you have decide is, American government wants me to keep my people at its current level, staying and paying. And here's what we also don’t know. What's the mental impact of your customer base? What's going to happen after people keep hearing this over and over and over again and just everybody's cutting back and cutting subscriptions and all that kind of stuff, and so by the time you hear this, you're going to know, I've had to move things, cancel things, not getting this revenue, but I've been impacted. And so that’s for you to decide, but it’s that gray. And if you go access the money, essentially what you're saying in good faith is, “I'm going to get people back employed, or I'm going to keep people employed.” And that's a big deal.
And what's so crazy is there's no personal guarantee, and they won't be looking at what your credit lines are or credit is anywhere else. So they’re essentially saying, Amy, if you feel like you've been impacted, and you're making in good faith that you can say that you've been impacted, then you have the opportunity to get the money and get it fast.
AMY: So crazy. When I heard that, I thought, what?
CASEY: It's speed. It's for speed. Plus, usually, it would take fourteen days of an application of a small–business loan. And let me make something clear for people listening. Do not go to the Small Business Association website and apply for a disaster loan. That's not what this is, okay? To be clear, this is not a disastrous loan which existed before this. This is a separate bill that came out for the stimulus, and the way this will be funded is through private institutions like banks, credit unions, and any FDIC bank. So I just want to make everybody aware of that as well.
AMY: Gotcha. Okay. So very crazy. I had no idea that this is what it looked like, and that's why, when you and I started talking, I'm like, oh, my gosh, we need to talk about this on a podcast because I don't think anybody really has all the information yet. And like you said, we need to see how this shakes out. This just came out. But I love having this information and starting to think about it right now.
Now, what I want to talk about next is how is the loan amount determined?
CASEY: Yeah. The loan is two and a half times the company’s monthly payroll cost incurred in the period a year before. Okay, let me make that simple. Basically, what you do, let's just say that on average, you pay $10,000 a month for your all-in payroll cost, all–in payroll cost being these things: salaries and wages up to $100,000. So for instance, if you make a salary of $200,000, you can't include 200. You can only include up to 100,000. Does that make sense?
AMY: It does.
CASEY: For one person. It includes commissions. So I know a lot of people listening to this have high-ticket funnels, and they’ve got somebody who’s making, say, a base of three grand a month, and they get commissions. The commissions would be included. Independent contractors, cash tips, insurance benefits. If you pay insurance, if you pay retirement benefits for your people, all of these can be included in your calculation. And let’s just say, just to keep it simple, it's on average $10,000 a month. So you would take the last twelve months and go, how much per month? And the average is ten. Then, you would be eligible for a loan that would be $25,000 is what you can take, and that loan would be, they say instantly. I don't believe instantly. I believe quickly. You can have that money available pretty quickly.
CASEY: And, again, you need to talk to your CPA and go through all this because there's a million different scenarios. And listen to our Zoom call with the CPAs because we had a million different scenarios of, well, what about this? And I get paid this way, and I get paid that way. So the point of this is not to tell you every single detail. It’s to say, “Go get the resource, go get with your CPA, and walk through this, and say, ‘What am I eligible for? What am I not eligible for?’”
And so the point is you can get up to 2.5 times the amount. Now, the reason that they did two and a half times, what they said was, essentially, that's, like, ten weeks. So that would be like two months of payroll that you could say, “Hey, I was impacted. This is two months of payroll, covering rent, expenses, those kind of things.” And that's why they did the calculation on employment, because they want to keep people employed, and they want to get people, if you've laid off people, hiring them back, or not necessarily hiring the person back but hiring the position back. All of those qualify for what we'll talk about next in the loan forgiveness, to where when you get this, it is a loan. But if you use it for qualified expenses, it can become forgiven, and that money, then, is absolutely used just to the benefit of your business. You’re not going to get taxed on that as income, and it's just to keep people employed.
AMY: Okay. Break that down. This whole idea of loan forgiveness, I’m new to all of this. Like I said, I’ve never been through a crisis like this before, so I didn’t even know something like that existed, a loan forgiveness in this kind of situation. So break it down for me.
CASEY: And it hasn't ever existed. So, honestly—
AMY: Okay. So I’m not totally oblivious.
CASEY: No, no, no, no, no. Listen, you doing this to your audience, this is the first podcast or major publication that will hit for online businesses, and it’s so impactful. So thank you for doing this.
AMY: Thank you.
CASEY: Absolutely. So, here’s how it works with loan forgiveness. The day you get the loan, it starts an eight–week clock for you to spend the money on eligible expenses. Now, I'm going to be very, very clear here. This is what, from Warren Averett’s website, this is the simplified version of eligible expenses—paying payroll, payroll costs, health benefits, rent, utilities, and interest on debt obligations. So that means that you can’t take it and pay off the principal, but you can pay off the interest or the payments that you need if you have other debt obligations.
During the cover period, the amount that may be forgiven will be reduced when you pay these expenses. So if you paid money toward these expenses during that time period and your business has been affected by COVID, that is what is eligible for forgiveness. And anything you spend that isn’t eligible, that will be converted into what's just a regular SBA loan. But during this—and we’ll talk a little bit about what the conversion of what that would look like, but that’s what it looked like—but there is forgiveness that can happen, and keeping people employed is part of that.
AMY: Okay. Then, what would the loan look like, and how is this beneficial to online businesses?
CASEY: Here's what's so important about online businesses, Amy. Most online businesses would have a really hard time, especially if you're a one–man shop or a one–man shop with five contractors. Most banks would never give you a loan. They don't even understand. You go up and say, “I teach people how to do funnels on the Internet,” at a bank, and they're going to look at you like you have twenty-five eyes, right?
CASEY: So, this is an unprecedented time for online businesses to be treated the same as a restaurant or be treated… of what people understand. And so you have the opportunity to get access to this capital if you've been affected.
And what the loan specifically would look like if you did not spend the money on qualified expenses is it would turn into a ten-year note. It’s like if you had a mortgage, let’s just to say a ten-year mortgage, a ten-year note, with—this is very important—no more than 4 percent interest rate, which is unbelievable. It’ll actually probably be lower than that. That's just the max that it can be. And so you can pay this note back at any time, which is huge. And the way to think about this would be a line of credit to have cash on hand.
And so I was talking to some other SaaS founders, and a lot of SaaS founders of companies, of technology companies, are cashing out their line of credit right now, and they’re just paying the minimum interest rate of, like, 3 percent, or whatever, so that they have cash on hand so during this time period they can have enough cash to sustain the downturn, because, Amy, here’s the absolute truth that I can guarantee: We're fighting the virus in the small–business crisis right now. We haven't even started the recession. The recession is here to stay. There's going to be a slow— so you may go, oh, I'm fine today. But what about six months from now? What about down the road, when people aren't spending as much money, and aren't doing as much? Well, this is just if you had money left over, and it wasn’t spent on qualified expenses, it would be available for you in your business at that low–percentage interest rate that you could pay back at any time if you wanted to.
AMY: Got it. Okay, so, how do you get access to the stimulus money, and when can you get it?
CASEY: Obviously, it's depending upon when you hear this podcast. As of—we're recording it right now. It's not out yet. The bill is approved by Senate, by Congress, by the president. It is law. It will happen. It should be within a week. He said next week. I don’t believe that. I think it’ll be the weeks after. But it will be, by the time you hear this and people hear this, it should be about time to be able to get it.
Now, the crazy thing is, is that they're using FDIC–insured entities to distribute this law, so literally your bank or credit union. So the number–one thing that I did is that I use a couple of different banks. We’re going to go to the smallest bank possible because can you image the amount of businesses that are going to hit the Bank of Americas and the big boys?
AMY: Oh, good point.
CASEY: And every single one of these loans have to go to loan–approval committee. It'll just be them rubber stamping it, but at the same time, I think it's important to connect with a banker in a smaller situation to where you can be at the front of the line if you need to get your money fast. If you're not in a hurry, then you'll be in the mix with everybody else. And so that's what we're doing, and that's what we recommend that other people do.
They're saying you should get your money quickly. I don't believe same day or even same week just because I'll see it when I believe it, but it will be fast, and the reason why is it has to be. And that's why they're using the private institutions is that you're going to have to be able to show an EIN. They haven't listed the necessarily documents you're going to have to have, but it's going to be very, very minimal, to be able show you do have a business, here’s your average annual payroll broken in per month, and then they'll be able to calculate your loan, and then that's how simple this is going to be.
AMY: It’s incredible. I'm looking forward to seeing how this all plays out. And the fact that we're talking about it now makes me so excited to get ahead of this so that my listeners can really understand what's coming down the pipeline.
So, first of all, thank you for this. But I have one final question for you. This one isn't about what we just talked about, but it's really about how to treat customers during this time. I mean, you guys have been incredible to us. The minute we saw a shift, we heard from you. You guys have been on it. So what are you guys doing at Gravy to respond to customers who have been affected by the economy and they're expressing concerns about not being able to pay?
CASEY: Yeah. The first thing we've noticed is that it's been isolated, and certain industry and customer bases have been affected more than others. And so the very first thing I would say is don't go out into your customer base and create some sweeping COVID customer policy.
AMY: Thank you.
CASEY: Don’t do that. So I would say what we do is we're dealing with these one at a time, and our heart, even before this, is always, we're going to lead with empathy. But here’s a three-step strategy for any online business when you’re dealing with your customers is to think in this way. And we call these stay bonuses, and there’s three stay bonuses.
The first one is longer terms. So if somebody comes to you and they've got an issue. Well, if it's, like, a hundred bucks a month, you may say, “Hey, listen, what if, to help you out, if it's a cash flow issue, instead of it being a hundred bucks a month, we do fifty bucks a month, but we extend it from twelve months to twenty-four months?” Again, that's a great example. It's a fair offer, and a lot of people have taken up us on that when we’re serving customer bases.
The second stay bonus would be increase access. Amy, this is what we've been doing. You say that we've been communicating. Our goal is that right now is to be in a position of strength. And while we haven't tanked and we've gotten great customer bases and all this kind of stuff, we want to increase access. That's one of the best stay bonuses that you can absolutely get is to say, “I'm just going to be more available for you.”
Now, if you're a small shop, and let's say you're making $50,000 a year online, it may be I want to jump on a strategy call with you. I'm going to show you how to not make enough just to cover this, for you to prosper. And it might be getting on group Zoom calls. It might be doing a virtual happy hour. But increase access.
And it’s not that you have to be a coach for every single one of your customers that are paying you online. But if they even perceive, oh, wow, they really do love me. Like, I gave my phone number to everybody. So I put my phone number out and said, contact me. I literally on LinkedIn had 60,000 people say, “Here's my phone, here's my cell phone number. If you need, call me.” And I answered every single—
AMY: This is your style. This is why I love working with you guys so much. Michael Hyatt talks a lot about this. He calls it super serving your customers. And I love that you're bringing this up, that it's not just serve your audience, but those that are paying, that are in the trenches right now. It's a different ballgame.
CASEY: Totally is. Totally is. So that's the second one.
The third stay–bonus strategy is a pause. This would be the one that I would save. Our language is kind of like, “Hey, what if we paused you for thirty days, and then we pick back up when this is over?” Or giving an option on a pause. Again, I highly discourage a macro statement to your crowd to “let's just pause” because it's not needed. Deal with these individually. But I would use this one as a last resort, and that's what we would do.
I would make fair offers. I would lead with empathy. But if somebody’s in a payment plan, it's okay to talk with them and negotiate, just like everybody else is. But of course, if you want your strategy to just be, “Hey, you're off the hook,” then that can be your strategy as well. But we've just seen that different customers of our clients at Gravy, they have different strategies and different methods, and these are some of the ones we see working.
AMY: So good. I’m so glad I asked, because I think they're all very valid, and people need to be thinking about how we can serve in a bigger way, especially when we're getting requests that we've never received before. So I think it's so good.
All right, guys. So here's the deal. First of all, Casey, thank you for jumping on. Right now, at the time of this recording, it's a Sunday afternoon. You jumped off last minute—or jumped on that last minute with me. And I cannot thank you enough for that.
CASEY: Absolutely. Thanks for having me, Amy.
AMY: You guys have been amazing to us, and we love working with you, and I'm so glad we had this conversation. Before I let you go, one last time, onlinestimulus.com. That is where I want to encourage you all to go to check out further details. And tell everybody one last time what they can find there, because this is free information. This is not selling anything, even though I'm not against selling during this time, but this is truly a free resource. So will you tell people what can they find at onlinestimulus.com?
CASEY: They’re basically going to find a written version of what we talked about today. In detail, they're going to get a Q&A. Literally, we ask, we do the Q&A, and then everything's connected back to different government websites. Again, we're not just making this crap up. We're going on the government websites. We find it. But what we found, Amy, was obviously the government websites are not easy to read and peruse. And so we wanted the—I call it the Alabama version because I’m from Alabama. It’s the Casey version of, I need it simple, I need it fast it, I need to be able to digest it now, and so that’s what onlinestimulus.com is. And watch, it’s on YouTube, but go to the onlinestimulus.com, and then watch the video we did with the CPAs as they went into detail and answered very specific question and answers on people's very unique situations, that I think would apply to a lot of people listening today.
AMY: Totally agree. And one thing I love is that you said the article will be continually updated as more information is added, and that part's important. Hunting and pecking all over the web, if you guys are very interested in this stimulus, go to one place that gets updated. So I think that's really cool, so thanks for making that extra effort.
CASEY: Yeah. And let me just say one last thing. Again, this is only for the $350 billion bill. There's $202 trillion. We're only covering the small–business portion. There's other. Talk to your CPA. Look at other resources to see as an individual how can you be covered as well.
AMY: So important. I’m glad you added that.
Thanks again, Casey. I really appreciate your time and effort.
CASEY: Thanks, Amy.
AMY: Take care.
So there you have it. I wanted to jump in here before I jump off of this podcast and tell you that I am not saying that you should do this or you should not do this. It's brand new. I'm learning it just as you are learning all about it. But I wanted to give you the education. I wanted you to have access to this information so that you can make a decision that is right for you. And so my goal through this entire pandemic is to continue to show up for you; continue to give you useful, helpful, valuable information so that you can make decisions and keep moving forward in your business. Because you know my motto: we are not hitting the Pause button on our businesses right now. In fact, my goal for you, my mission, my hope for you is that when this does finally pass—and it will—that you come out thriving, stronger as an entrepreneur, stronger as a business owner, stronger as somebody who shows up for your audience in a bigger way, and just somebody with more confidence, knowing you can get through hard times. So the more information, valuable information, I can give you, the better. And that’s why we did this podcast. And I just wanted to end with that note.
So, I cannot wait to meet you here again soon. Thanks so much for tuning in. And have a wonderful week. Bye for now.