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The coronavirus has really put a damper on the economy, making it harder for companies to operate. In an effort to boost those businesses, the government enacted the Payment Protection Program, or PPP. With the funds from PPP, many companies have been able to stay afloat, even if customers are harder to come by.

If your business benefited from PPP, you might be wondering how best to use those funds in the new year. Is it best to use that money operating “business as usual,” even when business is not usual? What should you have your employees do when orders aren’t coming in and there is not a lot to do around the office? Rather than holding the funds while employees stay home and risk missing out on loan forgiveness, or spending the money for employees to play on line while they use up paid time, use the time to plan, train and position yourself and your company for success as the economy transitions in quarter 2 and 3.

Here are ways you can put your PPP funds to help get ready:

Develop Teamwork and Cross Collaboration

Even if you do not have a lot of customers, you can still get work done developing your company into a leaner machine. Use this time to increase the efficiency of your staff and employees by working on their teamwork skills. You can sponsor a socially-distanced company retreat or put time into improving the communication lines between the different parts of your business.

Identify Product and Service Innovations

Even if you are not able to sell a lot of products or see customers in person, you can still improve how your business operates. Take this time to innovate. Look at the goods and services you offer and see where you can upgrade or offer more. Can you move some of your services online? Increase your digital presence? Offer different, better products? Put that PPP to good use so you can serve customers better now and in the future.

Identify and Learn New Skills

There is no better time than now to do some innovating and improving for your own staff. No matter how much training your staff has undergone, there is always more work that can be done to help make your team members better at their jobs. Whether it is working on new skills or improving existing ones, a well-trained staff will be more than ready to hit the ground running when business picks up again.

Invest the Time and Work on a Passion Project

Every business needs something to help it stand out from the rest. When the economy picks up, every company is going to be vying for the same set of customers, hoping those customers choose their business over the competition. But what’s going to make that happen? Often, businesses distinguish themselves by developing something unique – a project that helps provide the cutting edge that can really help make a name for themselves.

Get Ahead on Production

No matter where your company stands on training, products and innovations, you can never be too ready for whatever lies ahead. At the very least, you can put those PPP funds to good use by preparing for the future, stocking up on supplies and getting a jump-start on production. No one knows exactly when the economy will pick up, but experts agree that it is going to happen soon. Those companies that are most likely to succeed are going to be the ones that find themselves ready to hit the ground running.

You might notice that these recommendations address two major areas: the current skills, abilities and capacities of your business and its future skills, abilities and capacities. It is crucial that you use this time to focus on and develop both.

On the one hand, If you put all of your time into building stock, you will have the carrying costs to store everything you have produced. But, your workforce might not be ready to perform when the time comes. On the other hand, if you spend all of your time developing new skills, you may not have finished results to take to market when business improves.

The big story is one of balance. PPP loans are forgivable if employee retention goals are met. Giving your employees a balance of reasons to stay beyond their paycheck is an added incentive toward meeting that goal.

As you look forward and plan, no doubt you have questions about how you should approach your goals. If you would like to speak to someone today about the best way to use your PPP funding, do not hesitate to call our offices today!