Post-COVID 19: Leverage 10 New Business Trends & Financial Incentives

There’s little doubt that COVID-19 has rapidly disrupted the way that small, medium and even large businesses conduct their affairs. But, like all crises and disruptions, there is never a better opportunity for moving quickly and making a profit. It is a fact that more millionaires are made in recessions than in times of ease. 

And the world was shifting to work from home (‘WFM’) before COVID hit. A survey from Global Workplace Analytics found 56% of the US tech workforce (75 million employees) have a job description perfectly compatible with remote work.

With that said, the following are 10 new business trends that can be capitalized upon. Just because things are being done differently and there is a period of disruption, does not mean that it is a complete disruptive process. Significantly, faster and more adaptive companies have been able to thrive amidst COVID, while slower organizations are suffering heavily. The following are just some of the benefits to be availed of.

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Post-COVID 19: Leverage 10 New Business Trends

#1 – Reduced Rent

Working from home has a myriad of benefits, for both business owners and employees. Some of these will be outlined in more detail below. But, reduced rental costs are major. One of the biggest problems for all kinds of businesses is rent in urban locations. It is especially relevant for corporate outfits renting office space, which has a massive price tag. Imagine being able to completely cut all your rental costs.

Most business owners simply don’t see this. Yes, there is the issue of existing leases, but allowances have been made in the US for this, and financial help is also available. Rent is a major cost – use the funds saved from rent to foster an intimate relationship with employees who no longer meet face to face. Of course, this does apply so much with a services company such as a restaurant that needs a physical presence. But it will work for digital and certain other models.

#2 – Reduction Of Associated Costs

While rent is one of the major benefits, there are a plethora of associated costs that are also vastly reduced. If you are no longer using office space, then there is no need to pay for insurance on the premises, and no chance of having to shell out for an injury. You also have zero utilities to pay.

The cost of hiring and onboarding staff has further been drastically reduced. This is due to the fact that no longer are physical interviews possible, so more of the process will be online and automated. HR and recruitment is a very expensive process. But without a physical presence, there is less need for an HR team to settle disputes and organize activities (though HR is still certainly needed in some capacity in medium to large business models)

#3 – Mental Health As A Priority

COVID-19 has brought mental awareness to the forefront of employers and employees. This is an interesting point as it kind of works both ways. Many workers seem to experience feelings of isolation when working from home.

Their routine has been upset, and it is incredibly difficult to adapt. There are many more temptations, and it is so easy to simply leave the desk with nobody knowing, or have one too many snacks from the fridge! Many studies and prominent psychologists have alluded to mental health risks.

The fact is that people are stressed about getting the virus. According to Reuters, many COVID-19 survivors are likely to be at greater risk of developing mental illness, after a large study found 20% of those infected with the coronavirus are diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder within 90 days. Anxiety, insomnia, and depression are common.

Mental health is a vital aspect of worker productivity. And much of the existing mental health issues simply went unaddressed in the pre-covid era. However, it’s also worth mentioning that a significant proportion of workers are extremely positive about working from home and are adapting quite well, with significant mental benefits. They don’t have to commute from work, and they have more freedom around the home to do as they wish.

 #4 – Faster Implementations

Due to COVID-19, many organizations rolled out initiatives very quickly due to the need for speed. Because of the crisis, business executives are overseeing a wide shift in how organizations work, spanning tactical adjustments in areas such as meeting structure and cadence, and day-to-day management, as well as enterprise-wide changes in leadership and talent management, use of technology, and innovation. In most industries, 50% of more of the leaders surveyed are considering or planning large-scale changes in various sectors. Leaders are making many of these changes swiftly by necessity.

As one surveyed healthcare leader explained –  “We were able to deploy an enterprise-wide virtual care solution in a matter of weeks, because that is all we had. This rollout had been planned for over a year, prior to this.”

Many organizations realize the value of speed during these times of flux and uncertainty. Surveyed leaders most often cite the need to react more quickly to market changes as the reason why organizations have made changes during the pandemic. This need is reported significantly more often than factors such as the need to reduce costs, increase productivity, or engage more effectively with customers. If you want to take advantage of COVID, then you need to act quickly and with precision. This is an area where a business owner can make great gains.

#5 – Leveraging Technology

For decades people have been hyping up technology. But it works and has transformed the world. With the onslaught of COVID, technology is needed more than ever. People are communicating via messaging and video applications and need virtualized areas to collaborate. Security is going to get more sophisticated, with retina and fingerprint scanners to verify entry to workspaces. 

Technology can improve on speed and decision making, 2 pivotal components of any business enterprise. Many leaders view the pace of decision making as a priority for improvement, likely because many organizations find it harder to choose a path forward than to follow that path.

Communication and collaboration are 2 key areas that business leaders highlight when talking about technology. The speed at which accurate data is transferred is key. And to do this, there also has to be a clear chain of command where everybody knows their position. Superior technology can help from onboarding to payroll to learning to project execution.

#6 – Less Red Tape And Bureaucracy

With systems and management get established in a business, it’s hard to think of doing things differently. But many of these systems (and even certain staff) are surplus to requirements and make things even more difficult. In many instances, it is not the execution that is the problem. It is actually getting the sign-offs for disparate managers, all of whom have their own opinions about things. The end result is unnecessary delays.

Many business owners are finding that they operate just as efficiently, if not more so when the workers are given free rein to complete tasks on their own with only a light veneer of guidance. This runs counter to the management ethos that unless the workers are carefully managed, they will not get the work completed. A primary advantage of COVID is that it highlights what is truly necessary for a business and what was there simply nobody believed it was unnecessary before.

#7 – Sustainable Development

COVID-19 has woken the population up to the fact that sustainable development is necessary for the global economy to thrive. Sustainable development can take many forms, including:

  • Financial sustainability
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Social sustainability

How can a business owner take advantage of ‘sustainability’? There is a huge market for organic or fair products, perceived as those that have long-term value and a transparent ethos. Clients and investors do not put up with shady businesses any longer. They consider the social and wider consequences of where they put their money. This trend has been reflected in the socially responsible investing phenomenon and the emphasis on green products in recent months. The trend is only going to continue year on year.

#8 – Education and Upskilling

Never before has there been such a radical shift in the global economy at such a rapid pace. As a result, large segments of the workforce need to upskill and reeducate themselves. May college students find themselves in a terrible environment for their courses, and because change is coming so rapidly, it is just not possible to accurately predict what skills are most relevant.

But there is a definite upside to this. Some skills are definitely in-demand, such as mobile app development, AI, automation tools, supply chain management, consultancy businesses, and far more. It is the prime opportunity to pivot an existing business to make it more profitable. 

Pivoting refers to the art of changing your core business model to adapt to current circumstances. A Startup Genome study demonstrated that businesses that pivoted once or twice enjoyed far more success than those who stuck to their guns for the long-term. You and your employees can benefit from either upskilling or ‘pivoting’ to a new model entirely.

#9 – New Productivity Mechanisms

The fact is that COVID-19 has actually accelerated both employee productivity and employee satisfaction levels. The majority of independent studies are reporting this, and it goes against many employer fears of a lazy and complacent workforce. The reasons for this are unknown, but possibly in line with the fact that workers do better when they have the time and space to get the job done. 

They are also more free to do things that make them more productive and motivated, whether that is a walk in the park, a 9 AM yoga session to start the day, or simply a coffee in a local cafe. Business owners can trust their employees to work without breathing down their necks. And the need for managers might actually be reduced in a collaborative environment where workers are independent with only light-touch management.

It’s also a major benefit that employees do not have to commute an hour to and from work. This is precious mental bandwidth that can increase their productivity levels.

#10 – Direct Entrepreneurial Expansion

You can take advantage of COVID-19 in a variety of different ways. Consider the various business opportunities – hand sanitizers, masks, door deliveries, mental health, remove services, shared office spaces, the list goes on and on.

Fast-acting entrepreneurs are having a field day with all of the opportunities. Particularly, small business owners who opted for restaurant delivery fared quite well, though this option was not taken up by every outlet.

There are still many opportunities for expansion in the post covid era. Supply chains are operating differently, consumer preferences are changing, and there are multiple opportunities in niche industries including VR, AI, renewable energy, supply chain management, and far more.

Tech companies are still incredibly lucrative, according to a Startup Genome Study, with impressive job multipliers and innovations that can have incredible benefits to the wider economy. In contrast to entrepreneurs, business executives have a slightly different focus. When surveyed, business executives primarily placed an emphasis on 3 key areas:

  1. Making good decisions more quickly.
  2. Improving communication and collaboration.
  3. Making greater use of technology.

The Importance of Speed

Speed is of the essence when it comes to pandemics like COVID, where the fastest acting businesses reap the rewards. As things start to solidify, it is design, patience, planning, and longer-term foresight.

There are also many ways you can directly take advantage of COVID with financial incentives. These financial incentives are outlined below. Note that some of them, such as the Paycheck Protection Program, are no longer available. Read more…

Daniel Lewis
Daniel Lewis is an MBA accredited investment professional who wants to assist small business owners to gain access to finance. After going through many channels for funding, Lewis has found that getting the first loan right is vitally important for future success.
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Relevant sites that have important financial disclosures in relation to COVID include:

Summary of Financial Relief Strategies

As a small business order, make sure that you run through all of these financial tools, preferably in the order they are written below.

  1. SBA Paycheck Protection Program (‘PPP’)
  2. SBA Economic Injury Disaster Program (‘EIDL’)
  3. SBA Express Bridge Loan
  4. SBA Debt Relief
  5. Online Lending Options
  6. SBA Micro Loans
  7. Business Interruption Insurance
  8. Other Forms of Relief (Mortgage, Lease, Unemployment Benefits, Family, Friends).

Also keep an eye out for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which is aimed specifically to help out independent contractors and small business owners who do not qualify under the existing infrastructure. The program is not operational at the time of this writing, so check in periodically through this site.

 

COVID-19 Cases: The Pandemic’s Future Hangs In Suspense

An illustration of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations overlaid on a photograph of a medical professional looking out a window.

COVID-19 cases dropped about 5 percent this week, while testing rose 12 percent as backlogs in reported tests—always a little slower to recover than reported cases—rolled in following disruptive mid-February storms. The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 dropped almost 16 percent week over week, making this the seventh straight week of sharp declines in hospitalizations. States and territories reported 12,927 deaths this week, including a substantial backlog from the Commonwealth of Virginia.

4 bar charts showing weekly COVID-19 metrics for the US. Cases fell nearly 5% this week while testing was up over 12%. Deaths continued to drop week over week.

The decline in cases has been a point of confusion in the past week, as daily reports briefly jogged up after a large drop following the long Presidents’ Day weekend and disruptive winter storms in mid-February. A look at percentage change in reported cases since November 1 helps illustrate the dips and rises in reported cases seen around Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day, and—more recently—the winter storms in mid-February. (On November 8, California did not report data in time to be included in our daily compilation.) Cases may plateau or rise at any point, and a close watch of the numbers is essential as vaccinations roll out alongside the spread of SARS-CoV-2 variants. But we would urge data watchers to be wary of conflating reporting artifacts with real changes in the state of the pandemic.

Bar chart from Nov 1, 2020 - Mar 3, 2021 showing the daily percent change in the 7-day cases average. The 7-day avg rose for a few days a week ago, but this was likely due to storm reporting impacts.

Although it seems unlikely, based on current figures, that a new surge is showing up in the case numbers, it is quite possible that case declines are beginning to slow. With reported tests up 12 percent this week—likely also because of a storm-related dip and rise—it’s impossible to be certain whether the case decline is slowing because of an increase in testing, or because disease prevalence itself is declining, albeit more slowly. We can look to other metrics, however, to help us interpret the past two weeks of case numbers.

One way to confirm that a change in reported cases—especially one preceded by a disruptive event like a holiday or a major storm—reflects reality is to look at new hospital admissions. This metric, which is available in the federal hospitalization data set, has tracked very closely with cases since the hospitalization data set stabilized last fall, but has not shown the same vulnerability to reporting disruptions produced by holidays or severe weather. Charting federal case data against new-admissions data shows that the decline in new admissions continues, though slightly more slowly than the decline in cases.

Two line charts showing federal COVID-19 data: 7-day average cases over time and 7-day average hospital admissions over time. Admissions are dropping in recent days while cases hit a small plateau due to reporting artifacts.

This signal helps confirm that the brief rise in daily reported cases in the past week was very unlikely to signal a new surge in cases—though, again, cases may not be dropping as quickly as they were in late January and early February. It’s nevertheless important to note that cases remain extremely high, and have only this week dipped below the peak of the summer’s case surge. (Though we’re almost certainly detecting a larger percentage of cases now than we were in the summer, as our testing capacity in the U.S. has increased.) The sustained decline in cases and hospitalizations is very encouraging, but with multiple variants of SARS-CoV-2 gaining footholds in U.S. cities, it remains vitally important to further reduce the virus’s spread via masking, social distancing, and avoiding indoor gatherings.

Although it may seem that the decline in hospitalizations is slowing down in recent weeks, the percentage decrease remains robust.

Bar chart showing daily percent change in the total number of patients currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in the US. This figure has been falling by a consistent percentage in recent weeks (around 2.4 percent)

Reported COVID-19 deaths, too, continue to decline. The particularly sharp drop in the week beginning February 11, which included Presidents’ Day and the beginning of the winter storms that affected data reporting in many states, was balanced by a smaller drop in the week of February 18. This week, deaths dropped by an encouraging 11 percent.

2 bar charts one on top of the other - the first showing the percentage change in weekly COVID-19 deaths in the US, the second showing just those weekly deaths. Deaths fell 11% from last week

It’s important to note that many states have recently added large numbers of COVID-19 deaths from previous months to their totals. In Virginia, cases and hospitalizations have been dropping for weeks, but after reporting fewer than 100 deaths a day for the entirety of the pandemic up to this week, the Commonwealth is now reporting hundreds of deaths every day—most of which occurred in December and January.

4 daily bar charts with 7-day lines overlaid showing key COVID-19 metrics for Virginia since the beginning of 2021. Deaths have spiked drastically in recent days - however, these deaths are reconciled from older dates and do not reflect the true state of COVID-19 fatalities in VA at the moment.

The addition of these backlogged deaths—like the 4,000 deaths from previous months recently reported by Ohio—obscures the reality of rapidly declining recent deaths. It also underlines the fact that deaths at the peak of the winter surge were actually much higher than the already-devastating numbers reported in December and January.

For the week ending February 25, COVID-19 deaths in long-term-care facilities have continued to decline as a share of all COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. (As we did in last week’s analysis, we have excluded from this chart all data for four states—Indiana, Missouri, New York, and Ohio—that recently added large numbers of undated deaths from previous months to their totals. The addition of these historical death figures to recent weeks made it impossible to follow recent trends at the national level without this exclusion.)

Bar chart showing the share of weekly COVID-19 deaths occurring in LTC facilities. The percentage is down to 13% in the most recent week after being over 30% for months.

It’s our final week of compiling and interpreting data here at the COVID Tracking Project, and we’ve spent much of the past few weeks explaining how to use data from the federal government in place of our patchwork data set. We’ve packaged up everything we’ve learned about federal case numbers, death numbers, hospitalization data, and testing data, as well as long-term-care-facility data. For more casual data users, we’ve also written a short primer on how to find easy-to-use charts and metrics from the CDC. It’s even possible to replicate three-quarters of our daily four-up top-line chart using data from the CDC, although the data are one day behind the state-reported data we compile.

4 charts showing key COVID-19 metrics over time from the CDC: Cases, Hospitalized, Hospital Admissions, and Deaths. All 4 charts show a declining trend.

In this version, new hospital admissions are included instead of tests—test data are available from the federal government, but are not in a date-of-report arrangement that matches the other top-line metrics. (We’ll be publishing a separate post showing how to produce this visual within the next few days.)

Long-term-care data wrap-up: Tonight marks our final compilation of data at the Long-Term-Care COVID Tracker, and we’ve just published a look at the subset of long-term-care-facility data available in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Nursing Home data set. This federal data set includes only nursing homes and accounts for about 27 percent of all COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. to date. The long-term-care data set we stitched together from state reports, by contrast, includes assisted-living facilities where states report them, and accounts for at least 35 percent of all U.S. COVID-19 deaths.

Race and ethnicity data wrap-up: For 11 months, we have shown that the COVID-19 race and ethnicity data published by U.S. states are patchy and incomplete—and that they nevertheless have indicated major inequities in the pandemic’s effects. Both of these things are true of the demographic data available from the CDC: Many data are missing, and what data are reported show ongoing disparities. Our introduction to the federal data will be posted later this week, and we’ll be publishing deeper analyses in the coming weeks.

As we wind down our compilation efforts, the United States is at a crucial moment in the pandemic: Decisive action now is our best chance at preventing a fourth surge in cases and outpacing the variants, which may be more transmissible than the original virus according to preliminary (preprint) data. Over the weekend, the FDA issued a third Emergency Use Authorization for a COVID-19 vaccine, this time for Janssen/Johnson & Johnson’s adenovirus vector vaccine, which showed impressive safety and efficacy results in its global clinical trials. The Biden administration announced Tuesday that the U.S. should have enough COVID-19 vaccine doses for every adult by the end of May—a dramatic acceleration from previous timelines.

Meanwhile, concerns over an uptick in variant cases are growing in Florida after researchers noted that 25 percent of analyzed samples from Miami-Dade County’s Jackson Health public hospital were cases of B.1.1.7. Although partnerships between the CDC and other labs have increased the number of specimens sequenced from about 750 a week in January to 7,000–10,000 a week in late February, this still allows for the sequencing of less than 3 percent of all cases in the United States.

Bar chart with genomic sequencing volume from the CDC. Sequenced specimens peaked at 7,000-10,000 per week in February
Genomic sequencing volume chart from the CDC

New York City has promised to quadruple the number of samples it sequences during the month of March, from 2,000 to 8,000 a week, which is more than the entire country’s labs sequenced in the week ending February 27.

Today’s weekly update is our 39th and last. We began writing them back in June 2020 as a way of offering a deeper interpretation of data points that was less jittery than those in the daily tweets. As we puzzled through the data and watched for indications of changing trends, we’ve tried to help people understand what has happened to us as the pandemic has ebbed and surged.

Although our data compilation will come to an end on Sunday, March 7, our work at the COVID Tracking Project will continue in other forms for another few months, as our teams complete their long-term analyses and wrap up documentation and archiving efforts. We’ll continue to post our work on the CTP site and link to it on Twitter until we finally close up shop in late spring.

Throughout the year that we’ve compiled this data, we’ve tried to explain not only what we think the data mean, but how we came to our conclusions—and how we tested and challenged our own analyses. We hope that one result of our doing this work in public is that our readers feel better prepared to do the same for themselves and their communities.

The federal government is now publishing more and better COVID-19 data than ever before. Some gaps remain, but far fewer than at any previous moment in the pandemic. To those of you who have relied on our work this year, thank you for your trust. We’ve tried very hard to deserve it, and we believe that we’re leaving you in good hands.


Mandy Brown, Artis Curiskis, Alice Goldfarb, Erin Kissane, Alexis C. Madrigal, Kara Oehler, Jessica Malaty Rivera, and Peter Walker contributed to this report.

The COVID Tracking Project is a volunteer organization launched from The Atlantic and dedicated to collecting and publishing the data required to understand the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States.

Source: COVID-19 Cases: The Pandemic’s Future Hangs in Suspense – The Atlantic

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The Bright Side Of Covid-19: Seven Opportunities Of The Current Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has a lot of dark sides. Around the world, people get ill and die, schools close, the healthcare system is overloaded, employees lose their jobs, companies face bankruptcy, stock markets collapse and countries have to spend billions on bailouts and medical aid. And for everyone, whether directly hurt or not, Covid-19 is a huge stressor shaking up our psyche, triggering our fears and uncertainties.

No matter how serious and sad all of this is, there are upsides as well. Therefore, along the Monty Python song “Always look on the bright side of life” let’s not forget those and make the best of what the crisis gives us. As the good old SWOT analysis tells us, there are not only threats, but also opportunities. With opportunities I don’t mean that the crisis provides extra business for companies like Zoom and Go to Webinar that enable virtual meetings, or for Amazon, which is planning to hire another 100,000 employees. The latter is probably more a threat than an opportunity for most, especially for the mom & pop stores that go through difficult times already.

With opportunities I mean general opportunities that are available for most people affected by the crisis. The current crisis offers at least seven of them:

Opportunity 1: More time

In today’s overheated economy time is often seen as the most valuable and sparse thing we have. Covid-19 shows why: because we have stacked our week with social gatherings and entertainment such as going to the theater, birthdays, cinema, restaurant, bar, sportclub, gym, music, festivals, concerts and what is more. Suddenly, all of that is cancelled or forbidden, giving us significant amounts of extra time. And still, live goes on. This shows us how easy it is to clear our calendars. Obviously this doesn’t apply to the health-care sector and other crucial sectors, but beyond those it applies to a large majority of sectors.

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The opportunity is that we can spend this time on other things—or even better, on nothing and enjoy the free time. Looking at the crowded parks, waste collection points, garden centres and DIY stores in the last week, many people seem to have a hard time with the latter. Instead of enjoying the extra free time, they fill it immediately with other activities. To seize this first opportunity though, re-arranging how you spend your time and reserving time for nothingness is key. Not just during the crisis, but also after it. The advices in my previous article on the Covid-19 crisis could help in realizing this.

Opportunity 2: Reflect and reconsider

The fact that the coronavirus disrupts our day-t0-day lives provides an opportunity to reflect on things and to reconsider what we do, how we do it and why we do it. Things we took for granted—like going to the gym—are suddenly not possible anymore. Furthermore, many people have had to change their mode of working and work from home instead of at the office. This means that a lot of our routines are interrupted. MORE FOR YOUWhy KPIs Don’t Work; And How To Fix ThemHow Cisco Takes Care Of Its EmployeesWhat Business Leaders Can Learn From The Special Forces

This offers a great opportunity to rethink our habits and routines and make changes. Now that you haven’t been able to go to the restaurant twice a week, commute 2 hours per day, hang out with your friends or go to a party every weekend, you can reflect on whether you really want to continue doing so after the crisis. The virus forces you to make changes to your daily life that you might actually want to keep also after the crisis.

Opportunity 3: Speed and innovation

Many organizations suffer from slow procedures, complex bureaucracies and rigid hierarchies making organizational life less than pleasant. The coronavirus has forced many of them to break through these rigid systems and act instantly. Suddenly procedures can be skipped or accelerated, rules can be side-tracked and decisions can be made more autonomously without formal approval. And suddenly employees are allowed to work from home without direct supervision.

Covid-19 shows that, as soon as there is a strong enough stimulus, things can change. This leads to remarkable innovations. Not being allowed to open their doors, restaurants, for example, are shifting to delivery mode. And schools suddenly do much of the teaching and even some of the testing online. This brings the opportunity to create innovations now that can be maintained after the crisis. And it also can help to keep the current speed and innovation mode afterwards.

Opportunity 4: Better meetings

As referred to in an earlier article, people spend up to 23 hours per week in meetings, half of which are considered a failure or waste of time. The current crisis has forced us to rethink how we deal with meetings. Because in many countries it is not allowed anymore to meet with a group of persons, many meetings are cancelled. And when they still take place they are mostly virtual and shorter.

As such, it provides an excellent opportunity for resolving one of the most disliked parts of organizational life. The technology for this is already present and mature for a couple of years, but the coronavirus triggers a sudden need for it. The real opportunity here is to make systematic changes so that meetings will be more effective, also after the crisis.

Opportunity 5: Reconnect and help

Challenging times offer a great opportunity for social bonding and other ways of connecting to and helping people. Of course, not being able to visit friends or family has increased isolation and feelings of loneliness in some cases. But the feeling of “we’re in this together” has also triggered interesting ways of connecting. Some of those have gone viral—such as Italians singing together from their windows and balconies—but there are many small, local initiatives too to connect and help people who need it.

In the individualized societies many of us live in, this provides opportunities to reconnect and create more social coherence. Not only during the crisis, but also afterwards. This opportunity comes with a big caveat though. Parallel to these nice initiatives we also witness how far people go to protect themselves and their families. People hoard food, medicine, toilet paper and guns without thinking a second of others. However, while it triggers self-serving egocentric behavior too, the Covid-19 crisis does provide us the opportunity to reconnect and show our social side.

Opportunity 6: Cleaner environment

The virus caused a shutdown or dramatical decrease of industrial activities. Factories are closed or operate far below their capacity, road traffic has reduced radically and air traffic collapsed, and the lack of tourism has emptied the streets in overcrowded cities like Venice, Amsterdam and New York. While this may be bad news for most people and especially those working in the affected industries, this is also good news for our planet. Covid-19 causes a significant reduction in green house gasses and other air, water and land polluting outputs. In Venice this has allegedly led to dolphins return after just a couple of weeks (although some argued this to be a hoax).

Whether the particular example is a hoax or not is not so relevant. The fact is that the shutdown and lockdown of large parts of our economy is good for nature—at least on the short term. The opportunity this provides, is to keep parts of this in place also after the crisis to make long-term improvements. Along the line of the previous opportunities, the current crisis provides us an opportunity to reconsider our lives and reorganize it in a way that has less impact on our planet.

Opportunity 7: Modesty and acceptance

The final opportunity that the Covid-19 crisis offers, is a chance to create awareness for the moderate role we play on this planet and accept that things cannot always go as we want them to go. The Covid-19 pandemic is a global crisis chat is unprecedented in modern peace time. We had other pandemics like SARS, but their impact was less substantial. And we had the 1973 oil crisis, but that was a man-made crisis. The coronavirus is not man-made and yet disrupts lives across the planet.

As such, the virus shows us that, no matter how well-planned and organized we are and no matter how much we live in the Anthropocene—the era characterized by significant human impact—we are not in control. One simple virus is disrupting everything. This offers a great opportunity. In almost every aspect of life we want to be in control. Whether it is health, airline safety or our calendars, we live in the illusion that full control is possible. The virus can help us create awareness that this is not the case. It provides an opportunity to take a more modest role and accept that many things are simply beyond our control.

Once again, the Covid-19 crisis has a large dark side. But as these seven opportunities show, it has positive sides as well. Since all seven opportunities require a quite fundamental change in how we approach the world, seizing them can take substantial time. In that sense, and if we keep on looking at the brighter sides of life, the longer the crisis lasts, the larger the opportunities are and the bigger the chances are of actually making changes to our deeply rooted habits and convictions. Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website or some of my other work here.

Jeroen Kraaijenbrink

 Jeroen Kraaijenbrink

I help companies do strategy through training, mentoring and consulting. My drive is to bring you and your organization to the next level with strategy approaches that work. I wrote “Strategy Consulting,” “Nor More Bananas,” and “The Strategy Handbook.” Reach out to me via jeroenkraaijenbrink.com,  LinkedIn or jk@kraaijenbrink.com

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Pat Flynn 282K subscribers 26 million Americans are without a job right now, and that’s just in the U.S. alone. It’s a terrible situation, one that I’m all too familiar with myself having gotten laid off during the recession in 2008. These are tough times, but there are opportunities within them, too. I was able to build a business back in 2008 as a result of getting laid off, and I imagine that those who focus on the future, and the ability to create something new now, are the ones who are going to come out of this dire situation best.

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Stimulus Check Qualification Rules Could Change With a Second Payment

Congress is scrambling to piece together another relief package before the end of the year that would, if some legislators have their say, include a second economic stimulus check for individuals and families who meet the requirements.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent, and Sen. Josh Hawley, a Republican, are looking to modify a $908 billion plan with an amendment that would authorize a second check for up to $1,200. The unamended proposal doesn’t include another direct payment. If Sanders and Hawley’s amendment is successful, the new payment would likely follow the same outlines of the first stimulus check for speed and simplicity, but even minor changes could have a significant impact for millions.

Another new proposal, this time from the White House, would provide $600 apiece for each qualifying adult and child, Though it’s less likely we’ll see this proposal become law, if it did it would clearly affect how much money a household could get, by halving the share per qualifying adult and increasing it by $100 per eligible child dependent

Even if no stimulus check is approved in 2020, the discussions happening now could impact the stimulus check conversation in early 2021. There’s clearly enough support for a second round of aid before there are enough available doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to inoculate the US population.

Read on for more information about what may happen to stimulus eligibility now. We update this story often.

How the qualifications could change with a new bill

While many members of Congress agree on the need for more aid, they differ on the specifics, and the two sides continue to discuss who needs assistance and how much to spend. Based on proposals that’ve been on the table this fall, here’s what lawmakers could do (or have already done):

Update the definition of a dependent: The CARES Act capped eligible dependents at kids age 16 and younger. One proposal this summer expanded the definition to any dependent, child or adult, you could claim on federal taxes. That means families with older kids or older adults at home could potentially see $500 more in their check total per individual if that proposal is adopted.

Read more: Nobody can take your stimulus check away, right? Not quite

money-dollars-bills-sock-american-flag
If the definition of a dependent changes, your family could benefit. Angela Lang/CNET

Raise the amount of money per child dependent: One White House proposal from October would’ve kept the definition of a child dependent used in the CARES Act but increased the sum per individual to $1,000 on the final household check. (Based on that, here’s how to estimate your total stimulus money and here’s the IRS’ formula for families.)

The White House’s new Dec. 8 proposal would reportedly raise the sum for each qualifying child to $600, up from $500 in the CARES Act.

Stop seizing overdue child support: The Democrats this summer pushed to let a parent who owed child support receive a payment; the original CARES Act allowed the government to redirect payments to cover overdue support.

Send checks to people who are incarcerated: After months of back and forth, the IRS is sending checks to those who are incarcerated and eligible for a payment. A Republican plan this summer would’ve excluded the payments.

Include noncitizens: The CARES Act made a Social Security number a requirement for a payment. Other proposals would’ve expanded the eligibility to those with an ITIN instead of a Social Security number because they’re classified as a resident or nonresident alien. A Republican plan this summer would’ve excluded those with an ITIN.

Who could qualify for a second stimulus check

Qualifying groupLikely to be covered by the final bill
IndividualsAn AGI of less than $99,000 (Same as CARES)
Head of householdAn AGI of less than $146,500 (Same as CARES)
Couple filing jointlyAn AGI less than $198,000 (Same as CARES)
Dependents of any ageNo limit (HEALS proposal; up to 3 in Heroes)
US citizens living abroadYes, same as CARES
Citizens of US territoriesLikely, with payments handled by each territory’s tax authority (CARES)
SSDI and tax nonfilersLikely, but with an extra step to file (more below)
Uncertain statusCould be set by court ruling or bill
Incarcerated peopleExcluded under CARES through IRS interpretation, judge overturned
Undocumented immigrantsQualifying “alien residents” are currently included under CARES
Disqualified groupUnlikely to be covered by the final bill
Noncitizens who pay taxes (ITIN)Proposed in Heroes, unlikely to pass in Senate
Spouses, kids of ITIN filersExcluded under CARES, more below
People who owe child supportIncluded in Heroes proposal, but excluded under CARES

Would the income limits be similar with another check?

Under the CARES Act, here are the income limits based on your adjusted gross income for the previous year that would qualify you for a stimulus check, assuming you met all the other requirements. (More below for people who don’t normally file taxes.) With the amendment proposed by Sanders and Hawley on Dec. 10, the requirements guidelines would follow those set out in the CARES Act.

  • You’re a single tax filer and earn less than $99,000.
  • You file as the head of a household and earn under $146,500.
  • You file jointly with a spouse and earn less than $198,000 combined.

What role do my taxes play in how much I could get? What if I don’t file taxes? 

For most people, taxes and stimulus checks are tightly connected. For example, the most important factor in setting income limits is adjusted gross income, or AGI, which determines how much of the total amount you could receive, be it $600 or $1,200 for individuals and $1,200 or $2,400 for married couples (excluding children for now).

Our stimulus check calculator can show you how much money you could potentially expect from a second check, based on your most recent tax filing and a $1,200 per person cap. Read below for your eligibility if you don’t typically file taxes.

coins-measuring-spoons
How much stimulus money you could get depends on who you are. Angela Lang/CNET

What should retired and older adults know?

Many older adults, including retirees over age 65, received a first stimulus check under the CARES Act, and would likely be eligible for a second one. For older adults and retired people, factors like your tax filingsyour AGI, your pension, if you’re part of the SSDI program (more below) and whether the IRS considers you a dependent would likely affect your chances of receiving a second payment. 

If I share custody or owe child support, how does that affect eligibility?

Due to a specific rule, if you and the other parent of your child dependent alternate years claiming your child on your tax return, you may both be entitled to receive $500 more in your first stimulus check, and in the second if that rule doesn’t change.If you owe child support, your stimulus money may be garnished for arrears (the amount you owe). https://playlist.megaphone.fm/?e=CBS4695642448&light=true

I haven’t submitted my federal tax return for at least two years. Can I still get money?

People who weren’t required to file a federal income tax return in 2018 or 2019 may still be eligible to receive the first stimulus check under the CARES Act. If that guideline doesn’t change for a second stimulus check, this group would qualify again. Here are reasons you might not have been required to file:

  • You’re over 24, you’re not claimed as a dependent and your income is less than $12,200.
  • You’re married filing jointly and together your income is less than $24,400.
  • You have no income.
  • You receive federal benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance. See below for more on SSDI.

With the first stimulus check, nonfilers needed to provide the IRS with some information before they could receive their payment. (If you still haven’t received a first check even though you were eligible, the IRS said you can claim it on your taxes in 2021.) This fall, the IRS attempted to contact 9 million Americans who may’ve fallen into this category but who haven’t requested their payment. Those in this group can claim their payment on next year’s taxes.

I’m part of the SSI or SSDI program. Am I eligible to get a stimulus check?

Those who are part of the SSI or SSDI program also qualify for a check under the CARES Act. Recipients wouldn’t receive their payments via their Direct Express card, which the government typically uses to distribute federal benefits, but through a non-Direct Express bank account or as a paper check. SSDI recipients can file next year to request a payment for themselves and dependents.

For more, here’s what we know about the major proposals for another stimulus package. We also have information on unemployment insurance, what you can do if you’ve lost your job and what to know about evictions.

Coronavirus updates

First published on June 25, 2020 at 4:15 a.m. PT.BudgetingTaxesPoliticsPersonal Finance How To

By: Clifford Colby, Julie Snyder, Katie Conner

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3 Things I’ve Learned from Billionaires About Coping With the COVID-19 Health Crisis

The COVID-19 global health crisis poses a multitude of challenges for every entrepreneur. Experts in some economies predict that in the coming recession, up to 40 percent of all businesses could cease to exist. Virtually every business owner is affected by the crisis this way or another and many feel a deep need for orientation in this difficult time.

In every walk of life, you always should learn from the best people in your area. Being an entrepreneur myself, I spent the last seven years travelling the world and interviewing some of the best entrepreneurs on the planet. I met over three dozen self-made billionaires on a mission to find out what in their personalities made them so extremely successful in business, to learn their thinking patterns and business strategies.

I published the results of my research in the book “The Billion Dollar Secret” and founded with half a dozen billionaires the 10 Digit Impact Group, a global platform for 10 digit individuals to exchange thoughts, experiences, and co-ordinate their international philanthropic activities to have a positive impact on the lives of billions of people.

Here is how billionaires approach the COVID-19 crisis and the three steps they take to thrive nevertheless:

1. Stabilize your business.

The first rule in business is: Don’t go broke! Also, in the crisis, the first and most important goal is to stay in business.

The COVID-19 crisis shows up in its first phase as a liquidity crisis. For business owners, it’s critical to keep liquidity. You don’t want to be in a situation where you are forced to sell your assets. To achieve that, you need to be flexible and quickly adapt to changing conditions. Innovation and the use of new technologies can help you achieve that.

In hard times, it is wise to reduce your dependency on financial institutions. Many billionaires have no debt in their companies or they want to reach zero debt soon.

No business can exist without customers. In a deep recession like this one, it’s not enough to think only about the financial condition of your company. You also have to think about the financial condition of your customers. You want them to survive so your company can survive. Sometimes you need to give them better business terms, give them more time to pay the obligations, temporarily waive the interest or even forgo part of the debt. It may be painful in the short term but it may save your company in the long term.

2. Prepare for opportunities.

Cash is king! It sounds like a slogan but there is no other time when these words are more true than now. Every crisis is an opportunity and there are many opportunities to come in this crisis. There will be assets in different areas to be had cheaply, be it real estate or companies. To take advantage of these opportunities, you need cash.

Billionaires have prepared for it by selling some of their non-essential, non-strategic assets and currently keep unusually large amounts of cash so they can invest with a discount at a later point in time.

3. Invest during max panic.

When everybody thinks in one direction, don’t be surprised when the situation develops in the opposite direction. When everybody runs for the hills, that’s when you should take a contrarian view and go against the crowd. You will always find opportunities there where somebody loses liquidity and has to sell.

Billionaires expect real estate and the stock market to go down in price even further in the coming months and years. When the panic in the market caused by the fears about the second wave and potential second lockdown reaches its maximum, that’s when the opportunities will outweigh the risk. 

That’s when you should look for potential acquisition targets in your industry or expand your activities to new markets using your cash stash.

By: Rafael Badziag / Entrepreneur Leadership Network VIP

Emotional health can be challenging during this COVID-19 crisis. Dr. Molly Gardner explains what you can do to stay emotionally healthy, plus what you should do if you need behavioral health support during this time. Connect with a specialist: https://bit.ly/2QOgYmn COVID-19 information for patient families: https://bit.ly/2WJAc0d 4 ways to stay connected with family and friends: https://bit.ly/2UFASRp What parents need to know about Coronavirus: https://bit.ly/2UDZYAo Talking with your kids about coronavirus: https://bit.ly/2WNVSrO

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