At a time, when hundreds of people are dying every day due to the illness caused by COVID-19, there’s nothing more important than ensuring your and your family’s safety. To prevent this deadly virus from spreading, governments around the world have asked their citizens to stay indoors. However, such measures are affecting all kinds of businesses – be it large enterprises or SMEs. Things are even tougher for small, independent, local and family-owned businesses as this pandemic has affected their sales the most. A lot of small businesses are shutting down temporarily for the next several weeks. And considering the magnitude of this crisis, several companies may have to close their doors permanently. However, amid the ruckus, the good news is that a lot of organizations are offering free resources and monetary support to help small businesses stay afloat during this tough time. How? Let’s delve deeper into it.
Free Resources That Help And Support Small Businesses
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Ad Credits And Funds:
Several big companies have come forward to help small businesses during this time of crisis. Some of the notable ones are:
- Google, who is offering $340 million in Google ad credits on small and medium-sized enterprises with active accounts in the past year.
- Amazon has launched a Neighborhood Small Business Relief Fund of $5 million to offer cash grants to the small businesses affected by COVID-19 in and around Seattle.
- The social media giant Facebook has also created a Small Business Grants Program to offer $100 million in ad credits and cash to 30,000 businesses across 30 countries, where the company operates.
- The telecom company Verizon has decided to offer $2.5 million to Small Business COVID-19 Recovery Fund to help the struggling businesses.
Work-From-Home Skills And Tools:
In this time of the pandemic, a lot of businesses are asking their employees to work from home. To help such small and midsize companies, several software companies are offering free resources at this moment. Some of the significant ones are:
- LinkedIn: The leading professional networking platform is offering 16 of its learning courses free. The company is also offering tips on how to stay productive, how to use virtual meeting tools, and how to build relationships without having face-to-face interactions.
- 15Five: This company is offering full access to its performance-management software till June 15 to help the small businesses lead their teams remotely.
- Workhuman: The human capital management software company is making its cloud-based social recognitions tools free for 12 months to all businesses and organizations. The tools include its Life Events, Conversation and Social Recognition platforms.
- Igloo Software: A digital workplace solutions provider, the brand is providing its Business Continuity bundle for free till July 6. The bundle includes digital workplace tools to engage the employees to be more productive and support them through this tough time.
Since a majority of the businesses are relying on the internet facilities now more than ever, ensuring cybersecurity has become a concern for most businesses. Thankfully, a lot of cybersecurity providers are making a difference by offering free services to businesses, such as:
- Web-security company, Cloudflare is providing its “Cloudflare for Teams" to small firms at free of cost till September 1. An entire team can use this tool to securely access internal applications remotely without the use of any VPN.
- DNSFilter is providing its DNS security service to businesses for free till July 1. This service can protect your team from malware and phishing attacks.
- To ensure your remote team can share passwords securely and create custom groups, vaults and permissions, 1Password is offering its business service free to small business owners for six months.
- The identity and security company, Ping Identity is providing free cloud single sign-on (SSO) and multi-factor authentication (MFA) for free to unlimited apps and identities for six months.
Remote Team Conferencing:
Apart from the work-from-home tools and resources, small businesses also need to conduct team conferences remotely to manage their work properly. A lot of web-based platforms which serve in the domain of corporate communication are offering several services to the small businesses in this time to help them conduct their businesses smoothly. Some of them are:
- Adobe Connect, the web conferencing platform of Adobe is now available for free to companies, as well as individuals, till July, for meetings of up to 25 participants at a time.
- Zoho Remotely is offering its complete suite of Web and Mobile apps for free to the owners of small business till July 1. These services will help remote teams communicate, collaborate and boost productivity.
- The multinational tech company, Cisco is offering free 90-day licenses with unlimited usage for its Webex product, which hosts online meetings, videoconferencing, webinars, and screen share.
- To help small businesses improve their flow of communication among the team members during this period, Align Technologies has made its Huddle Tools Software free.
Other Online Services:
Besides cybersecurity, work-from-home tools and remote conferencing service, there are several essential services which are being made free for the small businesses during this Coronavirus pandemic. Some of the notable offerings are discussed below.
- The SEO software company, Moz, is currently offering free access to a number of Moz Academy SEO courses till May 31. People willing to learn about keyword research, backlink basics and other SEO-related issues can get benefitted from this.
- The social media management platform, Hootsuite is providing free access to its professional plan until July 1.
- The e-commerce platform, Shopify, has now extended its free trial from 14 days to 90 days. People currently in its 14-day free trial can extend the duration of the trial at no extra cost.
- A cloud-storage app, Box is providing a free 90-day trial during this time of crisis. You can cancel the subscription any time.
Helping small business: Conclusion
From these instances, it is quite evident that several digital solution providers are coming together to help small businesses operate smoothly during this tough time. If you are a small business owner, hopefully, this blog has been useful to you. Stay home and stay safe.
About the Author:
Olaila Lee is a marketing executive who is employed at a reputed eCommerce company. He also offers assignment help to students on request. He is also interested in music and other performing arts.