Local Industry Stepping Up to Help SMBs

This morning Thryv announced a new initiative (and I doubt it’s is the last one) to help America’s small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) weather the current economic storm. 

Last week, Thryv joined Yext and ZipWhip to offer Thryv Adapt, a slimmed-down version of its core Thryv solution.

In today’s market, the slimmed-down version is still a valuable offer. Adapt delivers two-way SMS text and email communications, unlimited online payments (up to 50 monthly estimates and invoices), and unlimited appointment booking. It also offers updated business information on more than 60 sites. The allows businesses to update hours and communicate COVID-19 updates to customers. 

What’s most compelling about Adapt is that Thryv and its partners have made it a “pay what you can” offer until at least June 24, 2020. Thryv has left open the possibility of extending the offer. 

As I have written here and elsewhere, helping small businesses meet the demands of the modern consumer — even in the COVID-19 era — is critical for businesses to remain relevant and connected to their best customers.

Today’s initiative from the Thryv Foundation offers grants to small businesses ranging from $2,500 – $15,000.

Thryv is hoping that businesses operating in economically disadvantaged areas will apply for the grants. I went to the site to see what the application process was like and I frankly fell off my chair. It was that incredibly simple. Aside from filling in just 12 basic pieces of information – e.g., business name, URL, phone, number of employees, they asked the applicant to add “a description as to why your business needs a COVID-19 Hardship Grant.”

No Time to Waste

According to my contacts at Thryv, the review process will be speedy, and that is critical right now of course. I’ve been told the applications will be reviewed within 48 hours of submission. if the application is accepted, the funds will be distributed within 72 hours. By my simple calculation, this means an applicant could receive their grant money within five days. 

I don’t know what typical timeframes for grants from the SBA and other federal agencies look like. My guess is they take considerably longer. And I certainly doubt that the application process is as seamless. Granted, the SBA and the federal government are pushing out considerably larger grant volumes. But in times like these, speed is critical. Kudos to the Thryv Foundation for not wasting any time. 

You Can’t Eat Credits

Finally, we’ve observed that Google’s $340 million commitment to small businesses comes as AdWords credits. This is well and good. But you can’t help a furloughed worker buy food with AdWords credits. Further, Facebook’s $100 million commitment to SMBs spans 30 countries and represents what percent of its annual revenues? I tried to do the calculation, but there were too many zeros (100/70,000). 

Protecting Local Businesses

Another notable initiative launched this week is “Protect Local” from our friends at Vendasta. This initiative involves a resource hub for Vendasta’s partner to use to help the SMBs they serve to navigate the COVID-19 crisis. The hub offers tips and resources to make the changes needing to keep functioning in this era of lockdowns and social distancing. The content addresses setting up remote work, moving a business online, and offers helpful content to use for communicating with customers during the crisis.

Vendasta works with roughly 25,000 channel partners serving more than 3.5 million local businesses worldwide. The channel partners include digital agencies, media companies, banks, telcos, and more.

This video helps explain the stakes.

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