Monthly Archives: March 2020

ADJUSTING TO UNPRECEDENTED TIMES

PB Message 2020-03-31 at 12.24.14 PM

A Video Message from PPAI President & CEO Paul Bellantone, CAE

I hope this update finds you healthy, finding ways to remain productive and successfully adjusting to these unprecedented times. As we continue to monitor the latest information and news on COVID-19, PPAI remains steadfast in our dedication to you and your businesses today and tomorrow. In fact, we currently have weekly meetings of our staff directors, our Board of Directors and daily meetings of our executive team. We are focused on getting you the critical services of today and securing a healthy organization for tomorrow.
Last week, I talked about our online community platform Promo Connect and our COVID-19 information page — resources available to help you navigate these uncharted waters. I also addressed some PPAI event cancellations and postponements. Today, I will update you on additional services and opportunities that are available to you.
Below you’ll find information on two of our affinity partners, Affinity HR Group and Paley Rothman Attorneys at Law. We believe both might be of assistance to you at this time. You’ll also find information from the Small Business Administration on available loans and a link to a recap of the CARES Act, which is providing relief to small businesses and individual operators.
I’ve included information on relief PPAI is offering to regional associations, opportunities for our members in Canada and a couple of programs where we are waiving fees. Also, if you are unable to get to your printed copy of PPB, it is available via flipbook and online. The April issue spotlights eight of the best multi-line reps in the industry and shares proven ways to cultivate diversity in your company. Plus, 12 calming self-care products that tell recipients you care about them along with some simple ways to hack your workday and get more done.
Finally, below you will find the details of a podcast I’ll be doing with ASI President and CEO Tim Andrews tomorrow. I hope you’ll be able to join us.
As I mentioned last week, we continue to evaluate and redefine every aspect of our business as necessary to provide you with the support you need in these tough times. Like many of you, I had to make the difficult decision to reduce staffing, salary and benefit and overhead expenses. And as I shared with the PPAI board last week, there is no comfort in numbers when making these difficult decisions, and I empathize with their role as company and industry leaders. I encourage you to let us, and our strategic partners, know if there is something you think we can help with as you transform your own business to adjust to these unprecedented circumstances.
Human Resources Assistance – PPAI’s affinity partner, Affinity HR Group, is a national HR consulting firm specializing in addressing the needs of small to mid-sized businesses. Affinity HR Group is staffed by a group of seasoned HR professionals with years of combined experience providing sound people support to clients nationwide. Affinity HR’s team offers PPAI members exclusive member-only discounts on a wide range of HR services. They’ve put together the COVID-19 Workplace Response Plan.
Legal Assistance – PPAI’s affinity partner, Paley Rothman Attorneys at Law, offers PPAI members a free 15-minute legal consultation. This can be immediately helpful to your business as you review contracts and employee issues. PPAI has retained Paley Rothman to answer your legal questions, so be sure to give them your PPAI number when setting up your consultation appointment. Get your legal questions ready and call Jessica Summers at 301-968-3402 to set up your free 15-minute consultation.
Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Recovery Assistance – In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, small-business owners in all U.S. states, territories and Washington D.C. are eligible to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance of up to $10,000. The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to help overcome a temporary loss of revenue. Funds will be made available within three days of a successful application, and this loan advance will not have to be repaid.
CARES Act: What It Means To You – PPAI continues to closely monitor developments in Washington, D.C, closely. The recent U.S. legislation aimed at providing relief to businesses and individuals affected by the coronavirus pandemic, the CARES Act, has significant implications for the promotional products industry. It provides disaster relief for industry companies, including deferred tax payments, loans with forgiveness options and direct payments to businesses and individuals. Find out what it means for you. We will also hold a Webinar on the topic this Friday (4/3/20) at 1:00 pm CT.
For Our Members In Canada – Promotional Product Professionals of Canada (PPPC) has purchased services from the Michigan Promotional Products Association (MiPPA) to allow free webinar access. Keep in mind that the webinar content is originating from and created in the U.S., but most topics will be universally applicable. All webinars are eligible for PPAI certification points. PPPC is working to create Canadian-specific webinars and French content in the coming weeks.
Legal Counsel For Regional Associations – PPAI understands the importance of a strong regional community and remains committed to the regional associations, some of which are rescheduling or cancelling spring events. To help, the PPAI Board of Directors will pay two hours of legal fees for each regional, as needed, as they address these issues.
Certification And Pyramid Submission Fees Waived – Beginning Wednesday (4/1/2020) through June 30, the TAS, CAS and MAS application fees will be waived and pricing for Associates will be at a 50 percent discount. Additionally, this year’s Pyramid Awards submission fees are being waived. This competition will open on April 27 and close May 29.
COVID-19 Podcast Featuring ASI President And CEO Tim Andrews And Myself – On Wednesday, April 1 from 1-2 pm CT (2-3 pm ET), I will join Tim Andrews for a special industry Town Hall, “COVID-19 Crisis: The Industry’s Leaders On Where We Go From Here.” As leaders of the promotional products industry’s two largest member organizations, we’ll discuss what each organization is doing now to assist members, the $2 trillion stimulus package, share advice on what small businesses can do now to survive and even thrive throughout the crisis, and outline action plans and forecasts for the coming months. If you can’t attend live, we’ll share a link to the recording in PPB Newslink, at ppai.org/coronavirus-information and across PPAI’s social media. Register now as space is limited.
While I hope all, or at least some, of these items will be of assistance to you, more importantly, I hope you, your families and your colleagues will remain in good health.
Sincerely,
Paul

Navigating Uncharted Waters

Update with PPAI's Paul Bellantone

A Message from PPAI Pres. & CEO Paul Bellantone, CAE

First and foremost, I hope you, your families and your coworkers are healthy and doing as well as possible under these uncertain and trying conditions. Like all of you, the team and I at PPAI continue to monitor the situation, adjust, adapt and continue to hope and pray for improvement. Now, as always, my promise to you is that PPAI will not lose its focus – you and your business. The promotional products community has weathered many challenges in the past and we always come out stronger because we stand and work together. Our primary goals over the next days and weeks are twofold. First, to make sure we can continue, along with our service partners, to provide essential services to members and the industry. Second, to make the necessary business decisions to ensure that there is a strong and relevant trade association in place to help you recover and rebuild when this crisis ends.

Video Update

As the news about COVID-19 continues to pour in, I understand many of you are seeking some sense of normalcy in a situation that is far from normal. With all of this in mind, I want to remind you of some resources that are available to you, as well as update you on a few things:

  • Coronavirus Information Page – This page is continuously updated and includes helpful links to the latest information on the COVID-19 outbreak, industry news as it relates to the virus, the latest updates on PPAI events, and a recently added section for regional event updates. https://www.ppai.org/coronavirus-information/ 
  • Supplier Status Update Page – We’ve created a web page for suppliers to share status updates about their business operations. This is an informative resource to learn about new safety measures, adjusted hours, temporary closures and factory cleaning methods straight from suppliers. https://www.ppai.org/unique/coronavirus-related-supplier-updates/
  • Promo Connect – Promo Connect, PPAI’s online community, is a valuable resource to directly connect with other industry professionals. We are already seeing a spike in communication activity via this platform on a variety of topics. https://community.ppai.org/home
  • Free Online Learning – We are making all education courses (more than 300 offerings) via PPAI’s online education platform free to PPAI members. https://onlineeducation.ppai.org/
  • Working From Home – Out of an abundance of caution and under the direction of local officials, PPAI staff members are now working from home. We prepared for this likelihood in advance and as a result, you should experience no interruption in service.

Additionally, PPAI is having to make some very tough decisions regarding events:

  • Promotional Products Work Week Postponed – We will postpone this week-long event, originally scheduled for May 4-8, to coincide with Advertising Week, October 5-8, where we already invest heavily in industry advocacy activities. The industry and Association will use this as a rallying point to begin rebuilding and the early October dates can be both timely and fortuitous.
  • PPAI’s Legislative Education and Action Day (L.E.A.D.) Cancelled – Our annual visit to Washington, D.C., originally scheduled for May 6-7, in which our members represent and lobby on behalf of our great industry, has been cancelled. However, we intend to encourage all members to reach out to their members of Congress to thank them for their work on behalf of all of us and ask them to keep the needs of small businesses top-of-mind.
  • SPARK Conference Cancelled – While we recognize the importance of young professionals to the well-being and future success of our industry, we have made the difficult decision to cancel this program, originally scheduled for July 15-17. However, PPAI is considering making SPARK a one-day event in conjunction with The PPAI Expo in January 2021. We will continue to find ways to serve this vital community.
  • Other PPAI Events – Currently all other events are being evaluated. Rest assured, when the cancellation of any event is discussed, so too is the opportunity to offer programming in a virtual environment. Please know that all decisions will be made with your best interests in mind.

We have all entered uncharted waters together, and it will take cooperation, support, compassion and sound business decisions for us to get through this. Together it is possible.

As I look ahead, I want you to know we will continue to evaluate and redefine every aspect of our business, as necessary, in order to provide you with the support you need. We will work together with you to ensure that your business and your Association are around for the next 100 years.

From the entire PPAI team, we wish you the best.

Reach out if you need an ear or have an idea to share. And most importantly, keep washing those hands.

Be well,

Paul