Questions about the Mandate

The U.S. Chamber has sent OSHA a list of questions that businesses need to have answered. Goldman Sachs, meanwhile, thinks the mandate will bring millions back into the labor market.

Good morning!

Here are today’s highlights:

  • Private payroll jumped in September.

  • Gene Marks says there are important new CRM options for businesses.

  • Ami Kassar opposes direct lending by the SBA.

  • A tech startup is disrupting the school bus industry.

FINANCE

Republicans oppose direct lending by the SBA: “In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, 15 GOP senators – led by Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina – sounded the alarm over the authorization of nearly $4.5 billion over the next decade for the SBA to issue directly the popular 7(a) loans and $2.8 billion for 504 loans in the Democrats' $3.5 trillion tax and spending bill. “

  • “Under the measure, small business owners would be able to go straight to the SBA to access the capital, rather than to private lenders and banks.”

  • “‘We believe this would be an inefficient, costly and inequitable position to put both lenders and borrowers,’ the Republicans wrote in the letter ...”

  • “The GOP lawmakers cited the vast discrepancy between the issuance of Paycheck Protection Program loans, which were administered by banks and other private institutions, and Economic Injury Disaster Loans, which were handled by the SBA.” READ MORE

Ami Kassar opposes direct lending, too: “This initiative, in my opinion, is a terrible idea. Traditionally, the only time that the SBA lends money directly is when there is a disaster, and they use the EIDL program. This program is designed to work in small targeted areas. However, the program has been nothing short of a disaster when large-scale disasters have happened, such as Covid 19. The SBA works best when it serves as a guarantee program, and banks and some non-bank authorized lenders leverage it.” READ MORE

SMALL BUSINESS TECHNOLOGY

Gene Marks says businesses have new CRM options: “One client of mine has a very customized workflow process for selling real estate. Another wants to track equipment that it sells along with notifications and emails to customers depending on what they own. I have a client that leases airplanes and wants to store maintenance information, as well as information about the pilots and passengers with alerts for when repairs are needed. Still another has a very unique way of tracking sales and follow-ups from their website and Amazon store.”

  • “These are not big businesses. But they have bigger, more complex requirements than the typical out of the box CRM application. They required advanced workflows, data transfers, automation and communications.”

  • “A few years ago, building these solutions required programmers, programming languages, programming tools and programming dollars. They needed complex specifications and complicated project plans.”

  • “But this is all changing and it’s changing quickly. There is now a rapidly growing industry of ‘low code’ CRM applications that are taking away much of this complexity — and reducing costs for companies both big and small.” READ MORE

STARTUPS

Zūm is a tech company that is disrupting the school bus industry: “Founded in 2016, Zūm’s software helps school districts plan bus routes and lets parents track where their kids are as they travel to school. The company can also provide schools with buses and smaller vans—rented from manufacturers—that it staffs with vetted drivers. Zūm CEO Ritu Narayan says her company’s technology can help school districts lower the overall cost of transportation because they can more easily determine if routes with fewer students are better suited for smaller vans rather than diesel-guzzling, multi-ton school buses. And if a student is sick, parents can alert Zūm, allowing the driver to take a shorter route and bypass the stop entirely.”

  • “‘There’s a lot of the one-size-fits-all model in school buses where it doesn’t matter if it’s one kid going or five kids going,’ says Narayan. ‘We have disrupted this business model by using a mixed-size fleet.”

  • “While the Redwood City, Calif.–based company suffered amid pandemic-induced school closures, revenue has bounced back as schools have reopened, says Narayan.”

  • “In July, the San Francisco Unified School District awarded Zūm a $150 million, five-year contract to manage its student transportation after the Oakland Unified School District had signed a $53 million, five-year contract that started in 2020.” READ MORE

FOOD & BEVERAGE

Restaurants are spending big on outdoor dining for winter: “A year ago, restaurants threw together improvised tents, finicky propane heaters and utilitarian patio furniture. Diners showed up, but even some who were eager for a safe way to dine felt like they were overpaying for a subpar experience. With more time to make arrangements, owners are making expensive bets on what diners want when temps go down. Some of them are using the money to speed up service, add decor and invest in higher-quality permanent setups. Others are tweaking menus to offer warm well-executed dishes and hot-themed drinks. The elaborate plans are a risk given all of the issues in the food-service industry, from supply shortages to the ability to find workers.”

  • “Guests are looking for outdoor setups that continue the theme of the restaurant, says Andrea Pedrazzoli, co-owner of A Pasta Bar in New York.”

  • “The Italian restaurant hopes to evoke feelings of summertime in Capri. Once at the dinner table, guests hear a house music playlist. Interior walls are painted by a local artist.

  • “‘Our overall experience has now evolved,’ he says. ‘It transports guests to Europe.’” READ MORE

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THE COVID ECONOMY

Private payrolls jumped in September as the Delta wave weakened: “Private payrolls rose by 568,000 last month, ADP said in its monthly employment report. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expected 428,000. The gain is the largest since June and reflects stronger job growth than August's revised gain of 374,000 jobs. The report suggests the economic recovery rebounded in September. Several factors likely guided the trend. The Delta wave reached its peak halfway through the month, and cases have steadily declined in recent weeks.”

  • “The downtrend signals the country can reverse mask-wearing mandates and other restrictions that emerged through the summer.”

  • “It could also revitalize spending at in-person services and juice sectors most closely tied to reopening.” READ MORE

POLICY

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has a lot of questions for OSHA: “President Biden recently directed the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to issue an Emergency Temporary Standard requiring employers with more than 100 workers to ensure their employees are vaccinated against Covid-19.  If employees cannot or will not get vaccinated, the ETS will require employers to provide weekly testing for any employee that enters the employer’s facilities. The anticipated ETS has generated a large number of questions from businesses around the country.” For example:

  • “Will it be 100 employees for the entire business or 100 employees per individual location?

  • Will independent contractors count toward the 100-employee threshold?

  • “Will the ETS apply to workers who are full-time work from home / never come into an office or workplace?”

  • “How will businesses ‘ensure’ that employees are vaccinated?” READ MORE

Goldman Sachs projects that the mandates could bring millions back into the workforce: “Concerns regarding health risk have been a significant contributor to the lackluster recovery in labor force participation this far, and increased vaccination will likely encourage labor force entry. As shown in Exhibit 4, over three million respondents to the Census Household Pulse Survey currently indicate that concerns about getting or spreading COVID-19 are their main reason for not working, and the decline in these concerns this past spring tracked closely with cumulative vaccinations.”

  • “We therefore anticipate that an increase in vaccination and almost full vaccination at workplaces should encourage many of the five million workers that have left the labor force since the start of the pandemic to return.” READ MORE

Los Angeles is enacting a strict proof-of-vaccination policy: “Los Angeles will require most people to provide proof of full coronavirus vaccination to enter a range of indoor businesses, including restaurants, gyms, museums, movie theaters and salons, in one of the nation’s strictest vaccine rules. The new law, which was approved by the Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday, will allow people with medical conditions that do not allow them to be vaccinated, or who have a sincerely held religious objection, to instead show proof of a negative coronavirus test taken within the preceding 72 hours.”

  • “It will take effect on Nov. 4, which city officials have said should give the city and businesses enough time to figure out how the rule should be enforced.” READ MORE

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THE 21 HATS PODCAST

‘Pardon Me. I’m So Sorry. This Is My First Pandemic:’ This week, in episode 79, we go one-on-one with William Vanderbloemen. We start off talking about how he saw The Great Resignation coming and what he thinks are the keys to coping with it. Then we step back, and—with the help of many questions suggested by listeners—we discuss his conversion from pastor to CEO, what happened to his company culture when everyone went remote, and why he still reads every single email he gets—even when he’s off on a seven-week sabbatical. Plus: how he hit upon his unconventional social media strategy and his suggestions if you’re looking for a VP of marketing. (Suggestion No. 1: Try not to lose the one you have.)

If you see a story that business owners should know about, hit reply and send me the link. If you got something out of this email, you can click the heart symbol, you can click the comment icon below, and you can share it with a friend. Thanks for reading, everyone. — Loren