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In Crain’s Cleveland Business, Bruce Hennes of Hennes Communications shares why businesses must be prepared to defend their PPP loans without looking defensive.

Even if your business applied for the PPP in good faith, you must be prepared to defend the loan if questioned by the media or other stakeholders — without looking defensive.

As our good friend, Richard Levick, has said repeatedly, “Use peacetime wisely.” Levick recently suggested making sure you’re ready to answer such questions as:

• Did you easily fall within the PPP guidelines or did you have to manipulate the rules to fit?

• Exactly how was the money used?

• Did you have access to other funds?

• Specifically for schools, what has been your historic commitment to scholarships, diversity and economically disadvantaged students? What would the absence of PPP money mean for the future of these programs?

• How do you currently support your community and the small businesses within it?

Levick further suggested that companies and organizations that come across more sympathetically in this equation will more easily deflect criticism than those who appear to have profited from this stimulus plan.

Now is the time to think about those optics, about how your employees, customers, clients, friends and neighbors — and the local media — are going to think when they find out how much you received.

We’re not talking about spin. We’re talking about the creation of clear, succinct, direct messages and talking points that answer the questions most likely to be asked and the probability that once these questions are asked, you’ll probably have just minutes to provide an answer to reporters who are on deadline or social media speculation that will increase by the moment…Read more

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