COVID-19 Resources for Small Businesses
April 15th, 2020
The coronavirus known as COVID-19 is creating new challenges for businesses in the trades. Depending on your state and industry, these challenges vary significantly. Either business is down because customers keep cancelling out of fear, or you're doing fine but now you're worried about the safety of your employees and customers.
To assist with your challenges, we've compiled financial resources, safety tips, and educational material to help your business during the pandemic.
Financial Assistance for Small Businesses Affected by COVID-19
Businesses are struggling. Now is the time to preserve yours through the COVID-19 pandemic.
In response, the U.S. government, through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), is presenting several options to assist small businesses like yours through the crisis.
1. Paycheck Protection Program: Loans used to pay employees during the crisis. What makes these unique is that the loan is forgiven if used to cover payroll (and certain other expenses). If your business employs less than 500 employees, you can apply for the loan through a SBA verified institution. Visit www.sba.gov for a list of lenders. Applications are due June 30, 2020, but try to apply as soon as possible due to the cap on funds dedicated to this program.
2. Economic Injury Disaster Loan Emergency Advance (EIDL): Essentially a grant, businesses suffering a temporary loss of revenue can receive up to $10,000. These loans do not have to be repaid. Your business must be considered a small business (less than 500 employees) and be in a declared disaster area.
3. Express Bridge Loan Program: If your small business is currently in a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender, you may be eligible for up to $25,000 through this expedited program. The Express Bridge Loan provides you with more immediate help while you apply for a direct SBA Economic Injury Disaster loan (see #2 above). The loan is available to small businesses located in any state, territory and the District of Columbia that have been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 emergency.
Outside of the SBA, many states are offering local programs. For example, Scranton, PA's Chamber offers loans through its MetroAction program, while NEPA Alliance offers business loan assistance and the local University of Scranton offers cash flow planning and more through its Small Business Development Center. Reach out to your local chamber of commerce or business association to learn more about the options available to you.
Safety Tips for Essential Businesses During COVID-19
- Offer Virtual Assistance: A real-time, virtual diagnostic can save time and even prevent in-home visits. Consider meeting with your customers digitally through a video call on their smartphone or another device. You might be able to walk a customer through a small-time repair that would have put your employees at risk. In cases where an in-home visit is warranted, you already know what you're looking at and can save time. Less time in someone else's home = less exposure risk.
- Wear Protective Gloves & Masks: This is common sense and mandatory in some areas of the country, but one of the best ways to protect everyone is to ensure your employees wear masks and gloves. Make sure to emphasize the correct way to wear each. That means no fidgeting with the mask once it's on (as well as making sure it covers the nose and mouth properly) and not touching one's face with the gloves.
- Discuss Safety Options with Customers: Talk with customers about using a less popular entrance to their home and paying by credit card. If everyone's on the same page in the beginning, it'll be an easier to mitigate risk.
Educational Resources o COVID-19 for Small Businesses
- COVID-19 Comprehensive Material: Assistance comes in all forms, like this all-inclusive resource for navigating COVID-19 from America's Small Business Development Network. Their material includes disaster guides, checklists for what to do next, ongoing webinars, financial guidance, information on insurance claims, and more to help your business during this time.
- An Inspirational Read on Small Businesses that Survived the Recession: You may also find inspiration reading about small businesses that survived the Great Recession. While today's challenges differ significantly in comparison to the economic declines of recent memory, there are similarities. If your business was around during the recession, then you remember how many owners were making tough decisions about what to cut and where to invest their time and resources moving forward. Some owners pivoted into new industries, others identified strategic partnerships, and others cut costs to meet the new financial capabilities of their customers. Check out this article on how small businesses survived the great recession for stats and stories that may give you ideas for your own.
The more you search, the more help you will find. We hope these resources are of assistance to you.
If there's anything OneBuilder can do to help you at this time, let us know.