It’s well documented that many businesses have very little in cash reserves. One small setback can throw them into a cash crunch, and now many are dealing with a serious crisis. Many businesses are either worried about a cash flow crisis or actually experiencing one.
A recent survey of small businesses by America’s Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) and Thryv Inc., found that 82 percent of small businesses are “extremely concerned” about the current business environment in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Although many of us are keeping our distance to stay healthy, you shouldn’t feel like you are completely alone. Here are resources that can help you with financing, small business consulting, and other assistance. These change quickly so be sure to keep up with the latest news in the Business.com Guide to COVID resources.
If you’re already feeling the strain of slowed sales, finances are probably at the top of your list. Here are a few places to look for help.
The Small Business Administration is working to provide as many financial resources as possible to businesses impacted by the coronavirus. Every state now qualifies for its Economic Disaster Injury loan program, which provides low-interest loans up to $2 million to businesses impacted by COVID-19.
And the recently-approved “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act” or “CARES Act,” stimulus package includes Paycheck Protection Loans to many qualifying small businesses with 500 or fewer employees. These loans will provide up to 2.5 times the average monthly payroll for the previous twelve months (up to $10 million total) and may be eligible for forgiveness if the employer keeps workers on the payroll.
Even if you don’t end up applying for an SBA loan or other financing through the stimulus package, you may qualify for a payroll tax credit, as long as you keep workers employed through the crisis.
Your State and City Governments
Some state and local governments, too, are offering low-interest loans and other stimulus packages, so see what you qualify for.
Many are extending tax filing and payment deadlines (following the IRS’ decision to do so).
Each state is different in terms of where you can find information on COVID-19-related financial resources, but start with your Small Business Development Center, Secretary of State’s website, as well as its Department of Revenue.
Other Financial Resources
Facebook is offering $100 million in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses impacted by COVID-19. There is a Small Business Relief Fund, sponsored by Yelp, Quickbooks, and GoFundMe, that can get you funds you don’t have to pay back. Kiva has expanded its 0% small business loan to $15,000, along with expanded eligibility.
Business Education Resources
Need guidance on what to do next? These organizations offer free webinars, articles, and mentoring, all from a safe distance.
SCORE mentors can provide free counseling remotely. SCORE is also offering webinars and online workshops to keep business owners connected and up to speed on important issues for their business. Find a mentor and other valuable resources by visiting the SCORE Coronavirus Small Business Resource Hub.
If you haven’t taken advantage of the services of a Small Business Development Center in your area, now is the time to do so. They offer free services to help small business owners, including assistance directly related to the COVID disaster. While branches are closed, many offer online resources that are helpful right now, like coronavirus checklists, webinars, and counseling. They can also help with preparing Disaster Loan applications and refer you to other state assistance programs.
Cutting back on expenses? Many companies are offering free software right now to help businesses like yours.
BusinessWarrior is offering a free one-year plan for its software that helps monitor performance and increase profits. Atlassian is offering its full suite of software for free, which includes Trello (project management), Jira (project tracking and customer service), and Confluence (document collaboration). Hootsuite is offering its social media management platform free for one year.
Others are offering extended free trials, like Box (cloud storage), which is now available for a 90-day free trial. Shopify has extended its ecommerce service’s trial to 90 days as well. Paste, which helps you create presentation decks, is also free for three months. You can get 15Five free for 90 days, to help you with performance management.
And if you’ve got time on your hands, why not learn something that will keep you competitive? LinkedIn has a suite of video courses on remote working, and MOZ Academy is offering its SEO courses at no charge through May.
I want to say it again: you are not alone right now. Despite none of us having a crystal ball to predict how long this crisis will last, we do have resources like these that can alleviate at least a little of the strain.
About the Author:
Gerri’s been guiding individuals through the confusing world of finance and credit for 20+ years. She is the author or coauthor of five books, including her most recent, Finance Your Own Business: Get on the Financing Fast Track. Today, Gerri serves as the Education Director for Nav, an online platform that matches small business owners to their best financing options and gives free access to personal and business credit scores.