5 Resources to Help Your Small Business Survive the Coronavirus

The coronavirus is causing financial difficulties for businesses across the U.S. Here are five resources that can help you navigate this difficult situation

From disaster assistance loans to fee forgiveness from banks and credit card companies, there are many resources offering relief to struggling small businesses during COVID-19

COVID-19 has brought the world’s economy to a grinding halt. The economic impact and recovery will last for months, and potentially even years. As congress and other government authorities move to save different areas of the economy, it’s important to understand what resources you have available to you as a small business owner.

Everyone’s first priority during this pandemic should be to stay safe and healthy — but maintaining your business’s health can be equally important. Take advantage of the following resources so you can stay informed and lessen the impact of the crisis.

  1. The coronavirus response toolkit

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce put together this toolkit to help businesses and citizens alike understand how to navigate the coronavirus. There are guidelines on how small business owners can ensure they are keeping their customers and employees safe.

The toolkit also includes a business preparedness checklist. This checklist can help you figure out what to prioritize and to create a plan of communication for your employees.

The Chamber has also created a customizable flyer that small businesses can use to communicate their coronavirus efforts to their customers. You can find the flyer here.

You can also connect with your local Chamber of Commerce to see what local programs are being implemented and connect with other business owners in your area. You can find your local Chamber of Commerce here.

  • Disaster assistance loans from the SBA

The SBA has created a comprehensive Coronavirus page with all of its resources in one place. You can find that page here.

The SBA announced it would offer disaster assistance loans for up to $2 million for small businesses affected by the coronavirus. These low-interest loans are available to businesses that have sustained “substantial economic injury” due to the spread of the coronavirus. The SBA has also created a three step process for applying for Disaster loans. You can see that here.

These loans can be used to pay off outstanding debts, payroll and any other bills they are unable to pay. However, small businesses that have access to credit are not eligible. Small businesses with no available credit qualify for an interest rate of 3.75%, and nonprofits will have an interest rate of 2.75%.

The SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance will coordinate with state governors that submit relief requests. Once a state or territory is approved, these affected businesses will receive more information. You can find a regularly updated list of states where disaster assistance is being offered here .Even if your state is not yet offering disaster assistance you can begin to prepare to apply by looking over the information required. You can get that information here.

In addition to disaster relief loans, the SBA has a comprehensive list of resources available to small businesses during the crisis. This includes COVID-19 fact sheets; strategies for employees to adhere to; common problems small businesses may face, like supply chain shortfalls; and local assistance informat ion.

In addition to national loan programs, the SBA has extensive satellite offices and organizations to help small businesses during this time. This includes SCORE offices, Women’s Business Centers, Small Business Development Centers and Veterans Business Outreach Centers.

Additionally, the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) has announced relief measures for U.S. exporters and financial institutions that include waivers, deadline extensions, streamlined processing and flexibility for its customers for an initial period of 30 days, with the possibility of more, for the following programs:

  • Working Capital Guarantee Program.
  • Multi-Buyer and Single-Buyer Short-Term Insurance Program.
  • Medium-Term Single-Buyer Insurance Policies Issued to Exporters.

SCORE

SCORE is offering advice and assistance from its business mentors including help navigating financial challenges and assistance in applying for SBA disaster assistance loans. SCORE has centralized all of its assistance options here.

  •  SBDC

Small Business Development Centers are local offices sponsored by the SBA to help small businesses. While the SBA has provided its own resources, SBDCs are also offering extensive help to small businesses throughout America.

This includes OSHA resources and information, like preparing workplaces for COVID-19, preventing worker exposure to COVID-19 and additional OSHA resources. You can also find links to the National Cyber Security Alliance for information on how to stay safe online during the pandemic and avoid typical scams associated with the disaster.

Banks and credit card companies

Capital One, Citi and Wells Fargo have all issued statements indicating that they are willing to work with customers that experience financial difficulties. Citi issued a statement that for 30 days, small business customers are eligible to have their monthly service fees waived.

Citi is also waiving the fees on early CD withdrawals. Wells Fargo donated $6.25 million in aid to help the public relief effort. The bank also encouraged customers that are experiencing financial hardship to contact customer service for assistance.

Federal small business assistance

Multiple federal stimulus packages have been passed or are underway. They include the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and the CARES Act. The core components involve access to SBA disaster loans and SBA “payroll protection” loans that will be forgiven if used by businesses to cover qualified expenses including employee payroll.

For full details on the Federal Stimulus packages see our story: Everything You Need to Know About Coronavirus Federal Small Business Stimulus Aid Programs.Tax Relief

To offer tax relief during the coronavirus outbreak, the individual and corporate taxpayer will have an additional 90 days to pay their taxes. As a result, taxpayers will have until July 15, 2020 to pay the taxes owed. Note you will still need to file a tax return or an extension by April 15.

This applies only to Federal income tax payments (including payments of tax on self-employment income) due on April 15, 2020, for the 2019 taxable year, and Federal estimated income tax payments (including payments of tax on self-employment income) due on April 15, 2020, for an Affected Taxpayer’s 2020 taxable year.

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