Small business owners may have more options than they think when it comes to the effects of coronavirus.
The virus is impacting entire industries, from air travel to energy, so it seems like an insurmountable challenge for small businesses.
Still, if small business owners can arm themselves with expertise, their businesses have a better chance of surviving the pandemic.
The stimulus bill includes funds for small businesses
The $2.2 trillion federal coronavirus relief package includes $350 million in aid for small businesses. Businesses that continue paying their employees can defer payroll taxes until 2021. Companies with fewer than 500 employees are also eligible for loans up to $10 million, enough to continue paying employees for up to eight weeks, which will be forgiven in some circumstances. Businesses could also be eligible for assistance paying for mortgage interest, rend and utilities. According to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, almost all FDIC-insured banks will be able to make the loans by early April.
Prioritize critical operations
CO, the digital platform from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, released advice for small businesses facing the coronavirus pandemic. Along with establishing methods for communicating with remote workers and preparing for eventualities like school closures, the lobbying group suggests business owners “be prepared to change your business practices if needed to maintain critical operations (e.g., identify alternative suppliers, prioritize customers, or temporarily suspend some of your operations).”
Apply for assistance from the Small Business Association
On March 12, the SBA announced loans to help small businesses weather the storm. Low interest loans are available in any area where governors have requested them under the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, with total loans up to $2 million.
Ensure you have access to capital, workforce capacity, and inventory
The Small Business Association also released a list of common shortfalls small businesses may face during the pandemic. Capital reserves ensure a business can survive changes in market conditions or costly incidents, extra inventory will keep business flowing, and workforce reserves will ensure the business can continue running if workers are disabled by the virus.
Seek out loans from government agencies
Communicate with customers
This is a hectic time for people on both sides of your business, so be sure to communicate openly with customers to avoid any confusion. Post safety measures you have taken behind the scenes to prevent the spread of the virus from your business to customers. Your proactive stance may encourage customers to continue patronizing your business while others seem increasingly risky.