Being a small business owner during COVID-19 has proven to be a nightmare for many.
The pandemic impacted roughly 32% of small businesses in America. And a whopping 75% were either largely or moderately negatively affected by COVID-19.
If you’re like most, then you’re struggling to make ends meet to keep your doors open.
So we’re going to discuss methods you can use to get funding or financial assistance for your company.
Let’s get to it.
Apply for Corporate & Government Grants
Chances are, you’re already swimming in debt. So the idea of taking out additional loans may not be your top choice.
Thankfully, other options include corporate and government grants, which you don’t have to pay back. Grant sizes vary based on the program you apply to.
- Facebook grant: This program offers $100 million in cash grants (and ad credits) for up to 30,000 small businesses. It’s available in more than 30 countries.
- Grants.gov: An agency that helps you search for federal grants you may qualify for.
- STEP (State Trade Expansion Program): This is a grant funding program offered at the state level to small businesses. You’ll have to check with your state for STEP awardees to apply and access funding.
Lowe’s and Amazon both issued one or more rounds of funding to small businesses affected by COVID-19. So keep your eyes out for other corporations that may be offering similar programs.
Check Out Lower-Cost Loan Options
There are many small and large loan options available to small business owners at little to no interest.
Here are several options:
- Kiva: A non-profit offering 0% interest loans up to $15,000 to small business owners. And you have up to 36 months to repay the loan. They already helped over 2.5 million business owners access capital.
- SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan: Larger loans are available through this program (up to $2 million). Funds are available to small businesses and non-profits, with interest rates around 3.75%. Plus, you get up to 30 years to repay the loan.
Check if You Qualify for Local/State Resources
Some states are helping its local small business owners by pulling together resources to fund their existence.
For instance, you’ll find the following programs across the U.S.:
- New York Forward Loan: This is an economic recovery loan available to small businesses in New York (including landlords and non-profits). The good news is it’s not first-come, first-serve, so those who best qualify will get approved.
- Rochester utility assistance: In Minnesota, small businesses can apply for funding to cover unpaid electric and water bills. Rochester Public Utilities is offering funding, alongside $250,000 from CARES Act funding.
- Pennsylvania small business assistance: The state issued two rounds of grants to disadvantaged small businesses. Now, it’s offering another $96 million to small businesses impacted by the pandemic.
What’s Next: More Relief Bills May Pass in the Near Future
As CV-19 relief bills come to an end, new bills are being introduced to continue offering small business assistance. This includes the letter written to Congress by the Save Small Businesses Coalition and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
This letter asks Congress to enter into a Phase 4 bill that will offer things like:
- Payment protection extension and enhancement
- Workforce development
- Business liability protection
- State and local aid
If passed, small businesses could apply for loan forgiveness for loans under $150,000 and additional rounds of lending to small companies with at least a 35% reduction in revenue.
Prepare for the Next Crisis
Thinking the economic downturn caused by COVID-19 is a one-time-thing is wishful thinking. As a savvy business owner, you need to ensure you take all precautions to prevent the hassles you went through this time around.
So it’s critical to have a contingency plan for the next crisis. Take what you’ve learned and apply that to your future plans.
For example, setting aside emergency funds is ideal to cover loan costs and employee payrolls during crises. So focus on keeping your debts down and cut back on non-essential spending to save money quicker.
Brainstorm with your workers to see if working remotely some or all of the time can help reduce expenses on both ends. In the event you have to cut back your workforce, you can always resort to hiring freelancers.
Hopefully, by using these resources and tips, you can get the funding you need to bounce back and continue moving forward.
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