Times are uncertain and difficult for most small businesses. But times are even more difficult for black owned small businesses. Not only are they struggling to stay alive, they are also being shut out of resources like the Payroll Protection Program.
As discouraging as this news might be, it is not a death sentence by any means. There are still plenty of small businesses that managed to secure the PPP loan and keep their doors open to whatever business is still to be had.
In that fighting spirit, here are 3 things you should do to keep your small business alive in the age of Covid.
1. Still apply for the PPP Loan
If you haven’t done so, apply for the PPP loan NOW! So many banks have stopped accepting the applications but other are still processing these loans.
The Payroll Protection Program is designed to help small businesses keep their employees on payroll. The fund (at least 75% of it) should be used for payroll. If your small business doesn’t have employees because you are a sole proprietor, you still qualify for this loan.
During the application process, you will be asked to submit documentation of your payroll for the last 12 months. The PPP is meant to cover 2.5 months of payroll and other qualifying business expenses like mortgage or rent.
If you show that you have used the PPP loan for the right purpose (to cover salaries), then the loan will be forgiven. If not, it has a 1% interest rate.
The best place to start the application process is your bank. If your bank is not processing these loans, look for other banks that are. Applying with different banks or lenders is a good idea as some are taking longer than others. However, you can only get approved for the loan once.
Find more about the PPP loan here.
2. Unemployment for the Self-Employed
For the first time ever, self-employed workers are getting unemployment benefits. That’s the good news. The bad news is that so many states are struggling to get these benefits out on time. What’s even worst is that state run unemployment websites are crashing before everybody can apply.
Again, don’t get discouraged from applying, even if it takes you all day everyday to get through.
The amount you receive from unemployment will be different from state to state. Under the CARES act, however, anybody that’s getting unemployment will receive an extra $600 a week from the federal government. That program is set to run out in July unless extended by congress.
3. Apply for Various Grants and Low Interest Loans
The PPP loan is not the only lifeline out there to rescue small businesses. Large companies and other organizations are offering different grants and low interest loans for small businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Here is a resource to just few of them:
Aside from these resources, most major cities have their own funds available to help you out. Make sure to check with your city.
Beyond Grants & Loans
The biggest advocate and ally your business has is you. Ultimately, you are the only one you can rely on in these times. Grant or not, loan or not, you must find ways to keep your business alive.
This will require flexibility, open-mindedness, and innovation.
Think about adding a new service or product to your business. Change up the way you service your clients. Take your business online since we’re all living online more than ever now. Connect with others businesses to see how they’re coping.
If you get some money to keep you afloat, don’t sleep! Take this time to improve your skills, your services, your overall business to not only survive but also come out better and stronger on the other side.
Above all, stay safe while doing it!