If you’re running a small business, the last few weeks have likely been intense and stressful. 

COVID-19 has had a major impact. In March, the majority of the top 10 most shared articles on LinkedIn were about the coronavirus. More than a month since the first stay-at-home orders it’s still the main topic of discussion. It’s a far cry from business as usual when:

  • customers can’t come inside your physical location
  • people are working from home (when possible)
  • schools and daycares are closed

Anxiety is high these days. And, with so much information available, it can be hard to know what’s what. That’s why we did a little digging to find answers to your questions about resources and relief programs for small businesses affected by COVID-19.

Are you feeling the pain?

If you’re feeling the pain of the economic crisis, you’re not alone.

Social distancing, travel restrictions, and business closures have had a devastating impact on hundreds of thousands of small businesses. In fact, a survey conducted by WalletHub found 87% of small business owners are struggling due to the coronavirus.

The crisis also has employees anxious with 59% of workers “afraid of the spread of coronavirus,” and 41% afraid to go to work according to Forrester Research.

The complicated dynamic is taking a toll on businesses of all sizes but that’s not the end of the story.

Why the coronavirus pandemic makes you vulnerable

A survey found the smaller the company, the harder they’ve been hit, with companies with fewer than 20 employees most affected.

As if that wasn’t enough 56.9% of small business owners surveyed say their business revenue has plummeted by more than 75% since early March.

Image credit: CNBC

The changes caused by the crisis coupled with millions of people forced into unemployment don’t bode well for the economy. 

As a matter of fact, a poll found 9 in 10 Americans said they’re concerned about the economy collapsing during the coronavirus outbreak. And most economists have dismissed the idea of a quick and sharp rebound, or V-shaped recovery, arguing that many small businesses will disappear.

What you should know about surviving the crisis

If your business needs assistance, in the wake of COVID-19 related layoffs or loss of business, here are answers to some of the questions on the minds of our customers. 

Q: When is Tax Day 2020?

A: Although the typical deadline for annual tax returns and your first quarterly estimated tax payment for the current year is usually April 15, this year the IRS has extended the federal income tax filing deadline from April 15 to July 15. Because of the federal income tax filing and payment deadline extension, S corps and partnerships can file for an extension up until March 16, while C corps can file for an extension until July 15.

Q: How do I apply for the SBA’s Covid-19 EIDL (Economic Injury Disaster Loan) program?

A: The Economic Injury Disaster Loan Emergency Advance will provide up to $10,000 of economic relief to businesses experiencing temporary difficulties. This loan advance will not have to be repaid. Small business owners in all U.S. states, Washington D.C., and territories are eligible to apply. However, as of April 16th there is a lapse in appropriations so new applications aren’t currently available. Check back often for updates. You can also contact the Small Business Administration disaster assistance customer service center at 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or e-mail disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

Q: What are SBA Express Bridge Loans?

A: If your small business needs cash urgently  while waiting for a decision and disbursement on an Economic Injury Disaster Loan, you may qualify for an SBA Express Disaster Bridge Loan. You’ll need to have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender. You can access up to $25,000 relatively quickly and repay the loan in full or in part with proceeds from the EIDL loan. 

Q: How do I apply for the SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan?

A: This SBA loan was established to help business owners keep their workforce employed during the COVID-19 crisis. The SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities. You can apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, Farm Credit System institution, or regulated lender that is participating. The rules and availability have been in flux since the PPP loan was announced. For example, the SBA just resumed accepting Paycheck Protection Program applications from participating lenders on Monday, April 27, 2020 at 10:30am.

Q: What if I need more help responding quickly and recovering from this disruption?

A: Check out the Small Business Resiliency Webinar & Materials: Keeping the Lights On. You’ll get a 25-page ‘Business Resiliency Guide’, a ‘Business Resiliency Plan’ template you can customize, and more. 

Q: Are there any non-government resources I can take advantage of?

A: Yes. 

  • Hello Alice — a startup incubator that supports underrepresented entrepreneurs — is offering businesses affected by the pandemic $10,000 in grants.
  • SheaMoisture has a $1m fund for women of color entrepreneurs. 
  • Verizon has a $2.5m grant program.
  • Inc., Forbes, and Entrepreneur have all published comprehensive lists of additional funding sources. 
  • NASE offers monthly $4,000 grants to small business owners. You must be a NASE member to apply.
  • Facebook is offering businesses in 30 countries cash grants and ad credits for up to $30,000. 
  • Salesforce launched Care Small Business Grants and will soon offer $10,000 grants to U.S. small businesses to provide capital to help them weather the impact of COVID-19.
  • The Spanx by Sara Blakely Foundation donated $5 million to support female entrepreneurs impacted by COVID-19 and partnered with GlobalGiving to establish the Red Backpack Fund. They plan to make 1,000 grants of $5,000 each to female entrepreneurs in the U.S.
  • Kiva is offering 0% interest loans.
  • Honeycomb has established Crowdfunded Small Business Relief Loans. 

Q: What’s the best way to negotiate trials and lower rates with vendors?

A: The first thing to remember is that everything is negotiable. That includes bank fees, credit card companies, cell phone bills. Even if your vendor isn’t flexible on price, you can negotiate more favorable contract terms. This article has lots of great tips on negotiation including word-for-word scripts you can use to get the best results.

How we can help your business during COVID-19

Many people aren’t used to working from home, having to stay home all day every day, staying six feet away from each other, obsessively washing hands, and wearing face masks out in public.

It may not be business as usual, but we can help you adapt to the changing environment.

One way we can help you is by empowering you to automate routine tasks to get more efficient with your time. Right now, getting clarity into your financial situation and implementing cost-saving measures could mean the difference between business continuity or closure.

Neat makes it easy for you to track, manage and centralize your financial data

Plus, between now and May 15th, Neat will donate 10% of all Complete Annual plan sales directly to America’s Food Fund. The fund supports food security organizations who coordinate, mobilize, and distribute meals to those impacted by COVID-19.

Did you know you can try Neat free for 15 days?  Explore all Neat has to offer. Cancel anytime.