It’s no secret that this spring has been an unexpected time of struggle for most small businesses across the United States.
As of May 5, according to the United States Chamber of Commerce, 22% of US small businesses say that they are two months or less from closing permanently. And only 50% of business owners feel their business is in good health, down seven points from last month.
The repercussions of the COVID-19 situation are going to be felt by small businesses for a long time. But if there’s a glimmer of hope in this time of struggle and stress, it’s that there are more support options than ever for small businesses hoping to keep their doors open.
From government programs to private grants and educational resources, we’ve assembled some of the best resources to help American small businesses during this unprecedented time. We believe in American small businesses and hope that we can all come out of the COVID-19 crisis stronger than ever.
In this post, we’ll cover:
- Federal economic relief
- Local economic relief
- Private grants
- Freebies and special offers
- Working from home and digital marketing
- Community support
Federal economic relief
As a business owner, financial relief is probably your first priority right now. The federal government has been conscious of the impact that widespread stay-at-home orders have had on small businesses, so they’re providing some options to help you keep your business afloat.
Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL)
The Small Business Administration is offering two options for economic relief if your business has been impacted by COVID-19: PPP and EIDL.
- Unfortunately, unless you run an agriculture business or more funding is approved, you’re probably out of luck as far as the EIDL—but if you do run an agricultural business, you can learn more about the EIDL here.
- The PPP was granted $310 billion in additional funding on April 24, so even if you missed out the first time, you may still have a chance at this loan. This page provides an overview of the PPP, who qualifies, and forgiveness options.
When you’re caught up in keeping your business afloat, it can be hard to remember that you might also qualify for a stimulus payment as an individual. Don’t forget—it’s quick and easy cash if you can get it!
- The amount of your (and your employees’—we know they’re asking) stimulus check will depend on how much you made last year, but can be up to $1,200 as long as you made less than $75,000. Want to know what your stimulus payment will be? Use this calculator from the Washington Post to find out.
- If you’re ready to get your stimulus payment or want to check on your payment status, use this page on the IRS website.
At this point, you probably know that the filing and payment deadline for your taxes has been delayed from April 15 to July 15 (though there’s talk that it may be delayed even further).
- If you’ve been sitting on getting this done—we know, taxes aren’t the most fun—it’s a good idea to at least work with your accountant to figure out what you’ll owe so you can plan ahead.
- Be sure to stay informed of any updates to the tax timeline on the IRS website.
Special offers from banks
The federal government isn’t the only one shaking up the normal hard-and-fast rules this year—believe it or not, you bank may be relaxing on the rules a bit this year to help you out.
- From suspending overdraft fees to payment deferral options, here is an extensive list of banks that are offering special options during this unprecedented time.
- If you bank with a smaller local bank or they just aren’t on the list, don’t be afraid to call and ask about the options they can offer to help your business in response to COVID-19.
Local economic relief
Many state governments are offering additional stimulus to keep local economies running strong. If you are a freelancer or consultant and you are unable to work due to COVID-19, you may even qualify for unemployment right now, depending on where you live.
- Options and specifics will vary from state to state, so be sure to consult your state governor’s website for the most up-to-date options. Click here to find your governor’s website.
- For more information on loans and grants available locally, this Forbes article is a good starting place.
State and federal government grants and loans aren’t the only option if what you really need right now is an infusion of cash for your business. There are a few private companies offering grants to the small businesses that keep them running.
- For small businesses that have experienced negative impacts due to the COVID-19 situation, GoFundMe is offering a $500 grant. This grant is offered as a match after the business raises $500 from their supporters and community through a COVID-19-specific GoFundMe campaign.
- Facebook is offering small business grants—both cash and ad credits—to businesses with between 2–50 employees that operate in a location where Facebook is also located. Click here to learn more and see if they are offering grants to businesses in your area.
- Amazon is offering grants to the small businesses that rely on foot traffic in their neighborhoods in Seattle to help with employee pay, rent, and other fixed costs related to the small businesses’ operations.
Freebies and special offers
It’s not quite as nice as extra cash coming in, but you might be able to save a little money right now. Many software companies are offering extended free trials or special offers to support your business as you shift to remote work and focus on digital marketing.
- Hootsuite is offering the professional version of their software, along with a library of training videos, free to organizations in affected industries until July 1.
- Mailchimp is giving three free months of service to existing customers in affected industries who need some financial assistance during this time.
- RingCentral is offering free access to RingCentral Office® for educators, healthcare providers, nonprofits, public sector employees, and news media organizations.
- Calm is sharing free guided meditations to help take care of your mental health during this stressful time—why not share them with your employees?
- Learn about even more special deals, discounts, and freebies related to COVID-19 from ClairityWave.
Working from home and digital marketing
According to the US Chamber of Commerce, one in five businesses have switched to having at least some employees teleworking, and 17% have transitioned their retail presence to virtual or digital configurations. If your business is new to working from home and focusing on digital marketing, here are some resources that may be able to help.
- If your newly remote workforce is used to traveling, you can stay informed about the changing travel rules and regulations around the world by consulting the CDC website.
- You don’t want to leave your customers feeling abandoned just because you’re temporarily closed or transitioning to a more digital presence. The US Chamber of Commerce has some ideas for how to keep customers engaged during this time.
- Whether you’re just setting up your digital presence or you want to optimize it now, Mailchimp has specific ideas for using digital marketing to reach your audience right now.
- If your organization is new to remote work, be sure you’re using all the remote work tools you need to stay on the same page and stay productive.
- Working with a newly remote support team? Don’t get overwhelmed—we can help.
- If your business is actually expanding during this time (maybe it’s time to hire a digital marketer?), don’t be afraid to recruit and hire remotely using video conferencing.
Whether you’re looking to support the other small businesses in your community, or you want to give your regular customers an option for helping you stay afloat through the COVID-19 situation, here are some resources for community support.
- Square created a site that makes it easy to search to find local businesses and purchase vouchers or gift cards, either to send as a gift, or save for yourself to use later.
- HelpOthers.io is a digital gift card marketplace that allows customers to prepay for goods and services by buying a gift card to be redeemed when businesses reopen. Want to get support for your small business? Sign up here.
Stay safe and sane—and keep your business afloat—during COVID-19
No matter what kind of small business you run, there’s no doubt that all of us have been impacted in a big way during the COVID-19 crisis. We hope we’ve provided some resources that help you find the relief you need, be it financial or otherwise.
For now, we’re looking forward together and hoping you can all come out of this situation with healthy, sustainable businesses.