Small Business Checklist During Coronavirus Pandemic
There is a lot of information circulating about how to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus on your business right now. This can make it tough to navigate what business owners need to do to make sure that when the pandemic is over, we still have a business. We will continue to add to this checklist as things progress and will have additional insights that are not part of the SBA or other government agencies. If you want some additional ideas, we also created an article on marketing during a sales downturn.
US Government Signs CARES Act
There is some confusion as to what loans and grants are available from the government. So, let’s start with this and define what you need to do and where to do it. First, the CARES Act was signed to help businesses across the country keep their businesses from folding. A portion of the bill went to “Assistance for Small Businesses” and has a library of information from the US Treasury that you can read up on if you’re interested.
The most important piece of this legislation was the introduction of the PPP. This is what people are calling “Free Money” because if used properly towards payroll and other qualifying expenses like rent and utilities, the loan is forgiven!
The EIDL program has always been there, but until now most businesses weren’t eligible for it. Here’s the low-down on both programs.
Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
The Paycheck Protection Program prioritizes millions of Americans employed by small businesses by authorizing up to $349 billion toward job retention and certain other expenses.
Small businesses and eligible nonprofit organizations, Veterans organizations, and Tribal businesses described in the Small Business Act, as well as individuals who are self-employed or are independent contractors, are eligible if they also meet program size standards. You may be eligible for a lot of money! Most cmopanies will look at their total payroll from 2019 and divide by 12. Then, multiply that number by 2.5 and that’s how much you’re eligible for.
The US Chamber of Commerce has a great handout to determine your eligibility for the forgiveable loan (which again, is basically FREE MONEY for qualifying expenses) and how the process works. If you determine you’re eligible, then fill out the application and send it to your bank. Unfortunately, some of the banks are dragging their feet right now and have stated they won’t accept paper documents (including Wells Fargo and CitiBank). Others require that you have a checking account and a previous loan or credit card on file (US Bank).
Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL)
SBA is collecting the requested information in order to make a loan under SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program to the qualified entities listed in this application that are impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The information will be used in determining whether the applicant is eligible for an economic injury loan.
Additionally, in response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, small business owners in all U.S. states, Washington D.C., and territories are eligible to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance of up to $10,000. This advance will provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. Funds will be made available following a successful application. This loan advance will not have to be repaid.
COVID-19 Economic Impact Payments
You likely heard about these and even though it is not specific to business owners, you should keep it in mind as you may be eligible for up to $1200. Although there is no action needed because it is all done automatically. You may want to check your eligibility to determine if you will get a check and how much it will be for.
Export-Import Bank of the United States
If you sell a product that is made oversees, or vice versa, the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) is announcing relief provisions for exporters and financial institutions located throughout the United States that may have been affected by COVID-19 (coronavirus). EXIM recognizes that the business interests of exporters, particularly small businesses, and financial institutions understandably will be secondary to personal health and safety over the coming weeks.
Accordingly, EXIM wants to assure our customers that we will work with you to address the problems you may face as a result of COVID-19. EXIM is offering the relief measures outlined below, including waivers, deadline extensions, streamlined processing, and flexibility, to our customers for an initial period of 30 days (with the possibility of a further extension of the period, at EXIM’s discretion) to enable businesses and financial institutions that participate in our programs to return to their business concerns and EXIM-related obligations at an appropriate time without penalty. Here are your options:
- Working Capital Guarantee Program
- Multi-Buyer and Single-Buyer Short-Term Insurance Program
- Medium-Term Single-Buyer Insurance Policies Issued to Exporters
Tax Deadlines Postponed to July 15
Individuals can delay payments of up to $1 million in taxes and corporations can defer payments of up to $10 million until July 15 without interest and penalties, according to IRS guidelines. The California Franchise Tax Board has the details for you.
As Brian Szuberla, of Hughes Szuberla CPAs, puts it: “If you have a refund coming, don’t wait to file your taxes! If you will have a payment due it’s fine to wait. If you don’t know yet, talk to your CPA and find out – you don’t actually have to file just because your taxes are done!”
Ad credits for Google Ads Small and Medium-sized Businesses
Google for Small Business has a page dedicated to how to update your marketing strategy and properly use Google Ads during this time. They have already committed to $800M+ in COVID-19 response efforts. The big announcement is that $340M of that will go to companies that have been using Google Ads since the start of 2019 that will now be receiving ad credits. They have been a bit secretive about exactly how much credit will be earned by businesses. But they made it clear that there is no application process as the credits will automatically be applied to the eligible accounts in the next 3 months.
UPDATE—our Google Rep sent us the following via email:
“The one-time ad credits are designed to help with recovery in the economic slowdown and will start to become available to advertisers in phases beginning in Google’s late Q2 (June). They can be used to offset future advertising on Google until the end of 2020. If eligible, you’ll be informed through an in-product notification with the credit amount. No action is needed on your end – ‘eligible’ advertisers are those who have been active since January 1st, 2019 and comply with all Google Ads T&Cs.”
Start a GoFundMe Campaign
With so much uncertainty and concern surrounding the recent novel coronavirus, it’s easy to feel helpless—but there is something we can all do to help the fight against it. Aside from keeping safe and following guidelines from medical experts, we can all do our part to get help to people and regions that have been affected.
Another great way to provide support is by creating a fundraiser for someone in need. By setting up a coronavirus relief fundraiser for someone that needs help, you can help them overcome potential hurdles they’re facing because of the spread of COVID-19. Setting up a GoFundMe is just one way to do this, but you can also look to other crowdfunding platforms and find the right fit.
Of course, if you’re the person in need, you may want to start a coronavirus fundraiser for yourself. You may have a sick family member, have childcare needs, or even be out of work as a result of quarantine measures in your region. Even today, only a few months after the disease was discovered, you’ll find hundreds of fundraisers that people have created, and many are for themselves. If you’re in a quarantined region or need emergency funds to prepare, creating a fundraiser and asking for help could make all the difference.