Cash is King and Time is of the Essence
Small businesses across almost every industry are suffering as state and local governments in the US have mandated a variety of stay at home orders. Finding sources of cash to ride out the storm is paramount for organizations of all sizes, but even more so for those with less than 500 employees. The clock is ticking and there is a scramble for funding, so read below to see how you can cobble together some relief for your business.
1. The Small Business Administration (SBA)
The SBA will likely be at the top of every small business owner's wish list for targeting funds. The two main programs discussed in the media are the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). Both sources of government help provide different benefits, with requirements changing as the situation is fluid and of course there is simply not enough funding to go around.
The PPP is targeted towards employers to keep their staff on payroll, instead of losing them to unemployment which of course has negative effects on both the employee and the state offices tasked with managing the unemployment claims. While there are some exceptions, this is a program aimed at small businesses under 500 employees, with a maximum loan amount of $10M, a 2 year term at 1.00% interest, no payments for 6 months and forgiveness of the loan if at least 75% of it is spent on payroll, with the remaining going towards lease payments, the interest on mortgages and utilities. The formula for most businesses is based on 2.5 times the average monthly payroll, which will be validated with supporting documention scubas IRS Form 941. The first round of funding was exhausted in days, so any business seeking this relief needs to find a bank to process their application so they are prepared for the second tranche to be released.
The EIDL is managed directly with the SBA and is a longer term loan designed to assist the overall health of the business beyond simply payroll. These loans are limited to $2M and are not forgivable with the exception of an advance grant calculated as $1k per employee, up to a maximum of 10. The loans are typically structured to have a 30 year term at a 3.75% interest rate. In normal times, these loans can take 30 days to get to closing, so expect a significant increase in processing with the present environment. Similar to the PPP, funding was quickly exhausted but there is a second tranche on the way, so having your business documents in order ahead of time will be critical.
2. State and Local Emergency Grants and Loans
Each state and local government are attempting to help as best they can, but across the board there is more demand than resources available. It is important to have all business documentation readily available to go through applications quickly and be responsive to underwriters if and when they have questions. As a Tampa, FL headquartered company, we were eligible to apply for a bridge loan from the state as well as a grant from the city of Tampa, but pay special attention to the requirements as not all businesses will qualify.
Localities are trying their best, but recognize that grants and loans at this level are meant to be a bridge to a larger and more sustainable source of funding.
Hello Alice is a community focused on startups and bringing resources to entrepreneurs. They have opened an extensive library of content related to COVID-19 along with a grant application that could provide additional financial relief. You can find the content here.
Facebook has vowed to open a fund to support small businesses across the globe with grants and advertising credits. As demand is expected to be high Facebook is taking a geographic location approach to determining eligibility. You can learn more about the program here.
Similar to Facebook, Google has committed to placing funds into supporting small businesses through AdWords advertising credits. For small businesses who outsource their AdWords campaigns, it is critical to coordinate with your marketing partner to ensure you get your share of the credit, as it will be deposited directly into the advertising account, not necessarily the business who is running the ad.
Keeping in the theme of large tech companies looking to provide support, Salesforce is offering $10k grants through the application listed here. The window to apply is rolling according to the state you reside in, but once again the rule is to sign up as soon as possible as the funds are likely to go quickly. Some top level requirements include being a for-profit business, operating for at least 2 years, revenues between $250k and $2M with an employee count between 2-50.
Local Initiatives Support Corporation opened their grant window on April 22nd with a deadline of April 28th. This organization is open to providing grants across a range of dollar amounts, with an emphasis on underrepresented entrepreneurs and the application can be found here.
*8. US Chamber of Commerce
The US Chamber of Commerce has launched a fund called Save Small Business that has the potential to offer $5k grants. The criteria is listed through the link, but the reason for the asterisk is that the fund is currently closed as all awards were granted. However, they are looking for donations to replenish the program and it may be worth it to keep an eye out if they do in fact reopen the application window.