COVID-19 BUSINESS RELIEF INFORMATION

SBA Business Owner Support Programs: Tips for Today’s Business Owner

Simple answers for you about CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and  Economic Security) and more.

As a business owner, you know the coronavirus (or COVID-19) has had impacts on just about every business out there.  Some businesses, like grocers, medical supply companies, and delivery services, have seen an uptick in activity while many other companies have been deemed non-essential and closed their doors.  Every business has been forced to deal with social distancing and had to make changes to their business models very quickly to adapt to these unprecedented times.  So many small business owners that have kept their doors open are struggling to pay monthly rent, pay their employees on time, and maintain products and services moving.  Business owners have to think outside the box to meet customer demands and in ways that we’ve never seen before.  Unfortunately, this change in the way we do business has brought financial challenges to many of us.   Federal, state, and local authorities are stepping in to help to try to keep the economy running.

You have probably heard about the new SBA programs for business owners. There are a lot of programs available to help businesses large and small, all across our country.  Recently, I have been on several calls with the SBA, getting updated information. Each day brings a few tweaks and changes.  The SBA staff is still trying to comprehend all of the new details. The banks are also still trying to absorb the program. Technically, the banks can support the loans, but many are still learning and on-boarding the procedures.

KEEP A FEW THOUGHTS IN MIND.

  1. Be patient. There appears to be plenty of money available, but there is a huge learning curve, and this will take some time to work through. I have been on calls three times this week, and each time I  hear something new.
  2. Start now. While I suggest that you be patient, it is better to be proactive than to let things “get easy.”
  3. Get organized. You will need your EIN, your revenues and cost of goods, labor costs, and other expenses handy. Do your best to gather this information together now. Take the time to be ready when the call comes.
  4. Do your homework. We can help some, but your accounts, bankers, and the SBA website has lots go answers to lots of questions.
  5. Start with your bank. Hopefully, they are in the process of helping. I have heard several banks say that they are going to prioritize by helping their existing customers first. The banks are overwhelmed. The SBA is already flooded with phone calls. Be polite, persevere. Start with the bank and, hopefully, the person at the bank you already know.

If you have an SBA, make sure your lender is at least deferring the payments! You need all the help you can get.

WHAT IF MY BANK CLOSED IT’S LOBBY?

Some of the banks have closed their doors temporarily and are doing everything through ATM, with limited locations providing pre-arranged appointments. I noticed this yesterday when I went to four different SunTrust Banks. They all have their lobbies closed and have signs saying that they are open, but only through the ATM. At least one location had a sign referring us to a phone number to call for an appointment with one of their representatives.

WHAT IF MY BANK IS NOT OFFERING SBA LOANS? 

If you do have to go to another bank, you might consider a local bank. They tend to be less overwhelmed with the SBA program, especially if they don’t have a lot of SBA loans that they are reworking.

CAN I GET MORE, IF I ALREADY HAVE AN SBA LOAN? 

If you have under $3.75M unsecured, you can ask for more.

HOW LOW CAN THE LOAN BE? 

For the EIDL, you can have an unsecured loan for up to $25,000. It can be very low. I have heard of one as low as $500 on today’s SBA call.

WHAT ABOUT THE $10,000 I DON’T HAVE TO PAY BACK? 

Take a loan if you need it. Some rules allow for up to $10,000 in loans that do not have to be paid back.  See the simple form on the EIDL link below.

RESOURCES

PPP program (Paycheck Protection Program)

https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/2020-04/PPP%20Borrower%20Application%20Form_0.pdf

Check out the borrower’s information sheet: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/PPP–Fact-Sheet.pdf

EIDL  (Economic Injury Disaster Loan)

Short form: https://covid19relief.sba.gov/#/  Have your financials for the last 12 months handy and your EIN.

More details:  https://www.sba.gov/disaster

CARES GUIDE – really easy read

https://www.sbc.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/2/9/29fc1ae7-879a-4de0-97d5-ab0a0cb558c8/1BC9E5AB74965E686FC6EBC019EC358F.the-small-business-owner-s-guide-to-the-cares-act-final-.pdf

CAN I GET HELP WITH MY LEASE?

Rent may be reimbursed if one meets the criteria for the Economic Relief program. Review the details with your lender. HOWEVER, if you have a lease, make sure your landlord is supporting you and helping defer rent. Publix has done this with all the shopping centers that they own. Hopefully, your landlord is ready and willing to do that for you. If you are up for renewal or getting a new lease, negotiate to your favor. I highly recommend my good friend Dale Willerton of the Lease Coach [http://theleasecoach.com], for assistance on your next lease or renewal. This guy a Jedi Master of Leases.

Most of all, keep positive and support your family and loved ones.  Stay well, and let’s all work together to make the best of these times. I, too, am a business owner.  I have kids in college, teens at home who are frustrated, and trying to make sense of this. We have family members and dear friends that meet the criteria of being most vulnerable to the virus. Finally, please know that I genuinely care dearly for my fellow business owners.  These are especially challenging times for us all, but we are all in this together.

Please, if I can help you in any way, reach out and let me knowAll the best,

Brian Stephens

Owner, Business Broker, Certified Business Intermediary