Comprehensive Small Business Guide on COVID-19
Businesses Suffering Economic Injury as a Result of the Corona Virus
The Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering an Express Bridge Loan Program to small businesses impacted by COVID-19. This program authorizes SBA Express Lenders to provide expedited SBA-guaranteed bridge loan financing on an emergency basis in amounts up to $25,000 for disaster-related purposes to small businesses who have applied for and await long-term financing (including the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program).
- Small businesses who are already working with an SBA Express Lender may be eligible to apply to this streamlined program. Read general information about this program here; guidance is available here.
The SBA's Economic Injury Disaster Loan program (EIDL) is now open in Massachusetts. Small businesses can now access and apply for Economic Impact Disaster Loans. Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications here.
Moving forward, EIDL loans will defer payments for the first year (twelve months) of the loan. This is a change from the initial loan structure, which allowed payment deferral for 4 months.
- The SBA has established a toll-free line to answer questions at 1-800-659-2955.
- U.S. Small Business Administration, SCORE, and Women Business Centers will be providing workshops to answer questions and to help small businesses with the loan application process.
- EIDL offers Massachusetts businesses who are experiencing hardships resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak access up to $2M in emergency loan capital with rates capped at 3.75%.
Small Business Tax Relief
- The Baker-Polito Administration announced administrative tax relief measures for small local businesses which have been impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, especially in the restaurant and hospitality sectors.
- This tax relief includes postponing the collection of regular sales tax, meals tax, and room occupancy taxes that would be due in March, April and May so that they will instead be due on June 20. Additionally, all penalties and interest that would otherwise apply will be waived.
- Businesses that paid less than $150,000 in regular sales plus meals taxes in the year ending February 29, 2020 will be eligible for relief for sales and meals taxes, and business that paid less than $150,000 in room occupancy taxes in the year ending February 29, 2020 will be eligible for relief with respect to room occupancy taxes.
Layoff Prevention/Assistance: MassHire Rapid Response
The Rapid Response Team provides layoff aversion and early intervention re-employment services at no cost to companies and their employees affected by layoffs and closings.
WorkShare: A smart alternative to layoffs
With WorkShare, employees share reduced work hours while collecting Unemployment Insurance benefits to supplement their temporary lower wages. When business picks up, you can avoid the extra costs of recruiting and training new workers.
For more info. click here.
Additional Resources for Small Businesses
Financial Assistance and Guidance:
- Facebook is offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits through their Small Business Grants Program. Learn more.
- Rhonda Abrams, a leading small business guru and USA Today columnist is hosting a daily livestream on Facebook at 1pm to answer small business coronavirus questions and share resources and news. Click here for more info.
- JPMorgan pledged $50 million global philanthropic commitment to support communities and people hit hardest by this public health crisis, including $2 million to existing nonprofit partners and $8 million to assist small businesses. Learn more.
- Kabbage launched an online hub to help boost sales for U.S small businesses impacted by COVID-19, including a system through which businesses can sell gift cards to consumers for use at a later date. Learn more.
- The James Beard Foundation is launching a fund that will be gathering support from corporate, foundation, and individual donors to provide micro-grants to independent food and beverage businesses in need. Learn more.
- MainVest, a crowdfunding platform, announced its new Main Street Initiative: a $2,000, zero-interest, 120 day loan for restaurants or other brick and mortars affected by the shutdown. Learn more.
- Opportunity Fund, which specializes in money lending to small businesses owned by women, immigrants and people of color, is collaborating with investors and nonprofits to put together a coronavirus relief fund that will provide grants and low-interest rate loans. Learn more.
Marketing Your Small Business During COVID-19
Click here for an informative and helpful article on "Locable" . Please note that some of these suggestions vary depending on your location (e.g. Massachusetts restaurants are currently limited to take-out/delivery only).
If your business is staying open, publish commitment to public health and outline actions for ensuring a clean facility and healthy staff; have hand sanitizer available for customers and latex gloves available for employees
- Offer digital gift cards that customers and patrons can buy now and use later
- Start, maintain, and enhance business webpages, online shopping opportunities, and social media presence
- Keep customers updated on new experiences or products you'll offer when conditions improve
- Develop customer membership programs, such as “subscribe and save” on delivery or pick-up of coffee beans, fresh produce, etc.
- Develop online shopping list services. For example, many grocery stores offer grocery pick-up or delivery to customers who submit shopping lists online.
- Offer digital services and support to virtually sell, answer questions, and provide customer service
- Keep it lively! Offer trivia nights via livestream and provide virtual tours of your shop