By Renee Schofield, TSS CEO
Small business owners are struggling through the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only are they concerned about their personal health and that of their families, they are also concerned about the financial health of their company. It is hard to see businesses shuttered in communities that are typically bustling. Sadly, that is our reality. It’s a difficult choice to lock the door and go home, but you do what you have to when it’s a matter of life and death. With zero revenue coming in, the small biz owner is now faced with regular monthly bills and making payroll, depending on how they are handling staff matters.
There are numerous resources out there. Not all are perfect or available to everyone who needs them, and most will increase your debt load. There are even resources that cost very little or are free. But the key is knowing how and where to find them. Unless you are skilled at navigating these waters, it can feel like looking for a needle in a haystack. And, when I’m stressed, hunting around is the last thing I want to do! That’s why I put together some of the resources that I know of and why I use them. I hope the information is helpful to you.
Tips for small business help
First, call your business banker. ASK their opinion. You may be able to delay a payment. Even getting one month deferred will help. I am fortunate to have always had a good relationship with our local bank. If you don’t, make note that this is something you want to begin establishing for your future.
The Small Business Administration
This is a great site with a big headline banner to click and fill out the disaster application quickly. There is a lot of information on the entire website. If you are like me, though, you just want to be able to file your disaster application as quickly and efficiently as possible. This is the place to do it!
Small Business Development Center
The SBDC is a very viable partner for your business. Free to every client, the counselors are available to help you get through the COVID-19 crisis and plan for the future. The experts at these centers can help you determine exactly what program you should be filing disaster claims with. SBDCs are located in every state in the U.S. Don’t miss this opportunity. CALL TODAY. As I am sure they are all very busy, get your appointment scheduled now. Most states are under shelter-in-place orders, so expect to have your meeting over the phone or via a video conference. I have used SBDC for many years. They may not have all the answers, but they know who does.
Visit your state websites often. Many governors are putting up state information regarding unemployment, permitting and regulations, as well as federal assistance programs.
United Way resources for Alaska
United Way of Alaska help for families
United Way of Alaska mental health resources
My most important business advice? Take care of yourself. Your business doesn’t go without you. Follow all CDC guidelines. Wash your hands – MORE THAN EVER BEFORE. Drink plenty of water – Your brain needs extra support. Sleep – Your body’s immune system plummets when it does not have “recharge” time from sleeping. And, eat well – Times of stress lead us to overeat and choose “comfort” foods. Make sure to get a good balance. Treat yourself well, so you can be in solid health for the sake of your loved ones, your employees and your business.