Covid

Small Business Relief During Emergencies

September 14, 2020

Small business relief for disasters doesn't end at government programs. Learn the other ways to get some much-needed help.

A group of volunteers standing behind donation boxes.

Ways to Receive Pandemic and Disaster Relief

A old sign on an old shop door that says, "sorry, we are closed." Small business relief ensures businesses don't have to close for good.

The effects of COVID-19 and other disasters are affecting small businesses every day. While some are still temporarily closed, others may have to close permanently. As of July, 58% of small businesses worry about having to permanently close their business. With so much up in the air right now, it’s nice to know there are still ways you can receive small business relief or assistance.

There is, of course, the worry of having to close again as well. This is another reason other options for small business assistance have popped up. As if all of this weren’t stress enough for small businesses, others have also been impacted by natural disasters and protests. Needless to say, it’s a hard time to own and operate a small business.

Most people don’t want to see small businesses close. We all have that favorite local restaurant or store we love taking our out of town company to. So, people have started getting creative with their ideas on how to support small businesses, and luckily, more options keep popping up. Continue reading to learn how small businesses are being affected, and how you can get some much-needed help for your small business.

How Small Businesses Are Suffering

While large companies and chains have additional income and resources to overcome disaster, it’s a different story for small business owners. They heavily rely on their reputation and the support of their local community. So when the community can’t support them (because they’re stuck inside), it hits hard. As we mentioned above, there are additional threats to many areas as well.

A couple looking at the remnants of a wildfire.

Oregon, California, Washington, and Colorado are all experiencing wildfires that are disrupting what limited business is surviving COVID-19. In the larger cities of these states, protests and riots have further impacted small businesses. Due to the availability and affordability of business insurance, small businesses are hit especially hard by riots.

Businesses on the verge of reopening in states like Wisconsin were put on hold after protests led to riots and looting. Those in California are now worried about surviving unprecedented wildfires and 130-degree temperatures. Put all of this together and you have the perfect recipe for shutting down a small business in a hurry.

For those able to stay open, there are other concerns that can impact their ability to operate as normal. Shipping and receiving have been greatly impacted by the pandemic. A disruption in supply could have little effect or a huge effect, depending on the business. For those in the restaurant or hospitality industry, this could be a huge issue. Natural disasters and riots have further exacerbated this issue in some areas.

Why You Should Give Back to Small Businesses

Small businesses employ a good chunk of the community, especially in rural or small towns. They also play a major part in local experience and attitude. It’s widely believed these small businesses provide a more meaningful experience for employees and customers. Local economies have more small businesses playing a major role. In fact, $68 of every $100 spent stays local when spent at a local business.

Aside from the obvious benefits to the local economy, there are also environmental benefits. When you purchase local, it saves on shipping, cutting back emissions. There’s also less packaging with local purchases. Sadly, 50% of all US pollution comes from industrial sources. So supporting local businesses helps on the environmental front as well. The wildfires have been fueled by the dry and hot weather this summer associated with the effects of global warming – another reason to do your part to help the environment.

Small business relief helps the environment as well, because of the reduced packaging and shipping. A human hand holding onto a tree branch as if it were holding hands.

All of this is to say, your local small businesses give quite a bit to your local economy and community. So, why not help them out by giving back when they need it? Although it feels good to give back, giving back to small businesses also helps your situation as well. It keeps your local economy healthy and keeps money within your community and programs. So if you don’t do it to be charitable, do it for yourself!

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Small Business Relief

Now that we’ve covered what’s happening and why small businesses deserve our support, let’s jump into the ways you can get some small business relief. The government of course put their own assistance programs into place, but communities are also teaming up to provide some small business relief. Let’s start with some basics. As we’ve mentioned, some states don’t only have to worry about the impacts of COVID but other disasters as well.

In the wake of COVID-19 spikes, there are western states in crisis from recent and continuing wildfires. In southern states like Texas and Louisiana, there are the threats of Hurricane Laura and other tropic storms. Needless to say, a lot of small businesses need help right now. Let start with the well-known pieces of the CARES program.

The CARES Program

The CARES program kicked off some small business relief efforts. These programs helped a good number of small businesses, however, quarantine and strict restrictions have lasted longer than originally predicted. The different relief packages within the CARES act are the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), EIDL, SBA Express Bridge Loans, and SBA Debt Relief. Some of the deadlines of the programs have already passed, so let’s jump into additional options for small business owners.

Small Business Administration

Eligible small businesses can apply for SBA debt relief. The Small Business Administration has added a program to provide debt relief for a period of 6 months. They state that the SBA will, “pay 6 months of principal, interest, and any associated fees that borrowers owe for all current 7(a), 504, and Microloans in regular servicing status as well as new 7(a), 504, and Microloans disbursed prior to September 27, 2020.” However, this doesn’t apply to loans through the Paycheck Protection Program or Economic Industry Disaster Loans.

Save Small Business Fund

A woman turning her sign to "open" in the doorway of her small business.

Save small business fund is a program giving grants to small businesses impacted by COVID-19. The fund is a way for larger businesses and philanthropists to help their fellow entrepreneurs that are getting hit harder. As of right now, they aren’t accepting any new applicants for available grants due to the incredibly high demand.

However, it’s still a good idea to keep an eye on these types of programs so if they start accepting new applicants you’re one of the first in line. Many believe we’re still awaiting a second wave of the pandemic, so many of these programs may have a resurgence. With so much up in the air, it’s important to keep your ears open for new info.

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State-Specific Relief Programs

Some states have instituted state and city-specific relief programs to help their small business communities. Check your state’s programs by Googling terms like, ‘Arizona Small Business Relief‘ or ‘Denver Small Business Relief.’ Try different variations for your area to bring up programs you can apply to as a local small business.

Crowdfunding or GoFundMe

Many businesses are looking towards supporters to help them during this time. Depending on your industry and type of business, this could be a great option. Shops, restaurants, bars, and other types of businesses can gain pretty dedicated patrons. This is especially true if your business has a niche crowd or is seen as a staple of the community. If this is the case, you can certainly create a page asking your community to help you survive recent hardships.

Companies like GoFundMe have also taken initiative themselves to set up small business relief during the effects of COVID. If you need to see how other businesses have requested relief, do some searching through GoFundMe causes. You can also browse through their Small Business Relief Initiative page here.

Be An Advocate for Your Business

No matter which direction you choose, it’s important that you advocate for your business. There’s no shame in receiving small business relief. We’re living in an unprecedented time, there’s no room for egos or pride at this point. If your business is struggling, let your fans and community know. If you’re near an evacuation zone for one of the above mentioned natural disasters and need help, speak up.

As a small business, you’re part of your local community and environment. As we mentioned, nobody wants their favorite small business to shut down because of disasters, so let them know if you need help and how to help.

How to Help and Additional Resources

Since all of this is so recent, some of these disasters aren’t within the rebuilding phases yet. There are however resources available with helpful information about how to prepare and recover. If you’re looking to help your fellow business owners, consider donating to the following programs.


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