Small businesses around the country are feeling the financial impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. While some businesses will weather the crisis and some may even thrive, many will be forced to close permanently. More than half of small business owners said they’ll have to shut down within three months under current conditions in one recent Goldman Sachs survey.
If you’re among the small business owners affected by coronavirus, what can you do? While there’s no way to erase the economic hurt that coronavirus has caused, small business owners do have options for recovering and rebuilding in the wake of this crisis.
Here’s what you need to know.
Relief Is Available
Before making the decision to close your business, explore the relief programs available to small business owners. These include:
- Federal tax filing and payment extensions until July 15, 2020.
- Paycheck Protection Program loans that may be forgiven for small businesses that maintain their payroll.
- SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans, including loan advances of $10,000 to applicants.
- State, local, and corporate assistance programs.
These resources won’t be enough to keep all small businesses afloat, but combined with creative solutions like pivoting to an online storefront, they could be enough to keep some businesses running until lockdowns are lifted.
It’s Okay to Take Time Off
Unfortunately, some businesses will have no option but to close permanently. Closing the business you’ve worked hard to build isn’t an easy decision. It’s essential for small business owners affected by COVID-19 to practice self-care during this time. Rather than rushing to start a new venture, take time off to care for your mental health and think carefully about what’s next.
Since self-employed individuals are eligible for unemployment under the CARES Act, taking time off for self-care doesn’t have to mean going without. In addition to regular unemployment benefits, which are based on previous income, eligible workers will receive an additional $600 a week in unemployment benefits for up to four months. State unemployment offices are facing a backlog of applications, however, so it’s important to apply quickly
You Can Rebuild
While it’s important to take time to care for yourself, it won’t be long before you’re feeling the entrepreneurial itch once again. But is there any hope of rebuilding a business right now?
While it may be some time before returning to business as usual, there are ways for small business owners to operate under lockdown. That’s especially true in the startup phases of building a new business when much of the work happens behind the scenes. For instance, many business owners turn to sites like Upwork for help. But what is Upwork? Essentially, Upwork is a freelance platform that allows you to hire web developers, branding experts, administrative assistants, and even contract attorneys remotely, so you can get a business off the ground despite social distancing.
With luck, lockdowns will be lifted by the time a new business is ready to launch. Regardless, business owners should plan for how they can operate in less-than-ideal conditions. Adopting a business model that’s flexible allows your business to be nimble and resilient in the face of economic disruptions. Adopt infrastructure for telecommuting, test critical staffing levels, and staggered shifts, and reassess business insurance needs before opening a new business to the public so you’re ready for whatever challenges come your way.
In unprecedented times like these, it’s not easy for small business owners to see a path forward. But while business closures have been crushing for many, the end of a business isn’t the end of the road for entrepreneurs. With time, there will be an opportunity to rebuild and lead a business that’s stronger than ever.