The SBDC is excited to announce a series of webinars being released to provide additional resources to individuals looking for clarification on how current programs can be leveraged based on your unique situation. Click here to view upcoming and archived webinars.
The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Minnesota State University, Mankato knows that small business owners are rightfully concerned about survival during these uncertain times. South Central Minnesota businesses have survived natural disasters before, and during those trying times, many had to do things differently. It is important to take the necessary steps now so that you come out of this disruption stronger than ever. Here are some key imperatives that can carry you through these uncertain times:
Manage your cash and credit.
How much cash do you have on hand? How you could make it last for at least six months? If you don’t have enough cash on hand, evaluate how you can cut expenses or increase sales by doing something different. Explore negotiations with your lenders, suppliers, or landlords, informing them you may need some form of cooperation in order to survive. Contact your bank to see if there are any accommodations for your current loans- turbulent times are turbulent for both sides. These situations can give you leverage in many ways to negotiate terms and pricing. When you come to an agreement, write down the date and name of the person you spoke to (in writing when possible).
Review & revise your sales strategy.
Now is the time when it is necessary to be increasingly realistic and creative. The goal is not to hunker down and hide, but to develop or brainstorm ways you could actually sell more of your products or services. How can you utilize online sales and/or delivery, such as curb-side pick-up? Challenge yourself and your staff to think differently and ratchet up your value proposition!
Think outside the box.
Remember when you started your business on a shoestring budget and you were crazy creative on using word of mouth, organic social media, and key networks to sell your product or service? It’s time to jump back into that mentality. Be more creative with respect to your marketing expenses and look for ways to use marketing tactics that don’t have a significant cost.
Control employee expenses.
As you examine your business, look at how you can control expenses related to employees. Can you temporarily reduce expenses by delaying the hire of any additional employees? Perhaps use freelancers or contractors to temporarily reduce work-load. The State of Minnesota has put special concessions in place to alleviate some of the unemployment burdens faced by small businesses.
Spend every dollar as if it were your last.
Adopt the concept that you need to protect the lifeblood of your business: cash. Whether it’s cash going out in the form of expenses or cash coming in from revenues, cash is king.
Economic downturns can be chaotic and uncertain. Know that you are not in this alone. Our region of business leaders, economic developers, and Chambers of Commerce are pulling together and collaborating on various ways we can be of support to small businesses in our region. The SBDC along with our partners through Minnesota State University, Mankato’s Strategic Partnership Division are here to help you! While we are not currently meeting clients face-to-face, we are still seeing clients for business counseling via virtual methods (e.g. web conferencing, conference calls, etc.). We can work with you virtually on cash flows, financial analysis, and business strategies to help you survive and thrive. You have the energy and resolve needed to weather this storm! Together, we’ll get through this.
To set up an appointment, contact the SBDC at Minnesota State University, Mankato at firstname.lastname@example.org or 507-389-8875.
SBA = Coronavirus (COVID-19): Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources
SBA Disaster Assistance in Response to the Coronavirus
Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) COVID-19 Information & Resources
US Chamber of Commerce COVID- 19 Business Preparedness Checklist
Minnesota State University, Mankato COVID-19 Information
Webinar: Local Programs & Local Successes
April 15, 2020 | Local Programs & Local Successes
Webinar: Sustaining a Small Business During a Pandemic
April 14, 2020 | Sustaining a Small Business During a Pandemic
Updated Paycheck Protection Program Documents
The following are the latest documents regarding the Paycheck Protection Program including the new lender application form and additional FAQ’s.
Webinar: The CARES Act- What does it mean for Small Businesses?
April 10, 2020 | The CARES Act: What does it mean for Small Businesses?
Business Resiliency Webinar: Keeping the Lights on
April 14, 2020 | 1:00pm ET/10:00am PT
An actionable business resiliency plan could mean the difference between business continuity or closure.
Join Grow with Google and America’s SBDC for a no-cost Business Resiliency webinar, “Keeping the Lights On”. This webinar includes an introduction to a 25-page guide to help small business owners prepare to respond quickly and recover from disruptions. Webinar participants will receive the ‘Business Resiliency Guide’ and a ‘Business Resiliency Plan’ template they can customize to meet the specific needs of their business.
Keeping the Lights On will cover how to:
· Identify your critical resources
· Plan to use alternative resources
· Respond with your plan
· Bring your business back to normal
Includes FAQs from previous webinars
This webinar will not cover information regarding the current disaster loans. Please go to sba.gov for current Coronavirus relief options.
Grow with Google will help you :
· Discover Google tools that can help you work and manage your business during this time of uncertainty
· Get insights on more online and timely resources for small businesses
The SBDC is excited to announce a series of webinars being released to provide additional resources to individuals looking for clarification on how current programs can be leveraged based on your unique situation. The first webinar will take place Wednesday, April 8th to discuss the CARES Act, and what it means for Nonprofits. Registration is limited to 20- secure your spot today! Click here to view upcoming and archived webinars.
The Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES Act
The programs and initiatives in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that was just passed by Congress are intended to assist business owners with whatever needs they have right now. The following outlines frequently asked questions of the program:
SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program
|WASHINGTON – The U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Jovita Carranza today launched the Paycheck Protection Program, a $349 billion emergency loan program created last week with the President’s signing of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES). The program provides forgivable loans up to $10 million to small businesses left financially distressed by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The loans, which will be administered at the local level by a national network of banks and credit unions, are designed to maintain the viability of millions of small businesses struggling to meet payroll and day-to-day operating expenses. The loans, which are 100% backed by SBA, are being provided to small businesses without collateral requirements, personal guarantees, SBA fees, or credit elsewhere tests. Those eligible for the program include small businesses, certain non-profits, veterans’ organizations, self-employed individuals, independent contractors, and other businesses meeting size standards based on their North American Industry Classification System code. The Paycheck Protection Program’s maximum loan amount is $10 million with a fixed 1% interest rate and maturity of two years. The loans are available to cover up to eight weeks of average monthly payroll (based on 2019 figures) plus 25% and payments are deferred for six months (interest does accrue). The SBA will forgive the portion of loan proceeds used for payroll costs and other designated operating expenses for up to eight weeks, provided at least 75% of loan proceeds are used for payroll costs. |
Visit www.SBA.gov/Coronavirus for additional resources about protecting your business, employees and customers.
New Ulm Emergency Relief Small Business Grant
The New Ulm EDA has approved an Emergency Relief Small Business Grant Program for businesses with commercial addresses in New Ulm. The grants are $2500 and are for the business owner to be able to make monthly fixed expense payments, etc. Eligible businesses are ONLY those closed down by the EO 20-04 and 20-08, applicant must be the business owner and application must include a W-9. Applications are here: https://www.ci.new-ulm.mn.us/
Waseca COVID-19 RLF Loan Application
The Waseca Economic Development Authority is making available emergency loans to help small businesses successfully get through the financial impacts caused by the response to the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The funds provided are to help bridge the financial gaps that must be covered while waiting for assistance to arrive from the State of Minnesota and Federal Government programs.
Peacetime Emergency Child Care Grants
As part of their COVID-19 Response Supplemental Budget proposal, Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan proposed $30 million in funding for emergency grants for licensed child care providers serving essential workers during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Child care providers and educators themselves are expressly listed as essential.
The Minnesota Department of Human Services, Governor’s Children’s Cabinet and Child Care Aware of Minnesota are working on the grant application and distribution process. Below are answers to frequently asked questions about the grants, as of March 31, 2020.
Paycheck Protection Program
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is intended to support businesses (including nonprofits—colleges and universities) with fewer than 500 employees by providing a loan to cover up to eight weeks of payroll costs. These funds can be used for payroll, rent, utilities, and mortgage interest. The loan will be forgiven if at least 75 percent of the forgiven amount is used for payroll while maintaining compensation levels and employees over the 8 week period after the loan is made. Organizations can begin applying for these loans on Friday, April 3.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury has released a short summary that describes who is eligible, how much money is available per borrower, how to apply, and other important details.
SBA Coronavirus Relief
The following is a comprehensive outline of the relief programs being offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
A Guide for Minnesota Small Businesses Who Need Help
Over the past few weeks, several state and federal programs have been announced to assist small businesses struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Different programs make sense for different businesses, so we’re providing a summary guide to help small businesses quickly see which programs might be right for their situation.
View this new guide on the DEED website to see at a glance all the programs available now to businesses.
April 1st: Navigating Bills Due
|It’s the first of April, and that usually means a whole bunch of bills coming due – both for your business and for you personally. And right now, you might not have the money to pay them and any financial help you can get from the government won’t be here soon. So let’s talk about how to lower or delay some of these bills. |
DO THIS SOON
It’s easier to get deferrals or reductions on bills if you contact vendors BEFORE you are in trouble. This is your job this week.
IDENTIFY YOUR BILLS: Collect the most recent statements of all accounts you pay regularly, not just monthly, but quarterly, semi-annually, and annually. These may be on your credit card bills—especially for services like website hosting and cloud-based applications. Contact the people you normally work with, such as a sales representative at a key vendor (for instance, in my business—a publishing company—it may be our book printer or distributor).
MAKE CALLS AND SEND EMAILS: For each account, call your sales representative, agent, or customer service, and do the following: Explain your situation: “my business is temporarily shut/reduced due to the coronavirus” (I’d use the term “temporarily” so as to indicate you’re going to be back in business) and ask to either or both lower your rate or defer payment.
UNDERSTAND YOUR VENDOR’S SITUATION: Some of your most important vendors are independent contractors and small businesses. They’re probably in the same boat as you. Try to pay their bills, meet their needs as much as possible. That big telecom company or website hosting company you use is in much better position to ride this out than they are.
BE COURTEOUS: Your vendor may be in the same situation you are—especially if they are a small business too.
NEGOTIATE: You don’t have to take the first “no” for an answer. Remember, a deferral or payment plan is also a good outcome for you now. Banks and big corporations have made public statements saying they’ll work with customers.
WHO’S MOST IMPORTANT: Identify who are your most important vendors and start talking to them NOW. This is especially true if you have independent contractors you depend on. Make sure you keep a good working relationship. And figure out which vendors you could do without if your business changes dramatically, and pay those last.
DEED Finance Assistance
Just a reminder of the special DEED business finance tools you and your businesses can use to help get through these challenging times https://mn.gov/deed/newscenter/covid/employers/ :
Please also check out the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program at: https://www.sba.gov/content/sba-disaster-loans-minnesota-small-businesses-impacted-covid-19.
A helpful video regarding the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program is available at:
We also encourage you to check out these COVID-19 resource pages:
SBA Disaster Loan Training
Minnesota small businesses can now apply for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL). Training is now being offered twice daily this weekend and next week to help answer questions and provide tips for applying.
Can’t make one of the calls above? To help meet demand, and give you access to the materials 24/7, check out this video.
Emergency Loan Program Applications Being Accepted
Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) was chosen as one of nearly two dozen statewide organizations to accept Small Business Emergency Loan applications. Businesses located in SMIF’s 20-county region must submit applications directly to SMIF lenders. While the outline of DEED’s Small Business Emergency Loan program is available online, agency staff are still developing application approval criteria. Loan considerations will start when DEED provides application approval criteria. Please check the emergency response page for updates.
Governor Tim Walz Directing Minnesotans to Stay at Home
Beginning on Friday, March 27, 2020 at 11:59pm through Friday, April 10, 2020 at 5:00pm, all individuals living in the State of Minnesota are ordered to stay at home, outside of essential activities. Read the full emergency executive order here.
SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Training Video
The Minnesota District Office has been hosting training two times a day to help answer questions and provide tips for applying. To help meet demand and give you access to the materials 24/7, the following video was created: https://www.saintpaulchamber.com/uploads/b/120629884-340469217520912643/zoom_0_392.mp4?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery
Impact of Coronavirus on Small Businesses
South Central SBDC Programming
All programming through the South Central SBDC has been cancelled through April 30th. Please check back for additional information and updates as this is a fluid situation.
Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office Offers Tips on Emotional Well-Being During the COVID-19 Outbreak
Yesterday, the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office issued a press release regarding the emotional distress and anxiety that is often brought on by public health events. Feeling anxious, confused, overwhelmed, or powerless is common during an infections disease outbreak, especially in the face of a virus with which the general public may be unfamiliar. The following outlines a few tips and overall health and wellness information from the press release:
Stress during an infectious disease outbreak can include:
How you can support yourself and others:
To read the rest of the press release or for more news on the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, visit https://www.hennepinsheriff.org/
DEED COVID-19 Small Business Emergency Loan Program
DEED is creating a Small Business Emergency Loan Program by making available $30 million from special revenue funds. These dollars will be used by DEED’s lender network to make loans of between $2,500 and $35,000 for qualifying small businesses. The loans will be 50-percent forgivable, and offered at a 0% interest rate. This program is expected to be open and accepting applications by the end of this week.
SBA Disaster Assistance in Response to the Coronavirus
There are two ways to apply for the SBA COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL)
SBA Disaster Assistance in Response to the Coronavirus
The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Minnesota small businesses are now eligible for the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program. For additional information, please visit https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance.
Unemployment Insurance Information
Some additional tips to aid you in the process of applying for unemployment benefits:
One Minnesota means we help one another- and we know when to ask each other for help. We’re asking you to help us better serve Minnesotans in this crisis by applying online for unemployment benefits.
3 Ways You Can Help the State Government During the COVID-19 Crisis
It’s been an unprecedented week for the Minnesota economy. One question the state government continues to get is: How can I help? There are three things suggested at this time:
Spread Helpful Information: In a crisis, misinformation can spread quickly. We need to counter that by letting people know exactly what is going on, along with the resources available for help. The following are some links to share with business and the civic community:
Anything you can do to spread these messages will make a difference- along with the most important overall message, to STAY HOME.
Tell Us How You Can Help: Our State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) has set up an intake process for private sector offers to help during the COVID-19. Already we’re hearing a lot of offers for assistance to provide critical parts for emergency operations, additional masks, and other capital resources. If you have an idea for the way your business can help, please email: HSEM.email@example.com.
Send Us Your Ideas On What State Government Should Be Doing: We know there are lots of ideas in the business community on what state government should be doing, and we want to hear them. We’ve set up an online form for you to submit your ideas so that we can categorize them and get them to the right agency or individual. Submit your ideas here: https://bit.ly/2J2ozcA
SBA Disaster Assistance in Response to the Coronavirus
This morning, the U.S. Small Business Administration held a webinar on the current status of SBA funding for businesses impacted by the COVID-19 virus. Currently, MN Department of Employment and Economic Development are finalizing Minnesota’s eligibility. tps://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources
Unemployment Insurance Information
In order to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Governor Walz announced the temporary closure of Minnesota restaurants and bars to dine-in customers as well as the closure of other places of public accommodation and amusement. This order is effective March 17th at 5:00pm until March 27th at 5:00pm. The governor issues an executive order to help ensure that workers who are not able to work as a result have benefits available. Workers who are unemployed or who have hours reduced due to the COVID-19 outbreak are asked to apply for unemployment benefits online at https://www.uimn.org/.
COVID-19 and Cyber Security
As countries, states, and communities take preventative measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19, more businesses are allowing their employees to work remotely. It’s important to understand how this situation may affect you cyber-security hygiene. The following information outlines key points in keeping your business safe from cyber-criminals.