small business coronavirus resources

10 Important Small Business Resources to Help You Survive the Coronavirus Pandemic

Gene Marks

Millions of small businesses in the U.S. are having to navigate new issues like never before. The Coronavirus pandemic is creating significant disruptions to both supply chains and demand. Some of my clients have been forced to close their doors due to area-wide quarantines, while others are seeing orders stop and work not getting done. The impact of this outbreak will most likely last for months, but there are plenty of small business resources you can turn to for business management support. Here are the small business resources I’m relying on:

Small Business Resources

1. News Sites

I’m interested in unbiased, factual news that will help me figure out what’s going on and what steps to take to protect my business and employees. Of course you can find continuous updates on most of the major sites like The New York Times and CNN, but I’ve been relying even more on the Center for Disease Control’s website. The AP News site is also very straightforward and timely. And one you might not think to go to is LinkedIn – they’ve put together a great small business resource center, which is a website with news and other information for both owners and employees.

coronavirus small business resources

2. Small Business Administration Loans

The Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering direct Economic Injury Disaster Loans for up to $2 million with interest rates ranging from 2.75% to 3.75% depending on the nature of the organization. The funds can be used to pay debts, payroll, payables and other operating costs for impacted small businesses. The loans can be paid back over as many as 30 years and payment periods are negotiated on a case by case basis. The SBA is also making available a $10,000 “advance” on the Economic Injury Disaster Loans for all applications and the advance will be forgiven if the loan application is rejected. If you have received money under an SBA program in the past you can also quickly apply for an SBA Express Loan for up to $25,000.

3. Federal Relief

The Federal government passed the CARES Act in late March and part of that act includes $349 billion set aside to help small businesses through its Payroll Protection Program. The program allows small businesses to borrow up to $10 million (using a formula based on a multiple of historical payroll) and receive forgiveness for any amounts used over an 8-week period for payroll, rent, utilities and mortgage interest. The loans come through a bank, which are guaranteed by the Small Business Administration. Any amounts left outstanding must be paid back within two years and carry a one percent annual interest rate.  If you’re looking for a loan calculator, The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants has helpful resources for small businesses.

coronavirus small business resources

4 . Internal Revenue Service

To alleviate the burden of this pandemic, the IRS has announced an extension in tax filings for 90 days for most taxpayers. More tax relief is likely on the way, particularly regarding the tax credits mentioned above. To stay current, be sure to check in regularly on the IRS and Treasury Department’s Coronavirus updates, available on their websites.

5. State Updates

Most restrictions on commerce have been handled locally, which means that it’s imperative for business owners to check frequently with their states’ websites for updates. For example, California’s Department of Industrial Relations gives very detailed guidance on the state’s paid and sick leave requirements, which differ (like many other states) from federal rules. New York State has continued to update their residents regularly as they’ve dramatically reduced the number of businesses allowed to stay open and implemented more rules for workers who need to take time off. Pennsylvania is tracking the number of Coronavirus cases in its commonwealth and providing both employers and residents rules and guidance. Here’s a helpful listing of every state’s Coronavirus site to help you figure out what local rules apply to you.

6. Chambers of Commerce and Business Communities 

Business groups around the country are pitching in to help provide small business resources during this financial crisis. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has an excellent “toolkit” that provides graphics and messages you can use to communicate with your employees. The National Federation of Independent Businesses is providing live updates of legislation that will affect its members. Local chambers of commerce, like Michigan and Florida, have also set up informational sites about the pandemic that are geared specifically for members in their regions. Indiana’s IndyChamber is offering webinars, updates, answers to frequently asked questions and legal support. If you’re a merchant or restaurateur, it’s imperative to visit the Coronavirus sites that have been setup by the National Retail Federation and National Restaurant Association. These sites are full of helpful information specifically geared to your industries and include links to other sites that provide advice for cleanliness and safety.

7. SCORE Counselors and SBDC

Both SCORE and the U.S. Small Business Development Centers are affiliated with the Small Business Administration and provide no-cost consulting and other small business resources. These organizations offer Coronavirus resources on their websites, but I think the best way to leverage them is to call on their counselors and consultants for tactical advice to help navigate you through this crisis. Many of the people working for SCORE have provided expert assistance for small businesses for years, and now is certainly a good time to tap into that experience.

coronavirus small business resources

8. Banks

Different than the 2009 economic crisis, this outbreak hasn’t yet caused a slowdown in capital availability. Many of my clients have reported that their bankers have proactively been reaching out to offer help. Large banks, as well as local independent and community banks, are aiding their small business customers with extended terms, more credit and even debt relief. My advice is to reach out to your bank and find out how they can help you through any potential cash crunch caused by this crisis. Here’s a great list of some of the largest banks and what small business resources they’re providing.

9. Other Loans

Some local non-profit firms, like Empowering Small Business in Massachusetts or the Carolina Small Business Development Fund, have set up capital resources to help local small businesses recover from the crisis. States like Massachusetts and New Mexico have created special loan programs to assist their small businesses. Online lenders like Kabbage are offering innovative programs where people can contribute gifts to small businesses. More states and nonprofits are offering help every day, so be sure to keep an eye out.

10. Corporate America

Big companies are pitching in to help provide small business resources. Facebook is offering $100 million in cash grants and ad credits to help small businesses drum up demand. Microsoft, Google, Zoom and Slack are giving out free (or significantly reduced) licenses to companies that need their technology for managing the increasing numbers of work-from-home employees. Amazon has established a relief fund for Seattle small businesses and is also offering free rent at its offices. Shark Tank entrepreneur Mark Cuban announced that his employees will be reimbursed for any lunch and coffee purchases from local, independent small businesses.

Small Business Resource Guide

We’ve put together a comprehensive state-by-state small business resource guide with COVID-19 resources and relief options to help you keep your business open during this trying time.

Of course, none of these resources by themselves will ease the pain of this economic downturn, but a few may help. I believe this is a short-term challenge and the goal is to survive all that’s thrown at us until this situation gets behind us and we can get back to business.

Next Steps: Want to learn more? Sign up for the Small Biz Ahead newsletter to receive a weekly roundup of the latest tools, trends, and resources. 

38 Responses to "10 Important Small Business Resources to Help You Survive the Coronavirus Pandemic"
    • Kjersta Hunteman | March 28, 2020 at 5:48 pm

      I’m an independent hairstylist who rents a space in a salon suite. I have been closed because I am a non essential business. I am possibly going to be closed for about a month without income. What am I eligible for???

    • Hang Le | April 2, 2020 at 3:35 pm

      Thank you for your information.

      • Hannah Stacy | April 3, 2020 at 8:33 am

        Thank you for the comment!

    • Deborah Eastman Gilbert | April 2, 2020 at 3:35 pm

      Thank you!

      • Hannah Stacy | April 3, 2020 at 8:33 am

        Thanks for reading!

    • Suha Hassan | April 2, 2020 at 4:21 pm

      Thank you for the great resources

      • Hannah Stacy | April 3, 2020 at 8:34 am

        Thanks for taking the time to read this!

    • Lisa Jensen | April 2, 2020 at 4:30 pm

      Thank you for providing straightforward, unbiased and comprehensive information.

      • Hannah Stacy | April 3, 2020 at 8:34 am

        Thanks Lisa. Happy to offer assistance!

    • Brian Lee | April 2, 2020 at 5:04 pm

      Thank you very much

      • Hannah Stacy | April 3, 2020 at 8:34 am

        Thanks for the comment Brian!

    • David Mills | April 2, 2020 at 6:08 pm

      I own and work at my hair salon, which closed on March 22nd. I’ve read and heard a lot about helping small business but the hair business is a bit more unique. We, like most salons, are commissioned based. We don’t have paid sick leave or much if any vacation pay. I understand, I could apply for a low interest business loan but that’s not a great fit for my small business. Like most Hair Salons, this creates a whole other issue once this crisis calms down. We will have to deal with paying back a loan 8-12 weeks later while struggling to get back in our feet. I would appreciate any guidance while navigating these uncharted waters but I don’t want to drown in the process.

    • yenis vasquez | April 2, 2020 at 7:27 pm

      That’s a big help.

      • Hannah Stacy | April 3, 2020 at 8:35 am

        Happy to hear that!

    • Joseph Ilvento | April 2, 2020 at 7:52 pm

      I like to see if I qualify for any programs to aid me and my business

    • Dusty C Costa | April 2, 2020 at 8:11 pm

      Is there any information on the Main Street Loan?

    • David Cochran | April 2, 2020 at 8:22 pm

      Thanks

    • Kris Hammond | April 2, 2020 at 9:56 pm

      There are segments of commission paid workers where things don’t fit unless I just can’t find it. i.e. realtors, travel agents.

    • James Mitchell | April 3, 2020 at 8:49 am

      Besides the federal options are there any resources available from the state of Georgia?

    • Gene Marks | April 3, 2020 at 9:01 am

      COSTA

      The only two loans you should be focusing on is the Economic Injury Disaster Loan  and the Paycheck Protection Program loan/grants – there is info for both on sba.gov and here is another doc that will help

      https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/PPP%20Borrower%20Information%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf

    • Gene Marks | April 3, 2020 at 9:02 am

      Response to Mills:

      Both the EIDL and Paycheck Protection loans will help you subsidize your costs through this (hopefully) short term pandemic event. For the PPP you can get some costs – rent, utilities, your payroll – forgiven.  More info is here: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/PPP%20Borrower%20Information%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf

    • Gene Marks | April 3, 2020 at 9:02 am

      Response to Hammond:
      Those workers are encouraged to apply for unemployment with their state. The rules have been changed to include independents.

    • Ann I Jewell | April 3, 2020 at 10:27 am

      Thank you for the information!

    • Jenny Dinh | April 3, 2020 at 1:10 pm

      I am looking for the help from the government so far, but only PPP and Economic Injury Disaster Loan is for my business. However; I can’t find a certified SBA to apply? Can you help me with this?

    • Ali savarnejad | April 3, 2020 at 2:20 pm

      My bank is Chase and they informed me to wait for our email to apply for PP Program. Do I have to wait for their next email or I have to approach another source to apply?

    • ritafederico | April 3, 2020 at 5:09 pm

      I HAVE 2 WORKERS FULL TIME BUT ONE EMPLOYEE IS ON HOME CONFINEMENT DUE TO HIS WIFE WORKING WITH SOMEONE WITH CORONA . HE IS KNOW COLLECTING UNEMPLOYMENT, CAN I STILL GET HELP WITH SMALL BUSINESS LOAN?

      THANK YOU

    • Vicki | April 3, 2020 at 8:07 pm

      Thank you for the information. Always like to scan your online publications. But…The news sites you recommended have a proven history of fake news! Since we value the information you provide small businesses, please provide the best most reliable. We small businesses pride ourselves in being honest, upfront, reliable and consistent. Thank you!

    • Trang Lu | April 4, 2020 at 9:06 am

      Thank you

    • Donna Geffner | April 4, 2020 at 2:46 pm

      I have a small private practice in audiology. I will be with no clients for two to three months. I have rent to pay and stipends to part time workers. Can I apply for a loan forgiveness to cover rent? or can I apply for unemployment as a sole practititioner?
      Donna

    • Quynh tran | April 4, 2020 at 7:07 pm

      Im a small business owner. I wonder if the insurance i purchase has cover. The state they demand us to shut down for 30 days. Thank you

    • Harry Patel | April 6, 2020 at 12:34 pm

      Do not wait to apply for PPP loan or EIDL loan. SBA working around clock to process those application. I have prepare all document in advance and submit my PPP loan application Friday night then My bank had work over the weekend Now I just got email that my loan from SBA is approved and waiting for fund transfer process.

      You can visit SBA site where you can find other approve vendor for loan process you my have to submit more documents then your relationship bank. But you should not wait to start process, if you want to wait you can but get all information ready and fill application so when your bank start processing you already have document ready to submit.

    • Gene Marks | April 6, 2020 at 2:05 pm

      For James Mitchell
      best bet is to check your state’s website for any updates.

      For Ritafrederico
      yes you can – apply with an SBA banker asap.

      For Ali Savarnejad
      you should consider another resource for an SBA loan

      For jenny Dinh
      there is a lender search engine on sba.gov. also google for sba bankers in your area. also consider kabbage.com

      For Donna geffner
      yes, you can apply for unemployment or you can apply for paycheck protection – your income subject to self employment tax qualifies as compensation

    • Small business Coronavirus guide | April 8, 2020 at 1:04 pm

      Thank you for the information. Great list for small business resources. We can beat this virus soon.

    • Shannon | April 10, 2020 at 2:32 am

      Here’s my dilemma: My business is not showing economic injury at this time. If I apply for the EIDL, I doubt it will be approved based on my current financials. However, I’m very nervous 3-6 months down the road, when my delayed sales cycle finally peters out, all the money allocated for these loans will be gone, or the queue with the SBA will be so long, it will be hopeless. I’ve considered just approaching my bank about a traditional credit line, hoping interest rates will drop, or that they are will be a bit more lax and generous than they previously were because they would rather have the product stay in house than see another customer go to the SBA. I don’t know…it’s all so confusing what the best bet is right now.

    • Annalucy Veneziano | April 12, 2020 at 11:14 pm

      as a small business owner and being an independent contractor, can we apply for unemployment?

    • Gene Marks | April 14, 2020 at 1:17 pm

      For Annalucy Veneziano:

      Yes, you can apply for unemployment as an independent contractor. Be patient though, as most states are still trying to figure out how to accommodate non-employees who apply for unemployment.

    • Robert | May 5, 2020 at 9:32 am

      I applied long ago for the PPP and Disaster small loan and I believe it’s all been lost in the big grab bag of the Elite’s….Makes me sick to my stomach to see millions going to a Stupid, Worthless Basketball Team….

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