Robert Trosten: How to support small businesses through the crisis caused by COVID-19?

The Coronavirus pandemic has caused massive devastation to businesses across the globe, leading to their shutdowns. Several companies cannot operate on the work-from-home model, and they suffer the most during emergencies like this. The marketing agencies that promote small business clients also experience the jolt in effect. But it is not too late. Governments of the respective countries have come up with relief packages for small businesses that are having a hard time surviving this virus outbreak. Besides, entrepreneurs and development organizations can also step in to help them in this challenging time. Here are some suggestions that can prove useful in this context. Let’s explore them quickly.

Things to do to help small businesses in coronavirus crisis by Robert Trosten

Make survival a priority

Usually, any development organization focuses on the growth of small companies. However, under dire circumstances, the perspectives have to change and emphasize business survival. Survival strategies can be multi-faceted. For instance, financial management for resilience can be one of the priorities. It involves predicting a variety of economic scenarios and looking for means to cost-cutting without hampering future growth. Another is searching for fresh revenue avenues, such as moving to an essential item category or providing safe deliveries. You can also use government relief packages and loans in the best way.

Provide emotional support

Small business owners can suffer from extreme emotional distress due to challenging times and fail to make critical decisions. For them, you have to create a space where they can vent their experiences and find support. You have to reassure them everything is going to get fine. It will help them keep patience and jump at the right opportunity when required.

Accelerate remote learning

Due to social distancing and lockdown, staff and entrepreneurs cannot attend workshops. But you can arrange distance learning sessions to support them. For this goal, you can resort to popular communication tools, such as Zoom, Skype, Google DUO, WhatsApp, phone calls, and even radio. If you are using a digital platform, keep your content short, exciting, and easy to consume. You have to find ways to impart behavior change techniques to the small business owners so that they can put that into practice. 

Create digital groups or communities

There is a need to build remote communities of entrepreneurs. Platforms for this purpose can include WhatsApp, Facebook, etc. When they share challenges in groups, they may not only discover plausible solutions but emotional support too. The group can consist of several suppliers, manufacturers, and others so that products become more accessible. At the same time, the training group can continuously remind people to maintain a safe distance and look after their health to avoid infection and its spread while interacting with customers and suppliers.

Take actions

As Robert Trosten would put it, you have to act now. Timely response to crises is essential. The scale and scope of the pandemic effect are unknown, and it is a challenging situation for thousands of entrepreneurs across the world. However, if you look at the records, with the right support at the right time, businesses have survived, or their chances of survival became better. For inspiration, you can look at the condition of Nicaragua’s economy between 2018 and 2019. The country’s political turmoil disrupted almost 1/3rd of the small businesses across the nation, while 90% of them were able to survive.

A quick view of the estimations shows that revenue would have dropped by 26% more in the absence of new techniques and support. Hence, this can be the guiding light.

Government measures for American small businesses by Robert Trosten

The spread of COVID-19 has caused the US government to take specific steps to benefit small businesses and its citizens. Having awareness about them is crucial so that you can help these units practically. For example, small businesses and private and non-profit organizations can access statewide loan programs that the government will roll out to help them cope with the pandemic’s damage. The disaster loan initiative will lend up to USD $2 million for the sustenance of the businesses facing massive revenue loss. Small companies will have to pay a 3.75% interest rate, while non-profits will get the same amount for 2.75%.

There are also tax relief programs. Businesses making USD $10 million can clear their tax by July 15, 2020, due to the extended deadline. Then, many American states and cities have launched their relief programs for small business units and non-profits to enable them to see through the aftermath of the pandemic. For example, a business in New York with less than 100 staff and a revenue decline of 25% or more can apply for a USD $75,000 loan without any interest rate. In San Francisco, you have COVID-19 Small Business Resiliency Fund for small businesses to get up to USD $10,000 for salary and rent disbursal.

Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program in Florida is there, whereby small business owners can seek between USD $50,000 and USD $1,00,000 loan amount in some instances.The state of Massachusetts has initiated the Small Business Recovery Loan Fund for businesses with less than 50 workers. They can seek up to USD $75,000 in relief.

Besides, the US government’s Paycheck Protection Program is another program with $350 billion of funds for small businesses with less than 500 staff members. The amount given to these companies is forgivable loans. Additionally, there will be a CARES act to forgive the current administration loans of the small business. If exempted, they will not have to pay a credit for the upcoming six months.

During a crisis, it is essential to support the other entities that are struggling for their survival. If you can help one or two businesses during such times or even take specific steps for your well-being, you can hope to sail through the aftermath of the pandemic. Just make sure you keep yourself agile and flexible. Also, learn about all the policies and grants that can give your business nirvana. All these efforts can eventually pay off.