America’s Economy is Reopening but Small Businesses Face Continued COVID-19 Disruption and Uncertainty
America Consumer Credit Counseling is advising clients who are small business owners on how to prioritize their financial lives during the COVID-19 crisis
America’s small business owners face a long road to recovery as the U.S. economy begins reopening in all 50 states – and the challenge of balancing personal and business finances is creating unprecedented levels of stress. Budget and credit counselors from the nonprofit American Consumer Credit Counseling are spending more time helping small business owners prioritize their financial lives.
“The economic devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic means many small businesses may not survive,” said Steve Trumble, President and CEO of American Consumer Credit Counseling. “We hear from more and more small business owners every day. They are in the incredibly challenging position of trying to rescue a business while also dealing with lost personal income, emergency budgeting, depleted savings and credit issues.”
Federal emergency relief is available, but navigating the various programs and application requirements can be daunting.
The CARES Act, which was signed into law in late March, contained $376 billion in relief funds for American workers and small business owners – much of which is still being distributed. More relief is likely on the way. Small business COVID-19 relief options include:
- The Payroll Protection Program (PPP) – the PPP can provide small businesses with 100 percent loan forgiveness if they meet the criteria. The purpose of the loan is to provide an incentive for business owners to retain their workers. If all employees are kept on the payroll for at least eight weeks (75 percent of the loan), interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities, they will receive 100 percent forgiveness.
- EIDL Advance – Small businesses with temporary difficulties can apply for a loan up to $10,000 through the EIDL advance. This is a loan advance that small businesses will not have to repay.
- SBA Express Bridge Loan – Small businesses that already have a relationship with an SBA Express Lender can access a loan of up to $25,000. This loan can be used as a cushion while a small business waits for a direct SBA EIDL.
“Government relief is critical to these business owners, but they also need help managing their household budgets,” Trumble said. “It’s a double whammy when your household income is reliant on a business you own that has been shut down because of the pandemic.”
A March survey by ACCC found nearly 80 percent of all American consumers have been impacted financially by the COVID-19 crisis. The American Consumer Credit Counseling Financial Health Index demonstrated that “income security, financial stability and household debt levels are all major pressing issues” threatening American households, according to Trumble. That includes households supported either in part or entirely by a small business.
Counselors from ACCC are advising clients who are small business owners to:
- Take a complete inventory of all household financial assets and all sources of income.
- Establish clear separation between business income or revenue and financial obligations, and household or personal finance matters.
- Have cash on hand for the business to offset costs if the business takes an unexpected financial turn.
- Be sure to pay yourself and not just focus all finances on funding the business. Business owners still need salaries.
- If needed to ease the financial blow, try negotiating rent with the landlord.
About American Consumer Credit Counseling
American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) is a nonprofit credit counseling 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to empowering consumers to achieve financial management through credit counseling, debt management, bankruptcy counseling, housing counseling, student loan counseling, and financial education concerning debt solutions. To help consumers reach their goal of debt relief, ACCC provides a range of free consumer personal finance resources on a variety of topics including budgeting, credit and debt management, student loan assistance, youth and money, homeownership, identity theft, senior living, and retirement. Consumers can use ACCC’s worksheets, videos, calculators, and blog articles to make the best possible decisions regarding their financial future. ACCC holds an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and is a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®). For more information or to access free financial education resources, log on to ConsumerCredit.com or visit http://www.consumercredit.com/financial-education.aspx