By Charlestien Harris
For many entrepreneurs, opening a business is truly the realization of a dream – one that has likely taken months or years to be realized. Yet in the midst of this dream, a nightmare has occurred. Few business owners likely had “global pandemic” as something to worry about in their business plans, but here we are.
According to Veem, a global payments network, eighty-one percent of small U.S. businesses surveyed expect the coronavirus pandemic to affect their bottom line over the next 12-16 months, and nearly 90% are bracing for an economic slowdown. Though that likely comes as no surprise to anyone reading this.
Across the country, small business owners are facing a tough battle when it comes to saving their dream. Whether faced with closure or partial closure orders, a fearful customer base, difficult to navigate government lending programs, or simply a shortage of cash savings, American entrepreneurs are facing a huge threat, the likes of which hasn’t been seen in over a century.
Although many programs have started and ended with political debates ongoing, there are still resources available today that can help. However, it may require digging to find those that are right for your business.
Here is a short list of websites and organizations that can offer assistance to small business owners in distress during the pandemic:
www.sba.gov; www.arkansasready.com; https://www.facebook.com/business/boost/grants; www.afcpe.org; www.consumerfinance.gov/coronavirus/; www.banksouthern.com/covid19/; www.arkansasedc.com/covid19; www.entergy.com/covid-19/arsmbiz/.
Of course, if you have a banking relationship, it’s always good to stay in touch with your bank to see what resources they can offer, and if you don’t have a banking relationship, now is definitely the time to start one.
There are more than twenty-seven million small businesses in this country, and they generate about 50 percent of our gross domestic product (GDP). Small businesses contribute to local economies by fostering growth, innovation and adding to the tax base of the local community in which the business is located. They also help stimulate economic growth by providing employment opportunities. This is an impact that just can’t be ignored, and it’s why one of the most important resources for our small businesses is the general public.
Small business is vital to our community; therefore, we must all do our part. Shop local safely, order from local restaurants, recommend a local shop to a friend, and encourage your own company to buy local. This is very much a moment that requires us all to work together, so that small businesses can endure this pandemic. Once the nightmare has ended, entrepreneurs can get back to the business of turning dreams into reality. Until next week, stay financially fit!