If you are a small business owner, you are probably keenly aware that the business climate has changed dramatically in our country in the past few weeks. How long these measures may last is a matter of hot debate, but their impact is already being felt by most businesses.
We have put together a list of resources for helping your livelihood weather the storm, and for getting support if you need it. We will keep updating this list, so please comment below if you know of something that we should include.
And remember: during a time of crisis, there are always unique opportunities. Finding and developing those opportunities may be not only beneficial to you, but also of service to your community. So keep calm, keep your eyes open, and keep your sanity by staying in virtual touch with your personal and professional networks!
Local Resources and Support
Movista, a local Bentonville company, has developed the supportlocalnwa.com online marketplace for purchasing gift cards from locally-owned small businesses in NWA. You can register your own business, and use the marketplace to help keep other local businesses going until we can all return to normal operations. These gift cards would make wonderful gifts for friends, family, and clients!
Hark at Endeavor Foundation has been connecting people to resources in NWA since 2017. Anyone can reach out to them for assistance with food, supplies, transportation, housing, legal needs, and more.
Many banks and credit card companies are offering reduced or waived fees, providing relief programs, or creating payment deferral programs for those affected by COVID-19.
If your bank or credit card issuer is not on these lists, consider calling them and asking what they are doing to help their customers weather the situation. If you can be prepared with a list of suggestions, you may be able to help yourself and thousands of other customers!
Facebook’s Small Business Grants Program has committed to $100M in cash grants and ad credits.
GoFundMe, Yelp, and QuickBooks have teamed up to create the Small Business Relief Fund to “provide micro-grants to qualifying small businesses negatively impacted by COVID-19.”
Government Relief and Tax Deferment
The IRS is providing 90-day extension of tax payment for both individuals and businesses. Individuals can delay making tax payments up to $1 million, and businesses can delay making payments up to $10 million. Taxes still must be filed by April 15, 2020, but owed taxes will not need to be paid until July 15.
The U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Disaster has approved a disaster declaration for the entire state of Arkansas. Businesses located in all counties in Arkansas can apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans. Startup Junkie has put together a guide to help apply for this loan program. Included are the steps to take, paperwork to have ready, and resources to make this process as easy as possible.
On March 18, Governor Hutchinson announced plans to allocate $12 million from the Community Development Block Grant fund and $4 million of the Quick Action Closing Fund to aid affected businesses.
For more information and other business assistance, contact the Arkansas Economic Development Commission:
Phone: 501-682-1121 or toll-free: 1-800-ARKANSAS
Tips for Small Businesses
Startup Junkie has a list of tips and information for ventures and small businesses, including restaurants, retail, professional services, and home services (like lawn care, cleaning, and repair work). Includes information you should be putting on your website, ways to make sure you are meeting your clients’ needs, etc.
Genet Jones, owner of The Thoughtful Wordsmith, has been writing for fun since 1989 and for profit since 2005. She also enjoys editing (yes, really), yoga, mountain biking, and exploring Northwest Arkansas.