The final installment of our three-part series written by Rebecca Small and Shawn Small.
On Friday, we shared information on the two programs that are intended to help you maintain payroll. However, businesses have other expenses besides payroll.
Though not an exhaustive list, the resources below can help you pay for things such as; fixing your broken cargo delivery bike, hiring a financial advisor to help you make a two-year plan, or buying camera equipment to create high-quality videos to take advantage of new streaming/remote/virtual business opportunities.
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More revenue resources
Generally speaking, direct donations and grants are the easiest and lowest-risk resources if you can get them. Forgivable loans (like the Paycheck Protection Program) can be as good as a grant if you can meet all of the conditions of the program. Zero-interest loans are the next best resources, followed by low-interest loans.
Gift Cards: Zero-interest mini-loans from your community
If you create any sort of product or provide any kind of service that someone would be happy to receive, it’s a great time to be promoting your gift cards. They will not provide as much financial support as a loan that you could take out from a bank, but they have some clear advantages.
Normally when you take out a loan, you’ll have to repay it plus added interest. And the risk is on your shoulders: if you fall behind, you could face late fees, penalty interest rates, or even damaged credit. Even in the case of the Fed’s small business Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans (which can be 100% forgivable if you fulfill all of the conditions) there’s still an element of risk for you.
A gift card, however, is a truly interest-free loan. When a customer purchases a gift card, they are essentially lending your business that amount of money until someone comes in to use it. Plus, the card holder kindly assumes the risk on your behalf: it is up to them to come redeem it. If they never use up the balance of their card, then they have effectively given you a tiny donation.
Your loyal customers are looking for ways to support their favorite local businesses right now. Give them a way! It’s an option for you even if you aren’t a bike shop or a manufacturer with a hard product to sell. Gift cards for race entries, bike fits, training sessions, or fun-ride events make great birthday presents and stocking stuffers. Remind people that it’s not too early to start their holiday shopping, and that getting someone a gift card for Christmas is much safer than getting them a Peleton.
Economic Injury Disaster Loans – $10,000 advances and low-interest loans
The Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EDIL) program is a low-interest loan program, offering a 3.75% interest rate for small businesses and a 2.75% rate for non-profits. It is not forgivable like the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans but it can be spent on a much wider range of expenses.
The program has been in existence since before COVID-19 but the federal C.A.R.E.S. Act made some updates to make it more responsive to the current crisis. First, the application process has been simplified, often requiring less than 15 minutes to complete. It also offers a $10,000 immediate advance that doesn’t have to be paid back – even if you’re . Supposedly the SBA will be delivering these advances within 3 days of application, but given the volume of applications you should expect some delay. (For example, Ruckus Composites submitted their application on Tuesday of last week and as of Monday morning have not yet received this advance.)
Prosper Portland’s Small Business Relief Fund Loans
Prosper Portland has announced that, starting this Wednesday, April 8th, Portland businesses with $5 million or less in annual gross revenue can apply for a zero-interest Small Business Relief Fund Loan up to $50,000 (not to be confused with their Small Business Relief Fund Grants, which closed last week). They have $1 million available for loans and will use a racial equity lens to prioritize support for the most vulnerable businesses. The application window closes April 11th and they expect demand will quickly outstrip funds. Here’s where you can learn more and sign up.
Other helpful tools
Oregon Small Business Navigator
A coronavirus-specific compilation of public and private resources for Oregon small businesses.
Oregon Community Fund Grant for Non-profits
Our excellent bike-related non-profits may want to consider applying to the Oregon Community Recovery Grant program, a community donor-sponsored program that will provide funds to nonprofit organizations in Oregon that are particularly affected by the outbreak of COVID-19.
The fundraising site GoFundMe will issue $500 matching grants to qualifying businesses that raise at least $500 on their platform. See more on their blog and FAQ page.
XXelerate is a local non-profit that seeks to support womxn-owned businesses through the pandemic response, economic tumult, and recovery through focused peer mentorship, loans, business coaching, and development. Check out their website for more info.
We hope this series has been helpful to you and that you have more tools to navigate through this storm. See the other two parts of the series here.
— Rebecca Small is a writer who translates policy and technical documents into stories and infographics for “fun”. Shawn Small is the founder/owner of Ruckus Composites and is navigating these issues right alongside his fellow small business owners.
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