It took less than two weeks for the funds approved for small businesses through the CARES (Coronavirus Aid Relief & Economic Security) Act to run dry and for banks and lenders to close applications. Experts warned from the start that the money would not go far compared to the magnitude of the need, and that prediction rang true. With the country shuttered and the majority of states under stay-at-home orders with essential businesses closed for the foreseeable future, stress is mounting. Talks are already underway about a continuation of funding in an effort to halt the catastrophic economic impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, but at the moment the loans are on pause.
Everyone knows, and knew, the money was not enough, but as the reality of that sets in, the next question is inevitable: What happens now?
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I Applied But Don’t Know If I Got Funded. What Do I Do?
Unfortunately, if you filled out an application but have not yet spoken to a lender, it is unlikely you will receive funds during this round of aid relief. There are still a few approved businesses waiting on funds for disbursement, and there is no reason to believe approved loans will not receive their money soon. The entire roll-out of the relief money was met with glitches and hiccups, hindering small businesses from capitalizing on the hope the loans could bring. Those who received funding and those did not met different fates only by luck (or previous connections), leaving many businesses feeling abandoned.
What can you do? Now, more than ever, it’s important to stay on top of the current news cycle regarding loans and grants, tell your story, and lobby at the state level. (Some individual states have allocated stimulus grants independent of the federal government. Check with your state for options.)
I Didn’t Get The Funds. What Do I Do?
The only salve at this point is knowing that you and millions of others are fighting this storm together. However, as salves go, that’s not a very powerful one and I am not cut out for being the bearer of bad news. At the present moment, Congress is in discussion to fund another wave of loans and grants; however, it is not known if that money will go back into the PPP or EIDL programs or to other branches of suffering industries. The cherry on top: There’s been a lot of arguing.
It is easy to feel despondent when doors keep closing, but more than ever it is important for small businesses to tell the truth of their situation and work to amplify concerns.
We have seen a determined community effort nationwide to save the small businesses and band together to give where there is need. For all of the chaos in the world, between a dysfunctional government and a virulent disease, people want to help others. But at the moment, you will need to look outside of the Federal options to stay in business. We’ve heard from bosses desperate to pay their employees and watched as businesses rally to meet the needs of a changing landscape. However, your small business cannot survive this if it exists in a vacuum: Put a face and a narrative to your business and the people who depend on your business, and lift those voices high. Talk to your representatives in Congress. Use social media. Rally the people.
Also, get ready. If you were not one of the first ones to apply when the loans rolled out on April 3, you should absolutely be ready the second time around. (It is unclear, but at the moment, it would appear that businesses would need to re-apply if additional aid became available.)
What About The EIDL Program?
At the moment, all funding is paused and the loan money is spoken for; that goes for the forgivable PPP loans and the EIDL program. The EIDL program is closed to new applicants, but the SBA said it is still processing loans for businesses who have applied on a first-come, first-served basis.
Other Sources Of Small Business Funding
While you wait for the PPP and EIDL programs to be refunded, you are not without recourse. Check out our article on Small Business Loan Resources & Guides For Businesses Affected By The Coronavirus. Online lenders may still willing to work with you and issue loans with reasonable terms. If you just need to stay alive until the government can get its act together and re-fund the PPP and EIDL programs, you might try applying for a short-term loan.
Don’t give up. We’re all in this together. For more resources on taking your business online for now, choosing delivery apps, shipping, and keeping customers up to date during the coronavirus crisis, check out our full hub of Covid-19 resources for small business.
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