In light of recent events, small businesses in North Carolina have been hit hard by required curfews and mandatory closures imposed by the government. While isolation may be essential in slowing the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), local businesses across the state have been losing millions of dollars due to the rapid decline in patronage.
To offset this cataclysmic crash in business, the U.S. government, larger corporations, and private institutions are currently working around the clock to provide funding and grants for small businesses impacted by the coronavirus. These programs include temporary immunity from eviction, loan deferment, grants, and no/low interest rates on loans.
“Health and government officials are working together to maintain the safety, security, and health of the American people,” states the US Small Business Association. “The SBA will work directly with state Governors to provide targeted, low-interest loans to small businesses and non-profits that have been severely impacted by the Coronavirus.”
In 2018, a U.S. Chamber of Commerce survey revealed that over one-third of small businesses employing fewer than 500 workers lacked the funds necessary to cover emergency expenses. Now, after going weeks and potentially having to last months without customers, any emergency funds have been completely depleted for most businesses. This, in turn, leads to employees being laid off and local businesses that rely on the support of their clientele to be shut down—possibly permanently.
Thankfully, there is currently a considerable selection of loans and services available through the SBA for small business owners from any state to review, with plans varying based on each business’s individual needs. According to the U.S. Small Business Association, “small business owners in all U.S. states and territories are currently eligible to apply for a low-interest loan due to Coronavirus.”
Loans through the SBA can begin as low as $5,000 and can peak at $5,000,000. For a small business to qualify for a loan through the SBA, all they have to do is sign on to the SBA website and speak with a participating SBA-approved lender to determine how much funding their business qualifies for. The turnaround time for loan approval in this time of emergency can be as low as thirty-six hours.
Additionally, many small business owners may greatly benefit from moving their services online or curbside. Giving customers the option to do their shopping online and then have it delivered to their front door or to pick it up in front of the shop allows customers to still patronize a small business while respecting rules of isolation and population control.
Moore County business owners are encouraged to keep their eyes peeled for upcoming news regarding small businesses in the state of North Carolina. Local agencies, including Sandhills Community College, have been offering advice and resources through the form of online meetings and webinars (online interactive seminars) to assist Moore County residents in making the transition to working online for the time being.
If you are the owner of a small business and would like more information on how you can receive additional help, please visit www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans.