5 Tips for Maryland Businesses During the Coronavirus Outbreak - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

5 Tips for Maryland Businesses During the Coronavirus Outbreak

With Governor Hogan’s order for all non-essential businesses to close on Monday, many Maryland small business owners are wondering what will come next. For businesses not in exempted sectors, closure means lost revenue while many costs remain the same. To preserve cash reserves and stay afloat during this difficult period, Maryland businesses must take action by cutting costs, finding new sources of revenue, and researching available loan and grant opportunities.

Here are five ways for Maryland businesses to adapt during the coronavirus outbreak:

Be Thorough in Reducing Spending

Review your bank and credit card statements for any recurring expenses that can be cut like unneeded subscriptions, advertising spend, or equipment rentals. Also review staffing costs and if you have the difficult choice of laying off employees, contact your state’s rapid response team to help them find reemployment as soon as possible.

Find New Sources of Revenue or Ways to Sell

If you depend on in-store customers, consider ways you can adapt your offerings. For example, coffee shops have been grinding and packaging coffee with custom labels for sale to loyal customers. If you have a furniture business, you could display items online and set them aside for customers who purchase them for after the novel coronavirus subsides.

Some businesses have even begun creating totally different goods. For example, factories have begun manufacturing respirators to meet demand and breweries have begun making purell instead of alcohol. 

Contact Lenders, Credit Card Companies, and Suppliers to Extend Deadlines 

If you currently have an outstanding loan and cannot make payments due to lost sales, reach out to your lender or credit card company, explain your situation, and see how you can negotiate repayment deadlines.

Similarly, if you have a supplier to pay and are low on cash reserves, see if you can renegotiate deadlines or terms. Lenders, credit card companies, and suppliers are likely dealing with other small businesses going through similar circumstances and would rather delay payments than incur defaults.

Research Maryland State Fund and Grant Opportunities  

To assist Maryland small businesses during this turbulent time, Governor Hogan has announced three state funds that offer loans or grants to struggling businesses.

The COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Fund provides $7 million to small businesses to prevent them from laying off employees.

The Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Loan Fund provides $75 million in loans to small businesses in amounts up to $50,000 to help offset coronavirus-related revenue loss.

Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grant Fund offers $10,000 grants from a $50 million fund for small businesses that have lost revenue.

In addition, public and private organizations like Facebook are offering cash grants to small businesses to help them through this difficult time. Research opportunities like these in addition to state, local, and SBA fund opportunities.

Consider Small Business Administration Loan Programs 

The SBA is currently offering disaster loans to 37 states and counting with low interest and extended repayment periods. Learn more about the SBA Disaster loan program and how to apply to acquire necessary funds for your business to keep operating during this period.

The United States Senate has also passed a stimulus bill directed at rejuvenating the economy, with special provisions for small businesses. Specifically, payroll tax credits, emergency loans and grants, and payroll check protections are being offered. Once this bill has been signed and enacted into law, this will further help Maryland small businesses.

This is a difficult time for small businesses in Maryland and across the country but Americans are rallying from local organizations to the federal government to ensure small businesses get through it. Take advantage of these tips and resources to help your small business’ chances for success.

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