I have served the Solo and Small Law Firm Committee for the Jacksonville Bar Association for two years now, and the experience has really changed me. I used to think of myself as a lawyer who owns a business, but now I identify as an entrepreneur who happens to be in the business of law.
So, to say that I was angry yesterday would be an understatement. In March, I truly believed this lifesaving CARES Act for small businesses (2-500 employees) was going to rescue so many small businesses from financial ruin. I was so proud of our government for finding a balance between health and protecting millions of Americans who have built their own small business, or those who work for small business owners.
Hearing the news that the hundred of billions of dollars is gone AND that huge, profitable companies received the lion’s share of the money was devastating.
We are lucky to have assets to scrape by. It’s going to be incredibly difficult. I won’t be able to pay myself for a while. But, I am willing to do that to make sure that my employees are paid. And I know that I am in the minority of business owners who can do this.
So what’s next?
Get ready. It appears that other programs are in motion and there are many other Plan Bs to consider.
Gather Your Documents for Quick Applications When the Time Comes
Continue to work with a lender or establish a relationship with a lender.
The word on the street is that PPP is paused, not totally over. It was explained to me that when you submit an application with a lender, the lender sends that to SBA via the E-TRANS and SBA sends back a loan number to be sent via ACH to your bank account.
In theory, your application is still good, and you may be one of the first considered when the program restarts.
But, consider applying through multiple lenders or opening a checking account with a new lender who had better luck.
Be clear on why you were not approved. We believe that our lender delayed the process, so we are moving on to another lender. It may be a differnet situation for you.
Note: banks can prioritize you based on past relationships.
Consider a Lender Who Is Not a Bank
Companies like Quickbooks, Square and other processing companies are working to be approved to be a “lender” for PPP when it is refunded. Look out for opportunities to apply through unusual lenders and make sure you act quickly.
Get Ready For More Loans to be Refunded
The Federal Reserve has announced the Main Street
The EDIL loan through SBA is still also not funded, but it could be soon. The application takes 15 minutes on a smart phone. Business can receive $10,000 with 3.75% interest (2.75% for non-profits). Note: Sole proprietors are eligible for this loan.
If you have already submitted your loan application and haven’t heard anything, call the hotline if it has been more than three weeks since you heard from them,
SBA also has a Debt Relief Program and Small Business Express Bridge Loan up to $25,000.
The MainStreet Lending Program was announced by the Federal Reserve and will be for companies with 500-10,000 employees. 75% must be used for payroll.
The US Chamber of Commerce Website, http://www.GrowWithCo.Com is staying up to date on what is happening. They have a ton of information.
Consider a Grant
Although a small amount, a grant is not repaid and can sometimes be a better deal.
The US Chamber of Commerce Fund announced the Save Small Business Fund. It will provide grants up to $5,000 and the applications open Monday, April 20th. Your business must be in an “Economically Vulnerable Area,” meaning the zip code on the application is not in the top 25% most affluent ZIP codes prior to COVID19 and has to have 3-20 employees. The application is designed to be completed in 10 minutes.
The Red Backpack Fund for women-owned businesses will reopen their grant applications soon and again offer $5,000 grants. 2-500 employees and majority women-owned are the only criteria to apply.
Grants.gov has other grants available.
Well, I think it’s time to have a talk with our elected officials. It is not uncommon for legislators to sneak something into law, but this loophole for the benefit of big businesses was or will be the demise of many small businesses. Exercise your right to vote out the people to blame.
Evolve and Keep Selling
In closing, let me say this…Out of all of this uncertainty, one thing is clear. Things will never be the same. I don’t shy away from change. I welcome the opportunity of it all. I have listened to a lot of entrepreneurs speak about their companies. Some of the best companies in the world were built during poor economic times. Use the opportunity to develop your online presence and sell.
Outline the services you provide and identify how they may be able to serve someone affected by the current crisis. American Bar Association (ABA) President Judy Perry Martinez said, “As the pandemic spreads, thousands of Americans will need help – not just with medical issues but also with legal issues including lost jobs, evictions, insurance claims, family emergencies and obtaining government benefits they need to survive.”
We anticipate a spike in demand for certain legal services, and this is an opportunity to proactively approach your clients who already trust you. There is so much opportunity here. Look at the opportunity, get creative and keep your referral sources informed of your work.
I am excited to announce that I am days away from launching an online educational program to help you accomplish just that: Leveraging Social Media for Lawyers and Professionals.
I wrote this program for lawyers, but anyone in a client-based profession can benefit from it. I have been developing this program for months, and I cannot wait for you to see it.
How would your life change if every client you worked with appreciated you, repsected you, and trusted you? No more toxic client relationships.
How would your business change right now if you not only understood the logistics of social media but could find your ideal client online and sell directly to them? FOR FREE?
How would your business change if you stopped marketing to everyone, and we able to pinpoint your ideal client who was ready to buy from you?
In my eight-part program, you’ll learn how to develop a clear personal brand, how to identify A+ clients, and how to sell directly to those clients online.
If this is something that you’re interested in, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with “SIGN ME UP” in the subject line. You will be the first to know when the course launches AND I will send a special discount for everyone who reads this post.
We are all in this together. If there is anything you want to know, message me and I will do my best to post as often as the information is available.