For most Cape Cod small businesses these last few weeks have been the hardest in their existence. As business owners ourselves, the decisions and shifts we have had to make in and for our businesses have been incredibly challenging – nothing we ever thought we would ever face. The constant stream of information and emails arriving in our inboxes, the webinar invitations and the well-meaning words of advice are overwhelming and, quite frankly, really hard to understand sometimes.
After a couple of weeks of talking to experts, reading breakdowns, gathering information, listening in on conference calls and yes, attending webinars we wanted to share the resources that have been the most helpful for us in case it could help you just a little.
As you know both the federal and state governments have introduced multiple options from unemployment programs to small businesses loans to help the people and businesses of Massachusetts through the Covid-19 pandemic. Navigating all of these has been tough but this breakdown from Plymouth Rep Josh Cutler was helpful in making some sense of it all.
The CARES Act passed by the federal government included multiple business loans programs for our small business community that offer various forms of assistance. Some of the language and application forms have felt like reading hieroglyphics, but we found this video series with Inc. and the US Chamber of Commerce to be informative, and the representatives at SCORE Cape Cod to be very helpful in talking out the various scenarios available to us.
If you need help navigating your way through the actual loan applications be sure to lean on your local payroll processing company (shout out to Larry Drago and his staff at BizChecks Payroll for having our back) your accountants, and our local SBA lenders: Coastal Community Capital, Cape Cod 5, The Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod, and Seamen’s Bank.
In addition to protecting our public health, our state government has also been working to put forth some programs and policies to help small businesses weather this storm.
The Baker-Polito Administration authorized administrative tax relief measures that postponed the collection of sales, meals, and rooms taxes for March, April and May until late June, and none of the late payments would have any penalties or interest accrued. They also released $10million in state backed loans. However, that money ran out quickly, but word is there will be more coming.
From the beginning of all of this we have been advocating for a diverse relief package for the small businesses – one that includes more than just loans. So, it is nice to see state legislators propose other measures that include expanding insurance coverage and offering debt-free grants, such as Bill HD.4950, which establishes a “Small Business Recovery Grant Fund” to provide emergency funds not to exceed $50,000 to any Massachusetts-based businesses impacted by COVID-19; Bill HD.4985 which provides a $15,000 grant subsidy to micro-business owners across the Commonwealth; and Bill SD.2888, which requires the loss of use and occupancy and business interruption policies to include among covered perils resulting from a global pandemic.
We hope you’ll find these resources as helpful as we did, and if you need any help making sense of them, we are here for you. And when you are ready for some webinars on how to redefine your business and rework your marketing plan, check out EforAll Cape Cod – they’ve been putting out some great ones!