A month ago, I didn’t know what “social distancing” was. A week ago, I flew to New York City to teach at IECSC. I arrived on the redeye on Saturday morning. I went out for a slice of New York’s best cheese pizza, then went back to my hotel. At 4pm, New York had declared a state of emergency. The Javits Center needed to be emptied of all exhibitions so that this massive conference center could be used as triage for Coronavirus screening if needed. IECSC New York was cancelled, and I was back on a plane to Seattle on Sunday morning. It was the most expensive slice of cheese pizza I have ever purchased. This was the first impact the Coronavirus has had on my business. This doesn’t really compare to what many of you are experiencing in your businesses. Many of my clients are reporting a decline in sales upwards of 75%. Like you, now I know what social distancing is. Let’s not be naïve. This is going to affect us. We don’t know how much or how long.
We have heard that the SBA is making funds available to small business owners under a special new program. Information is available on their website (https://www.sba.gov/disaster-assistance/coronavirus-covid-19). When I spoke with a couple of local bankers yesterday, they had not received any information about this program or how to administrate it. It seems like this program is a work in progress. A different and established program, the “SBA Express” funds loans up to $350K on a line of credit and is a relatively simple application process. Initially, it is interest only and then converts to a term loan. This might be a better and more expedient loan for you to pursue. You can submit an application at any SBA bank or lender. Prior to applying, put together three years of business financials, tax returns, and a personal financial statement. Be aware and prepared to explain any non-favorable issues on your credit report. Also, be able to articulate how you intend to use the funds.