August 06, 2020 | Marlin Staff Writer

Recovery from a pandemic is a marathon, not a sprint. If your small business made it until states began to open or partially reopen, you already have a lot to be proud of.

After all, COVID-19 hit small businesses extremely hard, drastically reducing their access to capital and supply chains. Plus, changing market demand forced many businesses to shift their product and service offerings with little notice or preparation.

Maybe you were one of the 4.2 million businesses that received emergency loans from the Small Business Administration through the CARES Act. Or maybe you’ve relied on your firm’s inherent grit to innovate and pivot in response to the crisis. Maybe you had an emergency contingency plan that you put into play when the pandemic first hit.

No matter your situation, there is a growing number of programs to help small business owners recover, from grants to emergency loans. If your small business is in need of assistance, consider the following government resources, SBA programs, and grants available to help keep your doors open.

  • Paycheck Protection Program: Through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the SBA will forgive loans if you kept employees on payroll for eight weeks and used the money for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities. Apply through your existing SBA 7(a) lender or a participating federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, or Farm Credit System institution. This program has closed and reopened during the pandemic, so check to see whether it is available for your company now.
  • Small Business Administration Debt Relief: Do you currently owe fees for 7(a), 504, or microloans? As part of its COVID-19 debt relief efforts, the SBA will pay six months of principal, interest, and associated fees for you.
  • Main Street Lending Program: For eligible borrowers, this Federal Reserve program offers three different secured four-year term loan options with deferred principal and interest payments. Unlike PPP loans, these are not forgivable, so you will have to pay them back.
  • Programs at State and Local Levels: Your state and local agencies might also offer assistance or funding through the SBA. Click here to explore those options.

As you’re bouncing back from the COVID-19 pandemic, you are not alone. These government resources, SBA programs, and grants can help you power through this transition to a new normal. As a next step, consider updating or developing your emergency contingency plan to crisis-proof your small business.