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By James Pruitt, Senior Staff Writer

 

  • Learn the Practice of Mindfulness:

Mindfulness is a state of awareness. Through mindfulness, we focus on the task at hand. Regardless of  how simple the task, practitioners absorb themselves into every detail. Whether cleaning, preparing food, listening to music, or simply being, a mindful person lets go and concentrates on the moment

Running a small business may keep an owner in a constant state of distraction. Small business owners are inevitably busy multitaskers. However, in our routine we may carve out moments to melt into our surroundings and concentrate on the now. Hence, our down-time can become our time to relax and de-stress, rather than ruminate on what we cannot control.

  • Meditate:

Related to mindfulness is meditation. Time and place are the main distinctions. Business owners can set aside time each day for simple meditation. Mindfulness can be practiced anywhere.

Meditation can involve a methodology unique to the practitioner. Some write their feelings and thoughts on paper before the session. Afterward, many practitioners feel secure and tranquil to concentrate on emptying their thoughts. After the act of writing, the task of mentally working through burdensome responsibilities has already been done.    We strongly recommend checking out The David Lynch Foundation Meditation programs for Veterans.   There are also other excellent programs.

  • Practice Gratitude:

Always stay mindful of the positives in life. Whether great people, a fulfilling career path, or whatever blessings may grace you, the practice of gratitude adorns every setback with a silver lining. Gratitude helps maintain perspective, reminding the practitioner that better times loom ahead. Also, recognizing the positive is known to reduce stress and anxiety.

Many people keep gratitude journals and write down a certain number of things they are thankful for every night. Others write down their blessings and post them in a place where they will see them each day. We should refresh our sense of gratitude regularly. Gratitude gives us hope and perspective for the challenges facing us.

  • Use your Support System:

The pandemic has disrupted everyone’s personal interactions. Fortunately, nothing can take away our strongest supports.

Networking with peers helps many business owners. Other small business owners and associates may provide a source of meaningful interaction. Shared experiences can provide bonding.  Furthermore, peer groups can provide opportunities to exchange information. The resulting sense of meaning can help anyone who must plow through adversity.

Also, never forget friends and family. Despite the isolation of the pandemic, this generation has online resources to help remain connected. Finally, always practice gratitude for those who support you every day.

  • Relinquish Control when Necessary:

Stress tends to burden the most responsible people. Often, we feel that only we can do everything right, and achieve perfection according to our standards. Unfortunately, no one can attain perfection. Circumstances can foil the most well-laid plans, and we cannot always do a thing about it.   The Pandemic has certainly made this clear and that so much is out of our control.

Stay aware of priorities. Successful business owners recognize what they can and must control. Sometimes, the winds of change shift, and carry some of your goals with them. Proprietors should have the flexibility to adapt when necessary.

  • Delegate:

The need for control can overwhelm the most well-adjusted business proprietor. There is one good strategy to reduce the pressure of responsibility: delegate.

Business owners can exercise self-awareness by recognizing those tasks they may not enjoy or do well. Making a list may provide insight into those processes we can best assign to someone else. Consider who on your team may have a different skill base. Also consider routes for contracting out the most dread-inducing tasks. Thusly are built the most efficient organizations.

  • Remember You are Not Alone:

Innumerable strategies may alleviate stress during these difficult times. The pandemic is nothing if not unifying. We must all bear some of the same burdens for slogging through these difficult times. While in the end each of us bears different types of burdens, in the end self-care and kindness to ourselves will help us survive.

VAMBOA, the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association hopes that this article has been helpful.   We work hard to bring you important, positive, helpful and timely information and are the “go to” online venue for Veteran and Military Business Owners.  VAMBOA is a non-profit trade association.   We do not charge members any dues or fees and members can also use our seal on their collateral and website.   If you are not yet a member, you can register here:  https://vamboa.org/member-registration/

We also invite you to check us out on social media too.

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/vamboa

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/VAMBOA

 

Programs to Help Small Businesses During COVID 19

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By James Pruitt, Senior Staff Writer

 

Government Programs:

Federal Programs:

The Small Business Administration (SBA) continues as the wellspring for small business. Indeed, the pandemic has rendered the SBA even more important to the small business community. The SBA has branches in every state. Also look for Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs).

Small Business Development Centers provide free counseling to local entrepreneurs. These centers generally receive funding partially through the SBA and are administrated by local colleges and universities. SBDCs are an important go-to resource for entrepreneurs, providing diverse training and consulting resources.

CARES Act:

The CARES Act, passed in March 2020, remains a source of relief for small businesses. This legislation provided for a variety of relief programs in the wake of the Pandemic.

FEMA:

The FEMA National Business Emergency Operations Center can help any businesses with urgent concerns about continuity or delivery of goods. This office is available 24/7. The latest administration has partnered with FEMA to provide expanded services. These services include. vaccine support and information about best practices. A quick look at this website could provide you a myriad survival tools. See fema.gov for more details.

Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program:

The Small  Business Administration or SBA administers many programs, often in partnerships with other organizations. This program provides small loans up to $2 million. The amount of the loan must cover expenses due to the pandemic. These loans have extremely generous terms, with 30-year repayment Interest rates are 3.75% for businesses and 2.87% for nonprofits.

Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program:

Another SBA program streamlines paperwork for businesses with an SBA Express Lender. These lenders are generally banks and financial institutions. These institutions contract with the SBA to facilitate services on the SBA’s behalf.

SBA Government Contracting:

Many small businesses have contracts with the federal government. Contracts with the government in the past have not given much negotiating power to private-sector businesses. However, current circumstances have provided a degree of wiggle-room. The SBA’s Procurement Center Representatives are the go-to resource in this circumstance. The SBA website actually has a directory of procurement Center Representatives.

Useful Websites:

SBA Access to Capital:

All businesses need capital. This site provides numerous resources to keep your company running.

https://www.sbc.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/accesstocapital

Reimbursement of Medical Leave Costs for SMBs:

Inevitably, more employees have taken leave during the coronavirus pandemic. The IRS has tried to adjust. The following site provides guidelines for reimbursement of resulting tax expenses.

https://irs.gov/newsroom/covid-19-related-tax-credits-for-required-paid-leave-provided-by-small-and-midsize-businesses-faqs

State Programs:

Most states have individual websites to connect entrepreneurs with additional local COVID small business resources. Many states have multiple such resources from several organizations. A google search can provide varieties of additional resources in each state.

Private Organizations:

SCORE is a private educational organization for small businesses. Their website, www.score.org provides access to the largest network of small business mentors.

US Chamber of Commerce has been working with the US and various governments to provide businesses with up-to-date information about the pandemic.

Where to Get Help:

The SBA provides innumerable resources for veteran owned small businesses. However, opportunities do not stop with the SBA. Local organizations, public and private, can prove amazing resources. In everyone’s interest is keeping your business alive during this unexpected crisis. The show must go on. Often, the trick lies in recognizing the public and private resources available. These resources are wide and varied.  Keep an open mind, recognizing that better times come soon.

VAMBOA, the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association hopes that this article has been helpful.   We work hard to bring you important, positive, helpful and timely information and are the “go to” online venue for Veteran and Military Business Owners.  VAMBOA is a non-profit trade association.   We do not charge members any dues or fees and members can also use our seal on their collateral and website.   If you are not yet a member, you can register here:  https://vamboa.org/member-registration/

We also invite you to check us out on social media too.

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/vamboa

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/VAMBOA

 

Tips for Positive Pandemic Mental Health

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By James Pruitt, Senior Staff Writer

 

  • Consider Your Anxiety about Controlling Your Circumstances:

The pandemic is not your fault. Others will understand this in retrospect. Stay gracious for the gifts the universe gave you. Recognize any blessings that may surround you. Do not howl at the moon about whatever someone could do differently.   Find joy whenever and wherever you can.

  • Open Your Mind to New Methods of Outreach:

We are lucky to have the Internet, given pandemic restrictions about meeting in person. As many have discovered in the past few years, several online outlets provide avenues for connection. Google chat, Zoom and Facetime are among them.

Time with friends and family salves frayed nerves and depressed feelings. Circumstances with the pandemic seem to throw a wrench into our normal outlets. However, online interactions still provide meaning. Even day-to-day, a simple message may provide connection even for those not immediately living with friends or family.

  • Stay Productive:

The lack of a routine confounds many stuck at home. Remember the routine of waking up, eating breakfast, and commuting to the salt mines? Furloughed workers may relish these memories. Same for work-from-home employees. As many times as you may have pounded that snooze button, at least you had somewhere to go. The trip to work provided a new adventure every day.

The unexpected pandemic disrupted our workplace lives. Our sense of validation often comes from our accomplishments. During the crisis, we often must squeeze water from a rock. However, many of us have lists of projects that can fill our day. Consider the pandemic an opportunity to explore new horizons.

Learn an instrument. Practice a language. Redecorate your house. People need to feel useful. Small business owners should get creative about using down-time productively.

  • Do Not Compare Yourself to Others:

The Age of Social Media has brought new strains of peer pressure upon all of us. Now that so many spend so much time at home, the pandemic has exacerbated this stress. Social media is often the only outlet.

Remember, your friends on social media post what they find worthy to post. In the end, we all do. More power to all of us. And many of us not even on social media.

In an age when so many of us have “our own brand,” always remember that the online presences of others does not define us. We should stay confident of our own identity while respecting those of others.

  • Stay Mindful by Journaling:

Keeping a journal is healthy. You have likely developed some new routines during this period. Record your thoughts. Take the time to write down new recipes, insights, and feelings. Mindfulness keeps us aware of our ongoing mental states. Journaling can help with mindfulness. Day-to-day, records of your mental state could well prove benefits to your mental well-being.

  • Get Out of the House and Exercise:

The virus is weakest outdoors. Rather than going stir-crazy in the stuffy confines of our claustrophobic domiciles, simple walks outside do wonders for our mental health. Hikes, jogging, bicycling, and any number of activities can leave us with a new outlook and bring home a sense of relief. Just remember not to “share air,” as the new pandemic saying goes.

A few additional hints from Debbie Gregory, VAMBOA’s founder & CEO:

A few things that help me:   I make sure to acknowledge gratitude for the people in my life and all that I am grateful for each day.  It is nice to add it to your journal too.   This is a good way to begin your daily entry.   Almost every day, even if I am not going anywhere, I still shower, groom, dress nicely if only for me.   This helps me to be positive and when we look nice, we feel better, at least I do.    Once in a while, I do have a pajama day, but it is rare.  For me, it is better to make sure my clothes fit than to hang out in PJs or sweats.   I also go out of my way to make nice, healthy meals and exercise even when I cannot go outside with online classes, an elliptical or exercise bike.  Walking is the best.   The love, affection and devotion from our fur children is priceless too.    I also try to meditate at least once a day and find the joy where I can and often.  I am a glass is half full girl too.

VAMBOA, the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association hopes that this article has been helpful.   We work hard to bring you important, positive, helpful and timely information and are the “go to” online venue for Veteran and Military Business Owners.  VAMBOA is a non-profit trade association.   We do not charge members any dues or fees and members can also use our seal on their collateral and website.   If you are not yet a member, you can register here:  https://vamboa.org/member-registration/

We also invite you to check us out on social media too.

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/vamboa

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/VAMBOA

 

By Debbie Gregory.

LinkedIN Debbie Gregory VAMBOA VAMBOA Facebook VAMBOA Twitter

 

 

The federal Small Business Agency known as the SBA has a few new ways to help small businesses stay in business while we all navigate the COVID crisis. Thanks to H.R. 748 the SBA has been able to expand their loan programs with new offerings for small businesses as well as some specific options for large corporations.

 

What Other Assistance does H.R. 748 Provide?

 

The program also provides $17 billion dollars to small businesses that have existing SBA loans. These funds can be used to pay six months of principal and interest payments on existing SBA loans.

 

1.) Additionally, the program provides $10 billion dollars for disaster loans and emergency grants. Each of these types of loans are limited to $10,000 per small business. These types of loans are quite like the Paycheck Protection Program or PPP described in part one of this mini article series.  They can be used for other operational expenses beyond payroll, mortgage or rent, and utilities.   In theory, any small business that applies for an economic injury disaster loan receives an advance, within 3 days, of $10,000 regardless of whether they eventually are approved for the loan. This $10,000 advance does not need to be repaid either. The loan itself can be for up to $2 million dollars at a low interest rate (currently it is 3.75% for small businesses and 2.75% for nonprofit organizations). Repayment terms vary. You can apply for this loan directly from the SBA here> https://covid19relief.sba.gov/.

 

2.) The program also provides $265 Million dollars for SBA business development services. The SBA offers Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) that provide no-cost services for small businesses and entrepreneurs that will assist in critical business areas such as:

  • Consulting
  • Mentoring
  • Training services
  • Business development services
  • and much more

 

What Other Financial Assistance Programs Have Been Added for Businesses that Do Not Qualify for Other SBA Programs?  

 

The COVID-19 pandemic is having severe economic consequences all over the United States. Many larger businesses are ineligible for SBA programs. However, the goal of H.R. 748 is to assist large employers as well. Some of the additions that can help larger companies include:

 

1.) H.R. 748 states that the Federal Reserve can now make loans, as well as loan guarantees, to businesses not covered by other programs.  They can also now make loans to state and local governments. Unlike the SBA programs for small businesses, the Fed cannot forgive these loans and borrowers must repay them.

 

2.) H.R. 748 also provides the federal -19 pandemic. The funds are as follows:

 

  • $25 billion for loans to passenger air carriers
  • $4 billion for loans to cargo air carriers
  • $17 billion for loans to businesses critical to maintaining national security
  • $32 billion for additional financial assistance to air carriers and related employers (such as caterers and airport contractors)

 

Small Business or Large Corporation – if you need help to keep your business afloat while the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage across the United States, then check out what is available to you from the SBA and H.R. 748.   We advise that patience is in order.

 

If you are not yet a member of VAMBOA, the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association, we invite you to join.  Please be advised that there are not any dues or fees and you can use our seal on your collateral and website.   You may register for membership here:   https://vamboa.org/member-registration/ ‘’

 

Everyone stay safe and healthy!

 

By Debbie Gregory.

LinkedIN Debbie Gregory VAMBOA VAMBOA Facebook VAMBOA Twitter

 

Did you know that the Small Business Administration (SBA) helps small businesses obtain the loans they need? The federal SBA provides a wealth of financial assistance, and other services to small businesses across the United States. Recently they have added quite a few new programs to help thanks to H.R. 748.

 

How does the SBA determine whether or not your business is considered a small business? The SBA determines whether you are a small business using either your revenue numbers or your employee headcount (the headcount varies by industry).

 

The main SBA program most business apply and qualify for is a loan guarantee program. The SBA may repay a portion of the amount borrowed by qualified businesses in cases when the small business borrower cannot repay the loan. Loan guarantees reduce the overall risk to the lender, thus enabling the small business to obtain more favorable terms, such as a lower interest rate or longer term.

 

The SBA also directly makes low-interest loans to businesses and nonprofit organizations following declared disasters. A disaster loan may be for either covering repairs and replacement of physical assets damaged in a disaster or covering small business operating expenses after a disaster.

 

What is new?   H.R. 748 is!

In general terms, H.R. 748 provides $349 billion dollars for forgivable small business loans. This program is called the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and was designed to subsidize small businesses so that they can continue to pay their employees and overhead costs while their revenues have been reduced due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Unlike a typical SBA loan, businesses will not be required to repay these loans if the money is used exclusively to pay:

  • Employee wages
  • Employee benefits
  • Mortgage or rent for the business’s location
  • Utility bills for the business’s location

 

Instead, the loans will be forgiven after eight weeks. The business is required to clearly document how the money was used to ensure adherence to the loan program’s rules. If the business has not properly documented spending the loan money, or spent the money on other things, they will be required to pay all of it back in full at an interest rate of four percent (4%).

 

Is $349 Billion Enough to go Around? 

The program has enough to provide every eligible employer a forgivable loan for up to 2.5 months of payroll.   With this said many are receiving so much more including businesses that you might not characterize as small businesses.   For example, large public companies and major sports teams have received PPP funds and the the money has been depleted once already and refunded.

 

Who is Eligible for Assistance? 

All businesses and nonprofit organizations with fewer than 500 employees are eligible. There are also a few businesses that will qualify even though they have more than 500 employees. For example, a business may have more than 500 employees per location. Some sole-proprietors and self-employed people are also eligible for relief. Loans are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

 

How Much Money can you Get? 

You can qualify for about 2.5 times your average monthly payroll, or up to $10 million dollars. You do not even need to prove that you could potentially pay back the loan; instead, you simply need to prove that you have been running your business prior to February 15, 2020. This sometimes translates into the money going to businesses that don’t need it and there has been some widespread fraud.

 

Stay tuned for part 2 of this mini article series.   Part 2 will provide information on other assistance programs that H.R. 748 provides. There are even a few programs designed for specific types of large corporations.

 

VAMBOA, the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association believes that small veteran and military business owners should benefit first.   They made huge sacrifices for our nation.  We are disheartened to see huge corporations receiving this money and the program running out.

 

If you are not already a member of VAMBOA, the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association, please consider joining.  We do not charge dues or fees and members can use our seal on your collateral and web site.   Here is a link to register to join:  https://vamboa.org/member-registration/

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