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Post-Pandemic Opportunities

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By James Pruitt, Senior Staff Writer

  • The Pandemic is the Time to Snag Deals for your Business:

Sadly, many businesses will fail during the pandemic. Inventory from these businesses may spread far and wide across the market. Bargain hunters can rejoice. Like a phoenix arising from its ashes, new businesses can feed on the detritus from this economic event.

The pandemic has slowed or even shut down sectors of the economy. This downtime can provide opportunities to adapt to changes to come. Failing businesses from this past cycle may provide starter kits for new endeavors going forward. A veteran business owner may have discovered a recipe they can sell online. Perhaps a restaurant has failed and must unload cooking equipment. A budding home entrepreneur can make a deal to each party’s mutual benefit.

Looking for a cheap forklift for your new warehouse? Google it, or check MachineryTrader.com.

Paradoxically, dire economic circumstances provide opportunities to adapt and flourish in a new environment. As the marketplace changes, feel free to take advantage. The pandemic has spilled cheap equipment and inventory widely across the economy. Efficient use of these resources helps everyone.

  • Opportunities to Adapt to New Paradigms:

On a related note, consider the nature of new businesses post-pandemic. The “downtime” from this economic shutdown may provide opportunities to consider new directions moving forward. Especially notable, experimentation with “at-home work” has called the traditional workplace into question. Furthermore, the pandemic has accelerated the digitalization of economic life.

Shares of companies such as Zoom and Netflix ballooned after March of 2020. Consider the topography of the economy in years to come. What about the next time consumers must “shelter in place?” What companies will support these new demands as further crises occur? What companies will support these companies?

With the Pandemic, we are seeing shifts in company operations. COVID-19 forced

experimentation into new workplace paradigms. Few could have expected such a rapid shift to a work-from-home model.

The spark of inspiration can strike like a bolt of lightening upon consideration of the new economic landscape that faces us.

  • Opportunities to Acquire Businesses:

Great opportunities abound for the purchase of smaller businesses.  With these sales come all the attendant intellectual property, networks, logos, and attendant goodwill.

An entrepreneur with a new idea may find diverse reasons to purchase a company in this market. The brilliant idea of the next new business owner may have a near-doppelganger elsewhere. A similar business may have filled a similar niche that became obsolete.

One classic example may be a brick-and-mortar music store that lost its market share with the rise of online streaming. It would be a shame to waste the resources of that business as they become less successful in a shifting economy. Sometimes, in everyone’s interest is the optimal use of that company’s resources. Mergers and sales may preserve the dynamism of these venues. Many such businesses are ready for changes in management in the wake of the pandemic.

The Bottom Line:

The pandemic has affected some profound developments in the economy, and accelerated others. Such is the nature of economic change. In everyone’s interest is a dynamic, conscientious engagement with these changes. Whether exploring new ideas or re-purposing older resources, veteran entrepreneurs can look forward to endless opportunities in the years to come.

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

Covid 19 Business Resources by State

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By James Pruitt, Senior Staff Writer

Various local resources supplement private and public nationwide programs. Like their counterparts, these programs may come from the government, nonprofits, and private corporations. Many states have go-to websites that collect available information about resources available to small businesses during the pandemic. Additionally, the SBA offers special programs designated states where gaps in service continue.

We hope this article will provide a valuable guide for you.

Alabama

Altogether: https://altogetheralabama.org/

Alaska

Alaska Small Business Development Center COVID-19 Resource Center:  https:// aksbdc.org

Arizona

Arizona Together: arizonatogether.org

Arkansas

Resources for Arkansas include the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center (asbtdc.org) and the Arkansas Quick Action Loan Program (arkansasedc.com).

California

California provides various websites to guide business owners through the pandemic. These sites tend to be city-based. Among them are the San Francisco Office of Economic and Workplace Development (owed.org), Sacramento COVID Relief (sacramentocovidrelief.org), and Los Angeles offers ewddlacity.com. This site provides information on microloans.

Colorado

Colorado offers one useful resource for the entire state: choosecolorado.com. The other is specific to the Denver area: denvergov.org. Both include useful information about coronavirus.

Connecticut

Connecticut provides one site that provides COVID-19 information for the entire state (portal.ct.gov). COVID-19 information figures prominently on this general government site.  Inquiries about further resources can be sent to DECD.COVID19@ct.gov.

Delaware

Delaware has a government site that can help (Delaware.gov). In addition, the Hospitality Emergency Loan Program (HELP) has been set up to help businesses within that industry. Useful websites are www.delbiz.com and de.gov/coronavirus.

Florida

The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program sometimes lends between $50,000 to $100,000. Loans are interest free for one year. Afterward, interest rates rise to 12%. See deorsera.force.com for more information.

Georgia

Invest Atlanta has created the Business Continuity Loan Fund (BCLF). Their website is investatlanta.com.

Hawaii and Idaho

Business owners in Hawaii are referred to the Small Business Administration (sba.gov). The SBA offers businesses in designated states and programs special loans to those affected by the virus.

Illinois

A local resource for Chicago is the Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund. See Chicago.gov for more information.

Indiana

The Indiana Small Business Development Center should provide COVID-19 guidance. (isbdc.org.)

Iowa

The Iowa Small Business Development Center (iowasbdc.org) is a good resource.

Kansas

Gotopeka.com is a great local resource for the Topeka area of Kansas. Go Topeka recently announced up to $2 million for business workers in Topeka and Shawnee County.

Kentucky

The Kentucky Small Business Development Center is a great resource. Ksbdc.org provides extensive referrals for COVID-19 relief as well as other small business concerns.

Louisiana

The go-to website for Louisiana small business owners is LED (Louisiana Economic Development) at opporetunitylouisiana.com.

Maine

Maine.gov provides extensive information on both federal and state resources for small businesses during the pandemic.

Maryland

The Maryland Department of Commerce (commerce.maryland.gov) has been emphasizing COVID resources on its website.

Massachusetts

Massachusetts businesses can find useful information at mass.gov, another state government site emphasizes coronavirus relief.

Michigan

The state government has provided its own grants and loans to small businesses affected by COVID-19. See michiganbusiness.org for more information.

Minnesota

The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce provides updates about COVID-19 resources. See MNchamber.com.

Mississippi and Missouri

Refer to sba.gov for relevant programs. The SBA offers businesses in designated states and programs special loans to those affected by the virus.

Montana

The state government programs for are on dli.mt.gov.

Nebraska

The Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry has a “Coronavirus Toolkit for Businesses & Industry): nechamber.com.

Nevada

Nevada is another state where the SBA is the best resource. The SBA offers businesses in designated states and programs special loans to those affected by the virus.

New Hampshire

Small business owners can find help at the NH Department of Business and Economic Affairs, nheconomy.com, The Small Business Development Center of New Hampshire (nhsbdc.org) also provides resources tailored to New Hampshire.

New Jersey

New Jersey offers a special waiver to stay open in case of any lockdown situations. A waiver can be submitted to the business.nj.gov team.

New Mexico

New Mexico is another state where small business owners are referred to the Small Business Administration (sba.gov). The SBA offers businesses in designated states and programs special loans to those affected by the virus.

New York

The New York City Small Business Continuity Fund provides loans for businesses with fewer than 100 employees.

New York offers various programs. The New York City Employee Retention Grant Program offers grants that cover 40% of payroll expenses for up to two months for select businesses. Their website is www1.nyc.gov.

The New York Small Business Development Centers offer counseling, training, and research. (nysbdc.org).

Entrepreneurship Assistance Centers are a great resource for smaller New York communities. (esd.ny.gov).

Community Development Financial Institutions throughout New York can provide various resources. (esd.ny.gov).

North Carolina

The go-to resource in North Carolina is the North Carolina Business Relief Resource Guild at dpnc.com.

North Dakota

The Greater North Dakota Chamber of Commerce has created this page as a go-to page for small businesses: ndchamber.com. The North Dakota Development Fund also provides loans as needed. (ndresponse.gov).

Ohio

Refer to sba.gov for relevant programs. The SBA offers businesses in designated states and programs special loans to those affected by the virus.

Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Department of commerce has a go-to page for small business owners affected by the pandemic. This page is okcommerce.gov.

Oregon

Various local resources in Oregon address coronavirus concerns. These include the Beaverton Emergency Business Assistance Program (beavertonoregaon.gov), the website for Hillsboro, Oregon (hillsboro-oregon.gov), and the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon, which provides information to Portland-area residence at apano.org.

Pennsylvania

Several government and private resources in Pennsylvania offer coronavirus relief. The Wolf Administration has announced another round of state funding. See dced.pa.gov for details.

The Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority’s Small Business First Fund offers a list of resources for Pennsylvania resources during the pandemic, according to governor.pa.gov.

Comcast seeks to offer to make Xfinity Wifi free to needy customers. See corporate.comcast.com for details.

PECO, a power company, has provided resources for customers during the crisis. See peco.com for details.

Other resources include the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, at dced.pa.gov, and the Philadelphia COVID-19 Small Business Relief Fund at phila.gov.

Rhode Island

Business owners in Rhode Island are referred to the Small Business Administration (sba.gov). The SBA offers businesses in designated states and programs special loans to those affected by the virus.

South Carolina

The South Carolina Department of Commerce provides relevant information. See sccommerce.com.

South Dakota

The government site for coronavirus relief in South Dakota is dlr.sd.gov.

Tennessee

The Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development is the go-to resource for coronavirus relief. See tn.gov for details.

Texas

The Texas Economic Development Department provides information on coronavirus relief for small government. See gov.texas.gov.

Utah

the Salt Lake City Emergency Loan Program offers zero interest loans to small businesses. See slc.gov for details.

Vermont

The Virginia government resource for coronavirus relief for small business is the Agency of Commerce and Community Development COVID-19 Resource Center. See accd.vermont.gov.

Virginia

The Virginia Chamber of Commerce provides diverse coronavirus resources. See vachamber.com for details.

A nonprofit group, the Virginia 30 Day Fund, is another resource for companies in Virginia. The goal of this organization is to save as many Virginia jobs as possible pending federal relief. Their website is va30dayfund.com.

Washington

The Seattle Office of Economic Development Grants Program offers grants to businesses affected by the pandemic who make 80% or less of the area’s median, five or fewer employees, and have a physical location. The same office will provide help with utilities as well. Their address is durkan.seattle.gov.

Also, the Washington Small Business Development Center provides a “Business Resiliency Toolkit” that provides resources for Washington area small businesses during the pandemic. See wsbc.org.

Amazon is one private business that will provide aid to small businesses. They are creating a $5 million Small Business Relief Fund to provide cash grants as needed to Seattle small businesses. See aboutamazon.com.

Washington D. C.

The Greater Washington Community Foundation provides a COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund. See thecommunityfoundation.org.

Also see wdcep.com for resources courtesy of the Washington DC Economic Partnership.

West Virginia

The go-to website for small business resources in West Virginia is nfib.com. This website is run by the local branch of the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB).

Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, the Small Business 20/20 program provides grants to community development financial institutions, which in tern will award grants up to $20,000 to existing loan clients. Their web site is wedc.org.

See their website for this and other programs related to COVID-19.

Wyoming

The go-to resource in Wyoming is the Wyoming SBDC. Their website is wyomingsbdc.org. “Check for COVID-19 Resources and Strategic Advising.”

 

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 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

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