Dell Technologies
BMS-center-logo
 

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

Share this Article:
Share Article on Facebook Share Article on Linked In Share Article on Twitter

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

 

Plans for Reopening in the Wake of the Pandemic

Share this Article:
Share Article on Facebook Share Article on Linked In Share Article on Twitter

By James Pruitt, Senior Staff Writer

 

Just when we thought we were “over the hump,” coronavirus cases spiked. Many brick-and-mortar stores took fatal blows trailing the last wave of shutdowns. Hopefully, the lessons from the first wave may cushion the impact of the next.

The necessary steps include education about the necessary measures to protect customers and staff, and to balance this information with the needs of your business. Then business owners can plan the necessary steps for reopening in a safe manner.

Always ensure that information sources are reliable. Some of the best sources for information include the CDC:

Misinformation abounds about coronavirus, and the importance of accurate information about this crisis cannot be overstated.

We can expect another spike in coronavirus cases over the winter. Brick-and-mortar businesses will face a larger impact than online businesses. Brick-and-mortar stores should consider the following:

  • the ability to enforce proper social distancing
  • any lockdown orders that may exist within that locality
  • the severity of the pandemic within your locality
  • the level of contact with customers.

Examples of businesses facing the worst impact include gyms, restaurants, and beauty establishments.

Depending on the structure of the business, human resources issues may prove tricky. For example, last spring, a business had to shut down for two weeks because an employee called in to lie about having coronavirus: https://www.thestate.com/news/coronavirus/article241351951.html.

The company’s facility needed a thorough cleaning, that led to huge financial losses in the meantime. Other, more small-scale companies may have the flexibility to deal with such issues on a case-by-case basis, given the management’s closer relationship with the employee. The ABA (American Bar Association) notes the importance of input from both employees and clients. They also note that each reopening plan will be different, given the circumstances of the company. For example, some businesses may require brief health screenings by qualified health professionals, such as quick temperature checks.

The ABA notes that “[r]eopening a business during the pandemic is essential and inevitable but it will certainly be a daunting process that will require consideration of how workers can be brought on safely, how customer concerns will be addressed, and how everything can be done in a way that allows the company to survive financially.”

https://www.americanbar.org/groups/business_law/publications/blt/2020/10/protecting-workers/.

On the plus side, news is positive about defeating the pandemic in the next several months. Recently, several companies and institutions have developed several vaccines with amazing success rates. On the negative side, winter promises to bring a spike in cases before return to a semblance of normal. Dr. Anthony Fauci estimates a rollback of coronavirus measures sometime in April:

https://www.deseret.com/u-s-world/2020/11/13/21562555/coronavirus-dr-anthony-fauci-covid-19-vaccine.

In the meantime, small businesses can use this next spike as an opportunity to expand their horizons, build their online presence, and augment their human resources expertise. This pandemic will not last forever, and resources abound for struggling business owners, despite its devastating impact. Such a crisis arises once in a blue moon. Hopefully we will be able to strike a balance.

Survey on The Impacts of Post-COVID Funding

Share this Article:
Share Article on Facebook Share Article on Linked In Share Article on Twitter

By Debbie Gregory.

LinkedIN Debbie Gregory VAMBOA VAMBOA Facebook VAMBOA Twitter

 

 

To overcome the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, many small businesses are being forced to seek external funding through alternative funding sources, government grants, and loans from traditional banking institutions.

You may whether small businesses normally applied for loans or is this a new behavior in response to the pandemic?

Earlier this year, Small Biz Ahead surveyed small business owners across the country to learn exactly how the pandemic was affecting their use of both traditional and alternative funding. Here is what the survey found:

Starting a New Business:

Prior to the pandemic, most small business owners were hesitant to use external funding sources.

  • Less than 1% used a federal or state grant to start their business.
  • 60% of all small business owners used their own personal savings to start or run their businesses.

Running an Established Business:

  • 85% of small businesses sought zero external funding in the last three years.
  • 28% of small business owners use their personal credit cards to pay for business expenses.
  • If the business did need money, they were more likely to seek out traditional funding sources as 41% stated they would go to their main bank first.
  • 25% stated that they would simply use credit cards or existing funds.

Does age affect the business owner’s thoughts on external financing?

They found that younger generations tend to be more open to applying for financing or loans though they are still a bit hesitant. However, they do typically turn to friends and family for loans first. The study found that about a third of small business owners between the ages of 18-34 currently use friends and family as their main source to finance their business. This drops dramatically for generations older than 34, just over 10% of 35-44 year olds and less than 2% of 45-54 year olds stated that they seek out loans from friends or family.

What do small business owners look for when selecting a financial provider?

The small business owners surveyed:

  • 38% stated that interest rates are the most important factor in choosing where to obtain funding.
  • 38% stated that the terms and conditions were the most important factor.
  • 34% prefer a financial provider who they know and have a relationship.

Does gender affect where the business owner will look for financing?

The study found that men (38%) are much more likely to view an existing relationships as the most important factor when selecting a financial provider, whereas women (41%) typically go out of their way to look for less expensive funding and lower interest rates.

How Does Age Impact Funding Choices?

There was also a clear divide between the age groups:

  • The 18-34 age group favored institutions that offered easy applications,
  • The 35-64 age group favored institutions with less expensive loans and more competitive rates
  • The 65 and over age group favored institutions that they had a prior financial relationship.

What about alternative funding (such as crowdfunding or peer-to-peer)?

According to the study, alternative financing is not used very often by small business owners in the USA:

  • 2% of small businesses have used equity financing.
  • 4% have used P2P (peer-to-peer) lending.

However, this is changing. Many small business owners (42%) stated that they were open to the possibility of using alternative financing in the future should the need arise. The 18-34 age group were the most comfortable with alternative financing options:

  • More than 10% stated that they have used P2P lending.
  • A bit over 5% stated that they have used crowdfunding.
  • All in this group stated that they would consider using alternatives to traditional finance in the future.

VAMBOA, the Veterans and Military Small Business Owners Association wants to learn your opinions on financing and small business funding.  Have you needed to turn to external financing to survive the pandemic?   Please let us know by emailing us:

info@vamboa.org

If you are not yet a member of VAMBOA, we invite you to join.  There are not any fees or dues and you may use our seal on your collateral and website.   Below is a link to register to become a VAMBOA member:

https://vamboa.org/member-registration

 

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/

ibmpos_blurgb