Small businesses are the backbone of Washington’s economy and many have been devastated during the pandemic. Many have closed, others are barely hanging on. Small businesses owned by people of color have been particularly impacted. In response, Congress has passed several aid packages and the State of Washington has provided relief, along with many local communities. But resources can be difficult to find, and the applications can be challenging to navigate.
On this website you’ll find answers to frequently asked questions, information on how to find individual technical assistance, how to find a lender, training opportunities and where to find more detailed program information.
Our goal is to help as many Washington small businesses and non-profits as possible access the help they need.
I know that these past few weeks have been challenging for many folks. The COVID-19 pandemic has undeniably impacted our economy, and this rings especially true for small businesses across our region. As someone who worked professionally in economic development before serving in Congress, I’ve always believed that small businesses are the backbone of our economy.
With that in mind, I strongly believe that Congress must take immediate action to support small business owners and their employees. I’ve taken action and wanted to share some helpful resources that small businesses like yours may find helpful.
As you may be aware, Congress authorized disaster loan assistance for small businesses in the first coronavirus response law. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) provides low-interest, long-term disaster loans to small businesses, private non-profit organizations, homeowners, and renters to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses which could have been met had the disaster not occurred. Continue reading →
“The President took bold, decisive action to make our 30 million small businesses more resilient to Coronavirus-related economic disruptions. Small businesses are vital economic engines in every community and state, and they have helped make our economy the strongest in the world. Our Agency will work directly with state Governors to provide targeted, low-interest disaster recovery loans to small businesses that have been severely impacted by the situation. Additionally, the SBA continues to assist small businesses with counseling and navigating their own preparedness plans through our network of 68 District Offices and numerous Resource Partners located around the country. The SBA will continue to provide every small business with the most effective and customer-focused response possible during these times of uncertainty.”
If you apply for an SBA loan, your loan won’t be from the SBA, and you won’t make your payments to the agency. Instead, the SBA approves lenders to provide loans to small businesses under their loan programs. Continue reading →
If you don’t have the capital to fund your business growth, here are a few ideas. Which one is right for you?
1. Bank Loan or Line of Credit
Borrowing from the bank is probably the most traditional way of funding a business. This can take the form of a traditional loan or line of credit. Some banks may require an SBA guarantee which is a little more expensive than a bank-only loan. Others may require covenants, or conditions, within which the business must perform.
Bankers will review your historical performance and business plan in great detail. Assuming that these pass muster, the bank will require collateral in the form of inventory, equipment or even your house. In many cases they will insist on a personal guarantee.
Bank loans are debt financing requiring periodic payment of principal and interest. However, they do not require you to give up equity in your business; if your business takes off, you keep the profits (after debt repayment). Continue reading →
Cash is the fuel that makes a business run. It is needed to pay salaries including your own, fund marketing programs to acquire and retain new customers, invest in equipment and facilities, pay rent, supplies and many more day-to-day activities. Most financial experts recommend three to six months of operating expenses, but using this for every business in every situation is misleading.
To determine how much cash you need, you must look at the following key areas.
How Much Cash Have You Been Using?
If you’re an established business owner, look at your monthly cash flow report (or go to the next paragraph if you’re a start-up). This report will provide an historical and seasonal perspective. Note the cash received from sales and the cash spent. The net of these two is often referred to as the “net burn rate.” For example, if you have $50,000 in sales and $30,000 in expenses, then your net burn is +$20,000
Your “gross burn rate” only takes cash expenditures into account; in our example, that’s $30,000 and is the more conservative amount, since it does not assume any sales are made. Historical spending patterns are a good starting point in considering future spending plans. Continue reading →
Many startup small business owners take pride in pulling themselves up by their bootstraps and not using financing to get their companies off the ground. But that approach can backfire, a new study in the Journal of Corporate Finance suggests.
The study, conducted by Florida Atlantic University faculty, assessed what happened to companies that took on debt during their first year of operation.
The authors discovered businesses that took on debt are more likely to succeed (as long as they use business debt as opposed to taking on personal debt).