woman putting up reopening business sign
From free skills training and mentorship to small business loans, there are several helpful routes business owners can take when rebuilding and reopening. — Getty Images/LeoPatrizi

In the current climate of social distancing, many businesses have had to completely rethink the way they operate. With no clear or immediate path back to "normalcy," the only option for some of these businesses is to pivot completely and start over with a new approach.

It's not easy to rebuild your business model from the ground up, and it may take time to adjust, both financially and from a branding perspective. However, there are countless resources available to help you determine the right strategy and set yourself up for success.

If you're one of the many American business owners who is rethinking part or all of their business operations after COVID-19, the below websites and government programs can help you get back on your feet.

Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance and other SBA funding programs

On June 15, the U.S. Small Business Administration began accepting new applications for its Economic Injury Disaster Loan Emergency Advance program. Through this program, the SBA will provide up to $10,000 of economic relief to qualified small businesses and agricultural businesses that are experiencing temporary difficulties due to COVID-19, which you can use to start planning and rebuilding your operations.

The loan and advance programs are open to businesses, nonprofits and agricultural enterprises with 500 employees or fewer. View the full eligibility requirements and application portal here. The SBA also offers other funding options for struggling businesses, including the Paycheck Protection Program, SBA Express Bridge Loans and SBA Debt Relief.

[Read: Everything You Need to Know About Coronavirus Federal Small Business Stimulus Aid Programs]

Google for Small Business

Over 5 million businesses currently rely on Google's G-Suite to keep their companies running smoothly. To help its growing customer base, the tech giant has compiled a list of its tools, resources and free digital skills training through its Google for Small Business platform. Google also offers specific guides tailored to the type of business you own, including physical local businesses and online-only businesses.

The National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB)

NFIB is a nonprofit, nonpartisan special interest group that provides small business news, advocacy and research for its members. In addition to a collection of coronavirus resources and webinars, NFIB has also compiled a comprehensive FAQ page for small businesses that are navigating the current federal and state regulations surrounding closures, paid leave and labor laws.

Learn more about how to manage your businesses cash flow during challenging times with our latest episode of CO— Blueprint.

Like SCORE, your local SBDC offers free business consulting and low-cost business training and education that can help you find a new path forward for your company.

SCORE

Sponsored by the SBA, SCORE has been a go-to resource for free, confidential business advice since it was founded in 1964. In the post-COVID world, solid business mentorship matters more than ever, and SCORE is committed to helping small businesses rebuild and thrive. On the organization's current homepage, SCORE's CEO states that its 10,000 volunteer mentors are available to support small business owners in the wake of the pandemic and recent protests across the country, and help them through this difficult time.

[Read: How to Effectively Communicate Your Reopening Plans to Customers]

Small Business Development Centers

Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) are partnerships between the SBA and local universities and organizations, and exist in every U.S. state, territory and Washington, D.C. Like SCORE, your local SBDC offers free business consulting and low-cost business training and education that can help you find a new path forward for your company. Working with one of the country's nearly 1,000 SBDC offices gives you access to business plan development, market research assistance, disaster recovery resources and more. You can find your nearest SBDC and useful COVID-19 business resources through America's SBDC.

State government websites

Because COVID-19 has impacted each region of the country in different ways, your state government's website is one of the best resources for finding relevant, local information about business operations. Most states update their sites daily (if not more often) with the latest caseload statistics and phased reopening guidelines, so you can get a better idea of what types of business activities are currently allowed in your area. State-issued guidance can also be helpful as you plan out any required health and safety protocols for reopening or restarting your business. The IRS maintains a directory of links to every state government's business, employer and tax information.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce

In addition to our continued coronavirus-focused content on CO—, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is committed to providing the most up-to-date resources and state-by-state guidance for small businesses impacted by COVID-19. The Chamber offers free virtual events, a small business toolkit, original research and numerous targeted programs designed to educate and support the American small business community.

[Read: Ready to Reopen: A Playbook for Your Small Business]

For more resources from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce:

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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Reopening Your Business

Join us Wednesday, August 12 at 2 p.m. ET for our virtual CO— Blueprint: Starting Up and Starting Over During the Pandemic, an audience-driven discussion that combines expert advice with practical strategies from business owners.



Published July 07, 2020