Get free and low-cost resources for your business from SBDC
The challenges facing business owners today cannot be overstated. A recent report from the US Chamber of Commerce revealed that 43% of small business owners believe they will not survive the next six months due to the financial impacts of COVID-19. Businesses are also struggling to keep their employees and unemployment has risen to 14.7%.
So it comes as no surprise that small business owners are looking for help. America’s Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) are one place small businesses have turned to over the years for affordable resources to grow their businesses, and now is no exception. SBDCs are offering a variety of support to help small business stay afloat amid COVID-19.
The SBDC is a nationwide organization created to support American small businesses through training, counseling, and other resources at free or affordable costs. With nearly 1,000 locations across the country, SBDC centers partner with “leading universities, colleges, state economic development agencies and private partners” to help business owners grow and manage their businesses. The SBDC is “funded in part by the United States Congress through a partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration.”
For business owners looking for resources to help them cope with the impacts that coronavirus has had on their company, a good place to start is the COVID-19 Small Business Resources page on the SBDC website.
Here are 5 things the SBDC is offering right now that small business owners can take advantage of.
1. Free counseling and at-cost training
The SDBC offers free counseling and at-cost training at locations across the United States. Counseling is offered for new and existing small to medium-sized businesses. Here are some topics an SBDC advisor can guide you on:
• Business plan design or redesign
• Employee management
• Financial planning
• Expanding into e-commerce
• Regulatory guidelines (state and federal).
The SBDC also offers at-cost training to business owners. Training ranges from topics such as cash flow management, customer relations, and accounting, to franchising, government contracts, and international trade.
At this time, many SBDC centers are shifting their counseling and training online. Check your local SBDC center for more information.
2. Resources to help you “pivot”
The SBDC website has a bank of materials to address a host of issues you may be facing right now. In particular, here are some documents you may find helpful as you shift your business model to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19:
- Small Business Resiliency Guide: Keeping the Lights on
- Pivoting & Employee Impact During COVID-19
- Business Resiliency Plan Template
- Emergency Procedures Template
- Coronavirus Emergency Loans Small Business Guide and Checklist
- OSHA Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19
- CIRAS (Center for Industrial Research and Service) Supply Chain Disruption Planning
- Tips for Businesses on Responding to the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic
If you are struggling to retain staff or if you’re just looking for ways to support your employees, some of these HR resources could be beneficial.
3. Webinars for small businesses
The SBDC has added webinars to address some of the most common issues business are experiencing due to COVID-19. Watch the recording of the webinar, Keeping the Lights On, designed to help business owners develop “an actionable business resiliency plan.” You can find all SBDC webinars here.
4. Partner offerings
The SBDC routinely has special offers on its website from the companies they partner with, such as Google and Constant Contact, to bring business owners discounted products and services. Here are a few partner offerings that are specific to COVID-19.
• eBay: No selling fees for new businesses through June 30, 2020, and a free Basic eBay Store for three months.
• CashFlowTool: Discounts for new customers on their cash flow management and forecasting service.
• Thryv: Pay what you can for their business management software now through June 21, 2020.
5. COVID-19 small business survey
Business owners should also check out Impact of Coronavirus on Small Businesses, a new study by the American SBDC and Thryv, Inc., which examines the outlook of business owners since the outbreak of the virus.
Two waves of this study have already been published – the latest was conducted from March 27 through March 29. Check back often for the most up-to-date information about how business owners are faring amid COVID-19.