September 14, 2020
Small Businesses & Recovery: What Customers Want
We surveyed the community to find out how they feel about a variety of topics related to public health and what influences the decisions they make about the places they visit and patron.
The previous implementation of this survey was administered in advance of the lifting of restrictions on small businesses and mass gatherings in Virginia. Those results depicted customers’ attitudes prior to Virginia entering Phase 1 of reopening.
This summary covers the results of a follow up to that survey, which was administered during Phase 3 of Virginia’s reopening. Brief comparisons are included at the end of each question to provide context on how customers’ attitudes have shifted since the previous survey.
The survey was shared by organizations and local governments in the City of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County. We received feedback from 435 survey respondents.
- Customers want businesses to make public health a priority. They want businesses to continue taking precautions that keep both employees and customers safe, and they want these precautious to be posted or shared, physically or virtually (Q1, Q11, Q12).
- There was a 21.9% increase in the number of survey respondents who said “employees wearing facemasks” impacted their level of comfort patronizing a business (Q1).
- Customers wish to touch as few common surfaces as possible (Q5, Q8, Q10).
- The number of people inside could impact customers’ desire to enter or stay (Q1, Q7).
- Many respondents indicated they have already started patronizing retail businesses and restaurants that offer outdoor dining; however, people show much more uncertainty when it comes to dining indoors and engaging in recreational activities (Q2).
- Buffet-style restaurants and other self-service options will make people uncomfortable for a long time, as evidenced by both the previous and current survey results (Q2).
- The majority of respondents do not feel comfortable attending events or gatherings – indoors or outdoors – despite adherence to social distancing guidelines (Q3).
- Moving forward, roughly 60% of respondents indicated interest in business and social networking events that are held either virtually or in small outdoor gatherings (Q4).
- Over 76% of respondents said locally owned businesses capture their attention with products, services, and specials using Facebook or word of mouth. 55% indicated that google search results are influential (Q6).
- Many intend to frequently or occasionally shop online with locally owned retailers and restaurants that have e-commerce options available for pick-up or delivery (Q9).
How could businesses respond?
- Follow CDC/VDH guidelines; regularly check for new information and adapt.
- Frequently disinfect commonly touched surfaces, such as handles and card machines. Do this in front of customers.
- Post signs explaining precautions outside and inside the establishment as well as on social media pages. Ensure all employees and customers are following what is posted.
- Continue using e-commerce systems; implement e-commerce if not already in place.
- Use Facebook and Instagram to enhance your marketing – highlighting actual products, menu, items and detailed descriptions that encourage people to make a purchase. Use google adwords as part of your marketing strategy so your website can get “found” more easily.
- Explore “touchless” and low-contact systems for your business, such as: disposable paper or QR Code menus, posted chalk board menus, touchless payment, and other strategies.
- Limit the number of patrons inside establishments. If it is feasible with the type of business or establishment, consider taking reservations (using free online tools) or making appointments.
- Install automatic hand sanitizer dispensers.
- Continue offering curbside pick-up and delivery options.
- Continue offering or try implementing “senior hours” for older customers.
- Use social media and e-newsletter lists to engage customers and ask for feedback on plans. Ask customers what you can do to retain their business through this time.
- Share positive Google/Facebook/Yelp reviews that recognize your efforts to keep your staff and customers safe on social media & let your customers speak for you!
VIEW THE ENTIRE Taskforce_Customer Survey Summary Phase 3
August 12, 2020
The Harrisonburg Business Recovery Grant program has launched! Grants for businesses with 1-100 employees are available. Grant amounts are between $4,000 and $10,000, based on the total employment of the business.
To view the eligibility criteria and to apply, visit: https://harrisonburgdevelopment.com/harrisonburg-business-…/
The deadline to apply is August 27th at 5:00pm.
Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Policy Update – Tuesday, August 11, 2020
SBA & Treasury have recently released additional guidance:
For more information and updates, visit SBA.gov/PaycheckProtection or Treasury.gov/CARES
August 11, 2020
REBUILD! VA Frequently Asked Questions
REBUILD! VA Application & Certification
August 11, 2020
New Resource Guide for Building a Sustainable Recreational Economy
USDA launched a resource guide to provide rural community leaders and economic development practitioners a complete list of programs at Rural Development, Forest Service, and National Institute for Food and Agriculture that can be used to support recreational economies in rural America.
This guide addresses key factors necessary to build a sustainable recreational economy including natural resource management, conservation activities, infrastructure investment, business development and more.
Download the resource guide:
Recreation Economy at USDA: Economic Development Resources for Rural Communities
July 31, 2020
Tips for Handling Legal Issues in the Wake of COVID-19
“Navigating the Legal Landscape During a Pandemic,” is a recently published guide by Online Master of Legal Studies Programs. The guide provides a glossary of related terms and FAQ’s to help individuals understand new legal situations. Tips on how to address common legal concerns such as employee and rental rights are detailed within the resource. The article also shares information on looking towards the future, such as how business professionals can prepare during and after a pandemic.
Main Street America, in partnership with The Hartford Small Business Insurance has created The HartBeat of Main Street Grant Program that will fund solutions to help small business owners respond and adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic, and also help to revitalize and strengthen older and historic downtown commercial districts. Grants of $5,000 to $15,000 will be awarded on a competitive and first-come, first-served basis. A minimum of 50 percent of grants will benefit diverse-owned businesses, as defined by the Small Business Administration as minority, woman, veteran, disabled, and/or LGBTQ-owned. This grant is now open and will close on August 23, 2020 at 11:59 pm PT or until 500 applications have been submitted, whichever is sooner.
HOW TO APPLY
Thanks to a $55 million significant commitment grant from Lowe’s partnering with LISC, small businesses can apply for emergency grant assistance desperately needed to stay afloat. Applications MUST be submitted by MONDAY, AUGUST 3rd ,11:59 p.m. EST.
HOW TO APPLY
June 26, 2020
June 26, 2020
Rockingham County Small Business Grant
Rockingham County, VA received funding from the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The U.S. Department of Treasury guidance allows the CARES Act funds to be used for costs and expenses incurred because of the COVID-19 public health emergency, specifically mentioning the making of grants to small businesses.
A small business grant program will be the most efficient and effective way to distribute resources to small businesses in Rockingham County and its seven towns. The program can assist a small business with cash needed for working capital to support rent or mortgage payments, utility, payroll, or other similar expenses that occur in the ordinary course of business.
Applications will be accepted from July 13, 2020 until close of business, July 24, 2020. See the website and application for qualification criteria.
Grant information and link to application
June 16, 2020
SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Advance Program Reopened to All Eligible Small Businesses and Non-Profits Impacted by COVID-19 Pandemic
To further meet the needs of U.S. small businesses and non-profits, the U.S. Small Business Administration reopened the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance program portal to all eligible applicants experiencing economic impacts due to COVID-19 today.
SBA’s COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance
- The SBA is offering low interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses and non-profit organizations that are suffering substantial economic injury as a result of COVID-19 in all U.S. states, Washington D.C., and territories.
- These loans may be used to pay debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact, and that are not already covered by a Paycheck Protection Program loan. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.
- To keep payments affordable for small businesses, SBA offers loans with long repayment terms, up to a maximum of 30 years. Plus, the first payment is deferred for one year.
- In addition, small businesses and non-profits may request, as part of their loan application, an EIDL Advance of up to $10,000. The EIDL Advance is designed to provide emergency economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. This advance will not have to be repaid, and small businesses may receive an advance even if they are not approved for a loan.
- SBA’s EIDL and EIDL Advance are just one piece of the expanded focus of the federal government’s coordinated response.
- The SBA is also assisting small businesses and non-profits with access to the federal forgivable loan program, the Paycheck Protection Program, which is currently accepting applications until June 30, 2020.
For additional information, please visit the SBA disaster assistance website at SBA.gov/Disaster.
June 5, 2020
Phase Two Guidelines Virginia-Forward-Phase-Two-Guidelines 6-2-2020
|Paycheck Protection Program Loan Forgiveness
Join us on June 9th at 5:30 pm to learn more about the Paycheck Protection Program loan forgiveness process. This free webinar is presented in partnership with the Virginia Community Capital and the U.S. Small Business Administration. Speakers Include: · Matthew Ho, Assistant Vice President, Small Business Loan Officer – Virginia Community Capital · Carl Knoblock, District Director – Virginia Small Business Administration (SBA) · Timm Johnson, Director – Mason Small Business Development Center (SBDC) · Mike Austin, Access to Capital Specialist – Hampton Roads Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Register Here
Link to the SBDC Business Resource Guide
May 18, 2020
Payroll Protection Plan “Loan Forgiveness” details are available now on the SBA PPP Resources page.
FA$TRAK BORROWER INFORMATION FORM
For EIDL applications or updates, please contact the Office of Disaster Assistance.
Disaster Assistance (EIDL)
May 11, 2020
Check out the Harrisonburg – Rockingham Reopening Small Business – What Customers Want survey
May 25, 2020
The Richmond SBA Office does a nice job explaining these programs and answering your Questions.
May 4, 2019
Notice: New Eligibility for Economic Injury Disaster Loan and Advance
In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, small business owners in all U.S. states, Washington D.C., and territories were able to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance of up to $10,000. This advance is designed to provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. This loan advance will not have to be repaid.
SBA has resumed processing EIDL applications that were submitted before the portal stopped accepting new applications on April 15 and will be processing these applications on a first-come, first-served basis. SBA will begin accepting new Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance applications on a limited basis only to provide relief to U.S. agricultural businesses.
The new eligibility is made possible as a result of the latest round of funds appropriated by Congress in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Agricultural businesses includes those businesses engaged in the production of food and fiber, ranching, and raising of livestock, aquaculture, and all other farming and agricultural related industries (as defined by section 18(b) of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 647(b)).
- SBA is encouraging all eligible agricultural businesses with 500 or fewer employees wishing to apply to begin preparing their business financial information needed for their application.
At this time, only agricultural business applications will be accepted due to limitations in funding availability and the unprecedented submission of applications already received. Applicants who have already submitted their applications will continue to be processed on a first-come, first-served basis. For agricultural businesses that submitted an EIDL application through the streamlined application portal prior to the legislative change, SBA will process these applications without the need for re-applying.
Eligible agricultural businesses may apply for the Loan Advance here.
April 24, 2020
If you have questions about the PPP or EIDL, here is one way to learn more with a presentation from the Richmond SBA. These webinars are free, but tend to “sell out” fast. If you think you might want to participate, register soon.
Overview of the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan and the Paycheck Protection Program
This webinar will provide a high-level general overview of the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL ) and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). We will cover the qualifications, terms, and features of each program and briefly cover the application process. The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. The EIDL loan advance provides economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. Eligible Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) recipients may qualify for a loan up to $10 million determined by 8 weeks of prior average payroll plus an additional 25% of that amount.
Many business owners are asking questions about allowable expenses in order for the PPP Loan to be “forgiven”. There is much documentation to weed through here: SBA policy-guidance–ppp-interim-final-rule-additional-eligibility-criteria-requirements-certain-pledges-loans
Simply put, we think “forgiveness” on the PPP boils down to providing your lender with good documentation on the following expenses. *Remember, 75% must be documented for Payroll in order for the PPP Loan to be “forgiven”. It is a Loan, and agreements with your bank may vary.
- costs related to health insurance, sick leave, medical, or family leave, and insurance premiums
- mortgage interest payments
- rent payments
- utility payments
- interest payments on any other debt incurred before 2/15/2020
- refinancing of an EIDL
If you have more questions, please contact the firstname.lastname@example.org and a Business Advisor will answer your inquiry.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has easy to read guides on PPP and EIDL Loans. Covid19-Emergency Loans small-business-guide
April 20, 2020
The CARES Act includes a provision of temporary benefits for individuals who are not eligible for regular/traditional unemployment insurance. These individuals may include those who are self-employed, independent contractors, gig economy workers, clergy and those working for religious organizations as well as others who may not be covered by the regular/traditional UI program.
- You received (or will receive) a Monetary Determination from the Virginia Employment Commission that indicates that you do not qualify for unemployment benefits (UI)
*** Important Next Step – See the VEC Web page for Instructions and Application***
April 15, 2020
The SBA and Treasury have posted new documents to their respective PPP websites. Information can always be found at www.sba.gov/paycheckprotection and www.treasury.gov/cares.
New Documents for the PPP:
The Interim Final Rule announcing Additional Eligibility Criteria and Requirements for Certain Pledges of Loans for the Paycheck Protection Program is being posted in advance of publication in the Federal Register. The official version will appear in the Federal Register. Click here to download.
Through April 13, 2020, the SBA has guaranteed 1,035,086 loans under the Paycheck Protection Program. For more information on loan activity, click here.
April 13, 2020
Helpful article from Harvard Business Review. Its time to start looking ahead: hbr.org/preparing-your-business-for-a-post-pandemic-world
April 10, 2020 9:00 am
Need some Tips and Inspiration? Take a look at this Guide to Conquering a Business Crisis pamphlet originally developed for SBDC Clients during the 2008 economic disaster.
April 8, 2020 9:00 am
New informational resources made available by the SBA and other organizations. Here is a EIDL_Fact_Sheet from the SBA
April 3, 2020 9:00 am
The SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION has released the “Interim Final Rule” on the PPP–Interim Final Rule from SBA This ruling has been our “go to” for guidance on Paycheck Protection Program application questions.
~LOOK at this excellent guide from the US Chamber Foundation: Checklist for Small Business and Nonprofits
The SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan has recently streamlined the application process. NEW Memo from the SBA on April 9, 2020: “To ensure that the greatest number of applicants can receive assistance during this challenging time the amount of the Advance will be determined by the number of the small business’s pre-disaster (i.e., as of January 31, 2020) employees. The Advance will provide $1,000 per employee up to a maximum of $10,000. The Advance is available as part of the full EIDL application and will be transferred into the account of the applicant provides shortly after they submit the application.”
Please see the latest page for eligible entity verification for the EIDL here. The CARES Act Guide is a downloadable PDF from the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship and outlines the latest programs: Paycheck Protection Program Loans Small Business Debt Relief Program Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Emergency Economic Injury Grants This is the main SBA page for a review of all the programs: www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources Keep in mind while you are deciding if you should apply for any SBA Loan:
Credit History – Applicants must have a credit history acceptable to SBA.
Repayment – SBA must determine that the applicant business has the ability to repay the SBA loan.
Eligibility – The applicant business must be physically located in a declared county and suffered working capital losses due to the declared disaster, not due to a downturn in the economy or other reasons. Working capital loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that could have been paid had the disaster not occurred. The loans are not intended to replace lost sales or profits or for expansion.
Please know this:
Business Advisors with the Shenandoah Valley Small Business Development Center will be available to help Small Businesses, Sole Proprietors and eligible Non-Profits apply for the EIDL and refer you to resources for the Paycheck Protection Program, Emergency Economic Grants, and other funded SBA debt relief programs. We encourage you to contact us via email: email@example.com and if you are not a current SBDC Client, to fill out the Request for Counseling form. While our offices at the JMU Ice House are temporarily closed to the public, we are monitoring and returning phone calls, emails and Request for Counseling forms. We may not be able to meet with you face-to-face today, but we are preparing quickly with the tools technology to help you online in the meantime!
Additionally, the Virginia SBDC Network has compiled resources for business owners with several links here: https://www.virginiasbdc.org/resources/
Counseling & Training: (from the CARES Act) If you, like many small business owners, need a business counselor to help guide you through this uncertain time, you can turn to your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Women’s Business Center (WBC), or SCORE mentorship chapter. These resource partners, and the associations that represent them, will receive additional funds to expand their reach and better support small business owners with counseling and up-to-date information regarding COVID-19. There will soon be a joint platform that consolidates information and resources related to COVID-19 in order to provide consistent, timely information to small businesses. Your VAlley SBDC has Business Advisors ready to answer individual questions and assist you in the process of applying for these programs. Please fill out our Request for Counseling and our Office Manager Roise Riggleman, our Director Joyce Krech or other Business Advisors on staff will contact you as soon as possible. Call (540) 568-3227 and leave a complete message with your contact information or write us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more Business Resources and Government Agency links, Click Here