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Small Biz Insider: COVID-19 Tips from SCORE Houston

Published Apr 15, 2020 by Maggie Martin

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This is a special episode of Small Biz Insider, a podcast from the Greater Houston Partnership. 

The COVID-19 crisis poses mounting challenges for small businesses here and across the country. In a recent Houston Business Barometer survey conducted by the Partnership, nearly half of small businesses who responded said they had enacted a hiring freeze. Nearly 25% have shut down whole or partial operations. The three biggest concerns for these businesses are revenue and sales, employee well-being and profits. 

Our guest is Yusef Muhammad, chapter chair and president of SCORE Houston. It's a network of volunteers offering small business entrepreneurs practical business advice. 

Here are some key takeaway's from this episode:

  • Apply for the Paycheck Protection Program as soon as you can. While the program is open to applications until June 30, there is a loan cap. "I’ve heard from one banker that says traditionally they would do 60,000 loans in a year," said Muhammad. "And they’ve done over 350,000. I mean it’s an enormous amount of loans that’s trying to be processed. It’s just unprecedented."
  • Gather and organize your documents now to apply for federal funding. Muhammad recommends getting forms like your W-3 and Schedule C will help your application process for federal funding, including the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Emergency Advance. "The amount of time [it takes to process and pay out the loan] really depends on the documentation the company has," said Muhammad. "If you have your documentation accessible and you can provide it to the lenders, then the process won’t take as long as most people think.”
  • If you don't have access to documents like your payroll summary, get with your accountant. Muhammad stressed the importance of having these documents on hand to apply for financial resources. "That, too, is part of the bottleneck," said Muhammad. "We always hear about how the banks are moving slow. But we also have to look at the other side of the coin, and that is small businesses have to have their documentation handy and able to provide it in order to process these loans."

Click here for more COVID-19 resources for small businesses. Visit the Partnership's COVID-19 Resource page for updates, guidance for employers and more information. And sign up for daily email alerts from the Partnership as the situation develops. 

The Small Biz Insider podcast is part of our digital series highlighting entrepreneurs in the greater Houston region who are making a big impact in the small business community. 

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