Impact of COVID-19 on Small Businesses
The COVID 19 crisis has led to an unprecedented impact on the entire world economy. About half the worlds population is locked up. The high streets are running empty, and in many businesses, the sales are close to zero. Even multinational companies whose balance sheets are worth billions of dollars are having a hard time surviving this crisis. Hence, the fact that small business owners are finding it hard to survive is no surprise at all. Online surveys have been conducted amongst small business owners, and the results are no less than terrifying. More than half of these owners think that their business will not survive the downturn! This is concerning not only for the small business owners but for the economy as a whole because these businesses are the backbone of any economy.
In this article, we will first understand the impact that the coronavirus crisis is having on small businesses. Then, we will try to understand the various measures which the United States government is taking to help small businesses weather this storm.
Impact of COVID-19 on Small Businesses
The business issues which small businesses face are somewhat similar to those being faced by large businesses. However, the magnitude of these problems is much larger, and this is what makes the effect devastating.
- No Consumer Demand: Most small businesses make products that involve discretionary spending. This is the reason why the dentists office and the neighborhood bakery are not likely to see any demand for some time.
Firstly, the government has introduced lockdowns, and hence it is illegal to open the business for service. However, even after the businesses do open, they are not likely to see a lot of consumer demand for some time. This is because people will be afraid to step out of their house and go to restaurants and shops for some time because the fear of coronavirus will long after the virus has vanished.
- Cash Flow Issues: Big businesses can survive even without making sales for some time. This is because they usually have the cash flow available or can raise funds from investors. This is not the case with small businesses.
Online surveys have suggested that about a third of small businesses do not have the spare cash flow to survive for more than a month, and more than three-quarters of the businesses do not have the cash flow to survive for three months without any cash inflow. Also, small businesses are much less likely to see cash inflow in the form of loans. This is because there will be a credit squeeze, and hence banks will be picky with regards to who they lend money to. Given the limited amount of money at hand, they would prefer to lend to the more creditworthy corporates instead of vulnerable small businesses.
- Workforce Issues: Small businesses are reliant on different types of labor. These include factory workers, accountants, chefs, etc. A lot of these workers have migrated back to their home towns because of the coronavirus crisis. Even after the restrictions are lifted, small businesses might find it difficult to manage their businesses with less labor. Also, the availability of fewer workers in the market would mean higher prices, which would definitely impact the already wafer-thin profit margins of these businesses.
Relief Measures Offered By the United States Government
The $2 trillion relief package being offered by the United States government is not aimed only at big businesses. Efforts have been made to formulate policies that specifically help small businesses. Some of these policies are as follows:
- The United States government is offering loans up to $1 million or 2.5 times the monthly expenses of the business, whichever is lower. These loans will be granted on concessional terms.
For instance, the loans will be provided at a nominal 1% interest. The loans will cover expenses such as rent, employee wages, paid leave, healthcare benefits for employees, etc.
Also, the small business owner will not have to provide any collateral in order to avail of these loans. The loans will also provide a moratorium for six months to ensure that small businesses do not feel any additional pressure during the peak of the coronavirus crisis.
The loans do not have any prepayment penalties. Hence, small business owners can borrow money in order to be on the safer side and can return the loans once their cash flow returns to normal.
The United States government places very little restriction on the way the proceeds will be spent as long as small businesses are using them to buy American products and pay American employees.
In fact, these types of loans are called payroll protection loans and can be partially or completely forgiven if the small business is able to demonstrate that the money was spent on payroll.
- The United States government is also offering other loans called the Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL). These loans are being offered at a slightly higher interest rate of 3.25%.
The loans can be taken up to $10000 for working capital and up to $2 million in total. These loans are available to businesses with less than five hundred employees and will be disbursed in three or four business days.
The bottom line is that the United States government is taking due measures to prevent small businesses from ending up in crisis. It is important for other governments all over the world to also follow suit.
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- Can Companies Really Exit China?
- COVID 19 and Its Impact on the Technology Sector
- COVID-19 and the Retail Sector
- The Power of Gatekeepers Who Control Data and Information in a Digital World
- The Impact of COVID-19 on Start-ups
- The Impact of COVID-19 on the Global Oil Market
- Impact of COVID-19 on Small Businesses
- Impact of COVID-19 on the Real Estate Sector
- Businesses Feel Electing an American President is Like Choosing Between Coke and Pepsi
- How the Covid Crisis Underscores the Importance of Statistics and Data Modelling
- Will the United States Descend Into Anarchy and Civil War After the 2020 Elections?
- What the Chaotic Presidential Election and the Aftermath Reveal About the United States
- Why Corporates Need to be Social Media Savvy in a 24/7 World Driven by Technology
- Is the Pandemic Tipping the Indian Economy into a Depression and Avoiding a Crisis
- Will Joe Bidens Presidency be good or bad for Businesses, Trade and the Markets?
- With Vaccines Being Rolled Out, Can We Expect the World to Return to Normal?
- Why the Chief Technology Officer has become so critical to the Success of Corporates?
- How the Pandemic is a Nightmare for Small Businesses and Ways to Help Them
- Are Women Leaders Better Than Their Male Counterparts? Lessons from the Pandemic
- Why are there so Many Protests Everywhere and What can be Done to Address Them
- If 2020 was bad for Businesses, How Will 2021 Be? Extrapolating the Present Trends
- What is Commercial Arbitration and How Firms Use it to Settle Business Disputes
- Where Does the United States Go From Here and the Impact on Business and Economy?
- When Businesses Become Political: Are Facebook and Twitter Right in Banning Trump?
- Does India Inc. Have a Diversity Problem? Should Indian Firms Do More for Inclusivity?
- Is the Indian Economy Returning to the Much Dreaded Hindu Rate of Growth Trap?
- Why the Epidemic of Stress is Endemic in the Post Pandemic World and How to combat it
- What is Carbon Neutrality and Why Businesses Must Embrace it before it is Too Late
- Should Corporates Implement Affirmative Action as a Means of Ensuring Social Justice?
- Why the Indian Financial System is in a Mess and How to save it from Collapse and Chaos
- The Bill Gates Saga and How Corporates/NGOs Should Handle Executive Misconduct
- The Glocal Approach in Business Is Applying Practical Intelligence in the Real World
- What is China Plus Strategy and Why it Can Become a Game Changer for the Indian Economy?
- Whats Behind the Big Tech Meltdown? Is It a Temporary Blip or a Longer Term Reckoning?