COVID-19 Resources for Small Businesses

If your small business has been negatively impacted by the worldwide COVID-19 crisis, there is help available from the federal government.  Below is information on some of the various programs your company may be eligible for.

In order to be eligible for COVID-19 financial assistance under these programs, businesses must have less than 500 employees, have been in operation as of February 15, 2020, pay salaries for employees, and pay payroll tax and/or independent contractors.

It is recommended that you speak with your tax advisor before applying for these programs and have a clear understanding of how they work and the terms associated with each.

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
The Paycheck Protection Program is designed for small businesses, self-employed individuals, and other organizations with less than 500 employees to tap into $349-billion set aside by the federal government for job retention and other expenses.

Those eligible for the program can receive a loan up to $10-million which is 2.5x your average monthly payroll.   There are a few options for determining the monthly average which can be viewed by clicking here.

Since the program is designed to retain jobs, the United States Small Business Association (SBA) will forgive the portion of the loan proceeds, up to 100%, that are used to cover the first 8 weeks of payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities as long as the jobs are retained.

PPP loan proceeds may also be used to pay interest payments on mortgage obligations, rent, utilities, and interest on other debt obligations previously incurred.

Those who receive a loan under the PPP will have loan payments deferred for six months.

For more information on the Paycheck Protection Program, click here.

Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Loan Advance (EIDL)
Under the SBA’s Economic Disaster Loan program, small businesses and can receive working capital loans up to $2-million to help overcome a temporary loss of revenue.

The Economic Disaster Loan program is designed to provide eligible small business owners with an advance on that loan of up to $10,000 which will be made available in approximately three business days.  The loan advance does not need to be repaid.

EIDL loans will have an interest rate of 3.75% for small businesses with long-term payback terms up to 30 years which vary based on the businesses’ ability to repay.

For loans under $200,000.00 the requirement for personal collateral is waived.  Additionally, loans can be approved based on a credit score; tax returns are no longer required.

Applying for the loan takes about two hours and can be done online by clicking here.

SBA Express Bridge Loans
Designed for businesses that have an existing relationship with an SBA Express Loan lender, these bridge loans allow the business to access up to $25,000 with less paperwork.  Bridge Loans are to be used to overcome temporary loss of revenue or used while waiting for an EIDL loan to be approved if cash is needed urgently.

Bridge Loans will be repaid in full by the proceeds of an approved EIDL.

To find an SBA Express Loan lender, contact your local SBA office by locating one near you by clicking here.

Impact of COVID-10 On Existing Lines of Credit
For those businesses with existing loans, credit card debt, lines of credit, etc., you may be wondering what happens if you are unable to make a payment.

Many financial institutions are waiving late fees, increasing credit lines, and deferring payments.  If you are currently unable to make payments, it is recommended you immediately speak with the lender to see what options are available for you.

For a list of what some financial institutions are doing for small businesses, click here.

State Assistance May Also Be Available
In addition to federal small business assistance programs, several states including California, Florida, Pennsylvania, and more are offering financial aid.

For example, in Florida, the state is offering short-term, interest-free working capital bridge loans, while in California the City of Sacramento is offering $1 million economic relief fund for businesses with zero-percent interest loans of up to $25,000 per business.

It is recommended that you check with your state to see what programs are available for your business.

Author note: It is our intention to keep this information updated as more programs become available, so please check back frequently for updates.

How to Determine if Free or Reduced Cost Shipping can Boost Your Online Sales

Let’s be frank, competition is tougher than ever and with the state of the current economy, it’s only going to get tougher.  Many online stores and brick-and-mortar retailers are offering additional incentives to get people to spend money.

One incentive that has always been a staple of eCommerce is free or reduced-cost shipping.  Consumers tend to believe that online retailers who charge for shipping are doing so at a profit when many times, in reality, it’s a loss.

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A Guide to Working Remotely

As the COVID-19 crisis continues to develop and evolve with each passing day, there may be a point where you and some of your employees may have to work remotely. While not all functions of an eCommerce business can be run from a home or remote office, some can such as marketing, finance, customer support, and more.

Yesterday, I shared information on how to prepare a contingency plan for your business. In it, I addressed how businesses should be ready to have employees work from home or an alternate location if necessary. Today, I’m sharing tips on how to efficiently work remotely.

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Does Your Business Have a Contingency Plan?

In today’s changing environment and the uncertainty that surrounds us in regards to COVID-19, it’s important not only to keep you and your family safe but your business as well.

As eCommerce entrepreneurs, we work hard day in and day out to grow our business, take care of our customers, and meet the needs and expectations of our employees.

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eCommerce Replatforming: Best Practices, Tips & Tricks

There are several key technology “ingredients” used in any retail business:

  • The customer management system that stores information about shoppers and their behavior,
  • The inventory management system that keeps track of product stock and locations,
  • The fulfillment system that gets the products shipped out to customers, and
  • The ecommerce storefront that holds it all together and makes the shopping experience presentable to customers.

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FREE DOWNLOAD: A Step-By-Step Guide to eCommerce Platform Migration

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been sharing valuable information with our readers about platform migrations.  Why? Because one of the most frequently asked questions from our clients surround whether or not it’s time for them to move their eCommerce store from one platform to another.

While migrating to a new platform may seem like an easy process, it’s not.  Nor should it be something that is decided upon without thoroughly researching your options as well as the pros and cons that go along with a move.

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VIDEO: Don Cole Talks eCommerce Platforms Migrations

Changing eCommerce platforms is a hot topic in 2020.  Many store owners are debating whether moving or staying put is the right choice for their business.

I recently wrote a post about some things to consider if you’ve been thinking about moving.  If you haven’t had the opportunity to read it, take a moment to now by clicking here.

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The Importance of Product Photography and How to Do It on a Tight Budget

Any eCommerce store owner knows just how important images are for online selling. Even you as a consumer would probably base a huge bulk of your decision-making on product photos. After all, online shoppers can’t see the products with their own eyes, much less inspect them in their hands.

Not only are people naturally visual, but the sense of sight also plays a huge role in online shopping because customers can’t touch, smell, or even taste (for edible items) the products. Visual information is actually 90% of what’s transmitted to our brains.

Having an online store means you should also know what goes into product photography and what type of images would engage visitors and increase conversions.

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Considering Changing eCommerce Platforms? Read this First.

The new year may have you thinking about making some changes with the way you operate your eCommerce business. The rush of the holidays provides a great insight into where you can look to improve.

From researching a new order management system or hiring more customer service reps, to choosing a better shipping software solution or even switching platforms your store runs on. All these and more are valid things you should be looking at to improve and streamline your operations in 2020.

Continue reading “Considering Changing eCommerce Platforms? Read this First.”

Does the CCPA Apply to Your eCommerce Business?

By now you probably have heard of a new law that went into effect on January 1, 2020, in the state of California.  Designed to protect consumer rights in relation to how businesses collect, use, and share information from website visitors, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) may or may not impact your eCommerce business.

While the CCPA impacts any for-profit business that transacts in the state, whether or not your company needs to comply is an important question on the minds of many small business owners.

Continue reading “Does the CCPA Apply to Your eCommerce Business?”