How businesses can survive uncertain times SanTan Sun News

How businesses can survive uncertain times

How businesses can survive uncertain times
Opinion
0

By Mark Stewart
Guest Writer

There is no debating that Arizona is a hotspot for the coronavirus pandemic. With cases rising, some businesses have been ordered to close once again, just two months after Governor Ducey began reopening the state following the expiration of the stay-at-home order.

After the initial executive order to close nonessential businesses, the federal government began multiple waves of economic stimulus to help small businesses that might not otherwise survive closures.

Now with some businesses facing another order to close and no certain plans for additional stimulus, how can local government and owners work together to keep businesses afloat during the pandemic?

Government should be a facilitator. Rather than regulating every move of businesses, the government should facilitate options for owners to stay open and do so safely.

We cannot afford to shut down the economy again, so we must get creative and find solutions that keep consumers safe while keeping businesses open.

One way that Chandler has done this is by providing PPE grants to local businesses. Each company that bought PPE for their employees or customers is eligible to receive a $500 grant to offset costs, which encourages them to practice CDC guidelines.

In addition, relaxing laws that allow for more sales, like allowing alcohol to be purchased via takeout, is another great way to use the government to facilitate more opportunities for businesses.

Remove the stigma behind government assistance. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act has provided huge opportunities for businesses to apply for funds including the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) and more.

There is currently more than $100 billion in funding available through PPP. With new guidance giving businesses up to 24-weeks to use funds and the added flexibility to include eligible payroll and non-payroll expenses, it should be a no-brainer to apply before the new Aug. 8 deadline.

Despite having a desperate need for funds, some owners are afraid to apply for assistance due to fear of not having the PPP loan forgiven or receiving pushback for accepting money from the government.

Businesses cannot let those concerns deter them from applying. These programs were created to help businesses keep their doors open and to protect the enormous effort that has gone into the business success.

As a community, we should not vilify companies who use these programs.

Businesses should invest in themselves. If you received money from government programs or have been successful during the pandemic, now is the time for smart invests in your business that support this unforeseen changing landscape.

Do you need a new system to help online orders process more smoothly? Do you need additional space to maximize adding takeout opportunities for your restaurant? Take this time to upgrade your business model and prepare yourself for what the “new normal” may hold.

Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic has hit small businesses harder than we could have ever imagined. Owners have tried their best to weather the storm, but not all have been able to survive multiple closings.

The government can be a facilitator for growth and opportunity, providing help while staying out of the way of business owners.

If we work together, I believe we can make it through these unprecedented times stronger than before.

Chandler Councilman Mark Stewart is a  state ambassador for the Jobs Creator Network and co-founder of micro- and small-business accelerator Concept2Completion.

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