From large companies to small and new businesses, the coronavirus pandemic has touched every business owner across the nation in one way or another. On the long list of needs and challenges, cash flow easily ranks at the very top. From transitioning to remote work and boosting their online presence to keeping operations running smoothly and their doors open, the need for extra capital has only grown as time has gone by.
In an effort to increase the available funding, the Biden-Harris administration recently announced a 14-day priority window that would be available until March 9. During those two weeks, only businesses with fewer than 20 employees could apply for a forgivable loan through PPP. The aim was to assist women and minority-owned businesses access the funds they need to stay afloat.
The good news is that, although this window has now passed, it is still possible for businesses to apply for funding through the program. Lenders have shared that they do not anticipate the funds running out of money before the March 31 expiration date. Through March 7, the SBA had approved more than 2.4 million PPP loans, totaling nearly $165 billion.
Broken down, that’s approximately 58% of the $284 billion originally allocated to the program upon its reopening in January. This is an important update for the smallest of businesses that still want to take advantage of these funds, but were delayed in submitting the necessary paperwork. Sam Sidhu, chief operating officer of Customers Bank, encourages these businesses not to assume that because they missed the priority window they won’t get a loan.
The March 31 Deadline
Lenders are saying the real deadline to keep in mind is the looming March 31 deadline. Chris Hurn, chief executive of Fountainhead Commercial Capital, a nonbank lender, says his concern is that this date isn’t enough time for small business owners to apply for additional rounds of funding – funding that is crucial for their survival. Thus far, the new administration has not hinted as to whether or not the program will be extended.
So, what’s next? The best option for small business owners is to explore all their options. There are still many, many small business loan options available today that can provide the cash needed to maintain operations, keep up with the latest consumer trends and boost cash flow. For example, merchant cash advances, invoice factoring and other alternative options are known for their speed and flexibility.
Above all, make sure the option you choose takes your business’ short-term needs and long-term financial health into account.
Michael Hollis is a Detroit native who has helped hundreds of business owners with their small business loan solutions. He’s experimented with various occupations: computer programming, dog-training, accounting… But his favorite is the one he’s now doing — providing business funding for hard-working business owners across the country.