GRAND BLANC TWP. — Small businesses have been hit hard by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s order that all non-essential businesses close in an effort to stem the growth of COVID- 19.
Many small business owners don’t know whether they will be able to recover from weeks of not being able to operate. Grand Blanc Township Supervisor Scott Bennett recently held a virtual small business recovery town hall meeting to help small business owners like himself navigate their way through assistance programs designed to help them weather this storm.
“The vast majority of businesses are closed,” Bennett said. “Only essential businesses are open. Even construction projects have been told to come to a stop. Some of the restaurants are open for takeout, but that’s pretty tough even to maintain. The only businesses that are doing any sort of business are grocery stores and for gas.”
Bennett, owner of Virtual Marketing Systems, Inc., which works with restaurants and entertainment businesses throughout the state, knows firsthand the effect the coronavirus pandemic is having on small businesses. He wants business owners in the same situation to know there is help available.
Bennett said the best place for people to start looking for help is the Small Business Development Center website, www.sbdcmichigan.org. The agency is an arm of the Small Business Administration, which oversees most of the assistance from the federal government.
“You can go on the website and schedule with a business consultant and within a day get an email response back that will schedule a time with you by phone to walk through the various programs available,” Bennett said. “There’s going to be some discernment as to which program would best suit their needs. There are tax credits, emergency loan options with a $10,000 immediate advance. There are a number of options available that they’ll be able to provide.”
Bennett also encourages small business owners to talk with their banker and their accountant. Some of the assistance options require owners to go through their SBA bank. An accountant can determine whether a business will benefit from tax credits or an emergency loan.
“Some of the loans are forgivable, so if you can get a loan and d part of it’s forgivable, why not take advantage of it?” Bennett said. “The door was slammed shut so quickly, and cash flow was immediately cut off. If they don’t have it, they’re dead in the water. They’ve got to find cash to pay the bills and to pay people when they were working.”
For more information on small business assistance, visit the township’s website at www.twp.grand-blanc.mi.us. A video of the April 1 small business recovery town hall meeting also is available on the website.