Stimulate this Small Business
October 15, 2020 9:28 AM   Subscribe

Hi All, PEr a suggestion in my previous thread, I'm asking for non-government stimulus options for my mom's business. It's somewhat unusual, details below the fold.

She owns, with her Thai sister, a few cafeteria concepts on a large tech campus. The campus has been closed for 99% of employees since March, when most of the tech sector started working from home.

The corporation has decided to pay the wages for all of her hourly employees, but there is still cash flowing out of the business, to salaried employees among other places.

They obtained a PPP loan which is due to run out in the next while, and the campus is still closed, and likely to remain so for a while.

Mom is very hesitant to investigate loans from other places, for fear of having to put up personal guarantees and pay exorbitant interest.

I'm just writing on the off-chance there are any opportunities the hive mind might be aware of that would let us avoid having to slowly dip into the company's own reserves, or its flesh, as mom said this morning.

Thank you all for any ideas.
posted by Alensin to Work & Money (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I don't understand why "non-government" is important, as having government-backed or administered loans is now and will be one of the major COVID relief elements for businesses. The government involvement is why they can (possibly) be lower interest and have less stringent requirements for collateral. I know of several tiny companies, including the one I work for, who have also gotten Economic Injury Disaster Loans in addition to the PPP.

Many state governments and some cities are running similar small business relief programs, especially now that they either have money undistributed from the initial relief efforts and/or have a better grasp of which businesses are still in deep trouble.

From a non-loan standpoint, I can see that there are many attempts by similar businesses (restaurants, say, or record stores) to cooperate with each other and combine resources - things from running ads to remind people to buy local to collecting donations to pay furloughed employees. This seems to mostly happen at the state or local level, though. If you feel comfortable letting us know where the business is you might get some concrete suggestions.

Trying a GoFundMe or other "crowdfunding" campaign might be something to consider.
posted by soundguy99 at 10:44 AM on October 15

I should clarify that I am open to all options, government or otherwise. I was writing more or less stream of consciousness and non-government snuck in, when it was not really to any useful purpose.

We're in Washington State.
posted by Alensin at 10:53 AM on October 15

Oh yay you posted. Here are some ideas and steps I’ve heard of or have taken:

Is she in touch with her local business association or state/county/city (sorry I’m in Canada) small business administration? There may be nonprofits to help too. The association might be able to point you at more resources.

Is she paying rent? This is huge. In some areas where I am there are rent subsidies. Also businesses I’m familiar with have successfully negotiated reductions or deferrals. In one case the landlord insisted on some money being set aside in case the business went bankrupt, but is deferring payment for a good while.

Utilities and technology costs - turn everything off that you can. Again some areas have grants or special rates/deferrals for small businesses. Same with taxes.

Alternate revenue streams - this is where it gets tricky and math is key but if she’s paying staff anyway, which is great, she might want to look at leveraging her business supply chain and contacts. For example, I know a food service business In a college that got shut down, but partnered with a local businessman (via a politician) to supply healthy boxed meals to healthcare workers. That revenue has helped so far even though it was a step out of their comfort zone. They are doing meal prep kits now. She could also ask the corporation to help market a curbside fundraiser or something — that won’t help long term but it’s something.

Some businesses I know are partnering up too. An example is a local restaurant that has a patio that is selling blankets and masks. Could your mom set up to be a good service partner with someone else?

Longer term if she thinks the campus won’t reopen, she might need to look for space/pop up space where there are customers. Maybe there’s a skating rink that needs a concession stand this year or similar.

I know this sucks and I apologize for whichever ideas above are tedious for you guys. For my small business we looked at wage subsidies which are your ppp equivalents and rent right away.

Food is one of the hardest though, I’m sorry.
posted by warriorqueen at 6:21 PM on October 15 [1 favorite]

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