During this difficult situation with COVID-19, the health and safety of our tenants, customers and employees is our priority. As we navigate these uncertain times, we want to provide you with a list of potential resources and guidance for your business. Please also adhere to all rules and regulations set in place by your local, state and federal agencies as it relates to your business.
Please know that we are always available to you as a resource. We truly value our tenants and we want you to be successful. We are working tirelessly to stay informed by the hour and will continue to communicate and update this document on our website as new opportunities and ideas arise.
Aid For Small Business
UPDATE - The SBA is unable to accept new applications at this time for the Paycheck Protection Program or the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)-COVID-19 related assistance program (including EIDL Advances) based on available funding. EIDL applicants who have already submitted their applications will continue to be processed on a first-come, first-served basis.
Be sure to have your paperwork ready to re-submit an application if and when new funding becomes available.
CARES Act/Paycheck Protection Program
Congress passed the CARES Act, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, providing economic aid for small businesses. The bill gives small businesses access to a nearly $350 billion loan program to cover monthly expenses like payroll, rent and utilities. There is mention that the loan does not have to be repaid if businesses maintain their workforce. The eight weeks of assistance is retroactive to Feb. 15, 2020 to help bring back workers who have already been laid off. Small business, as defined by SBA, is up to 500 employees. Sole proprietors, the self-employed and independent contractors are eligible for this program. SBA’s standard “no credit elsewhere” test is waived and non-SBA lenders approved by Treasury and SBA can provide loans.
Refer here for the Small Business Owner's Guide for the CARES act, sent to us by the Lexington, MA Chamber of Commerce.
Paycheck Protection Plan factsheet for borrowers here
Apply for the Paycheck Protection Plan here
MA Note: Newly announced! The City of Boston Small Business Relief Fund - $2,500 - $10,000 grants for small businesses most impacted by COVID-19. Requirements include: Fewer than 35 employees, less than $1.5 million in annual revenue, registered with/ in good standing with/ and operating in the city of Boston (excluding chain or corporate franchises). Applications started to be accepted on Monday, April 6th - you can apply here.
Cambridge, MA Grant
UPDATE - As of April 15th, this grant is fully subscribed but will hold new applications in case there is another funding round. $6,000 grants for brick & mortar retailers. Funds may be used for rent, utilities, employee wages, resources for getting your business online and perishable inventory that was lost due. Apply here. Be sure to check with your local municipality for other grant opportunities.
New Hampshire Assistance
The New Hampshire Division of Economic Development has compiled a comprehensive list of resources for small businesses.
Top SBA lenders in New Hampshire
Rhode Island Assistance
Small Business Hotline at (401) 521-HELP or email firstname.lastname@example.org
SBA FAQ sheet from the Chamber
Helpful SBA webinar video here
Top SBA lenders in Rhode Island
Register your business at RISmallBusiness.org for e-gift card sales
The social media network has committed to offering up to 30,000 small businesses $100 million in cash grants and Facebook advertising credits. Applications for MA/NH/RI businesses are being accepted starting April 22nd, more information and to apply
Now offering $340 million in ad credits to small and midsize businesses with active Google ad accounts as part of an $800 million coronavirus response package. More information here
Some businesses are appealing to loyal customers, donors, and communities that can contribute to their business via crowdsourcing. GoFundMe compilation around COVIC-19
Assistance For Restaurants
Programs that help restaurants and restaurant staff
Boston: Temporary Food Pickup Parking Zones Available for Restaurants in Boston
The City of Boston is offering 5 minute parking zones for restaurants for food pickup until April 6th, 2020. Apply here for your restaurant. Apply here
Contact Your Bank
Many banks are taking on items on a case-by-case basis and offering fee waivers or refunds, changing due dates, extending credit lines and collection forbearance programs.
Be Transparent With Your Customers
It’s critical to communicate openly with your customers about the status of your operations, and what protective measures you’ve implemented if you fall under approved COVID-19 Essential Services to stay open. Let customers know how they will be protected when they visit your business.
Marketing Ideas For Your BusinessRethink Your Approach
- Stay engaged with customers as much as possible!
- Be sure that your business stays active...digitally at least, even if you are not deemed as having an "essential business"
- Think about what the customer needs now….air purifiers, water coolers, lounge clothes, haircut tutorial, home exercise etc. If your bricks and mortar location is closed, what can you sell online?
- Re-allocate staff to web-chat or cold calling
- Rethink the naming of items you offer to be more fun and relevant
- Create a Shopify account if needed
- Update your website (new hours, new staff roles, COVID-19 messaging)
- Add chat to your website
- Video calling capabilities like Skype, FaceTime, Zoom, Google Hangouts, Houseparty
- Call clients to reschedule
- For service related tenants: If you’re providing something online/social - put your Venmo (or other payment method) on your updates to accept tips
- Setup Facebook Messenger
- Check your social media direct messages and be sure to respond
- Setup a WhatsApp Business profile
- Prepare a list of FAQs and post them to your website
- Text messaging with a customer: you could operate in your retail space while they're safely texting from their car in the parking lot
Curbside Pickup and Delivery For Restaurants
- We've seen quite a few restaurants utilize curb-side pickup for contact-less sales
- Pair menu items together to create larger meals that customers can order with one click or create dinner kits for families to assemble at home
- Promote your new items daily on social media
- Update your menus on your website
- Include "order ahead" to promote new items earlier in the day
- Add "sold out" text to items that you ran out of on your menu so people can see that what you're offering is popular
- GrubHub, UberEats and Doordash aren't collecting commission fees from local/independent restaurants for delivery, more info here
- Doordash is helping communities deliver 1 million pounds of prepared food and groceries to homes, seniors and low-income families
- Toast, the restaurant POS system is offering their tools for free for the next three months to create an online menu and delivery capabilities, a mobile app and e-gift cards. More info here
- Many consumers have been supporting local businesses by the purchase of gift cards
- Create a gift card link on your website and send social media updates with the new availability
- If you're a restaurant, utilize the free gift card posting site on Toast's #RallyforRestaurants page
- Kabbage is also offering a free gift card portal for restaurants
- Many other retailers other than restaurants have been utilizing e-gift cards too
For Service Oriented Retailers - Tutorials and How To's
- Build connections with your customers and clients by offering daily/weekly tutorials or how to sessions on Facebook or Instagram Live
- Book one-on-one consultations/video appointments and include your Venmo (or any payment method) name for tips
- Ex. Hair Salon: How to do a simple trim or haircut, book one-on-one consultations to go over how to apply store bought hair color or how to get rid of greys
- Ex. Nail Salon: How to safely soak off a gel or acrylic manicure
- Ex. Fitness: At-home workouts, live-streaming classes
- Send Linear Retail content you want featured on our Instagram Story (daily) @LinearRetail or email@example.com
- Reach out to local influencers
- Post an employee shout-out with a photo and description as to how they're doing a great job and thanking them
- Celebrate a hometown hero
- Work on your portfolio, ex. Hair Salon, upload all those client photo cuts you’ve been meaning to
- Hashtags to include: #supportlocal #covidresources #cometogether #socialdistancing
- Start a challenge
- Continue to market Grad, Dad, Bride/Groom