The new round of the Paycheck Protection Program is now open. Borrowers can apply through community financial institutions (CFIs) and lenders that have less than $1 billion in assets. All other lenders will be able to submit applications starting on Jan. 19.

Resources for Small Businesses Impacted by Coronavirus

Last Updated on January 15, 2021

The novel coronavirus outbreak has stretched across the globe, inflicting a traumatic toll on millions of people in over 100 countries. Beyond the devastating health impact, the fallout from the pandemic has affected small businesses everywhere, as many have been forced to close or restrict operations, or lost employees to illness.

We’ve always known that small businesses are the heart of the U.S. economy, but the pandemic has shown the true extent of that. As small businesses shutter, struggle to operate, or re-open in limited capacities, American society has ground to a halt, and millions of business owners and their employees are hanging on to their ways of life by a thread.

Guides to PPP Loan Forgiveness 

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Over the last few months, federal, state, and local governments have attempted to respond to this unprecedented crisis. The White House, Congress, the SBA, and many state and local governments have announced or implemented a variety of initiatives for business owners.

The most notable of these initiatives includes the creation of a new lending program, the Paycheck Protection Program. To date, the PPP has disbursed hundreds of billions of dollars in low-cost, forgivable loans to small businesses.

Applying for and Using a PPP Loan

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Other loan programs, newly created tax credits, and cash advances to individuals as well as business owners are just some of the ways that the government has tried to prop up the private sector until the public health emergency has passed. For now, it’s unclear whether these efforts are enough to sustain American small businesses for the long haul.There has also been an upswell of support from private organizations and nonprofits, as well as from everyday Americans who want to show their support for businesses that make up their communities.

Alternatives to PPP Loans

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Here at Fundera, we want to provide small business owners with the financial knowledge, resources, and information they need to make the best decision for their business, both now and in the future. We also want to connect concerned citizens and organizations with the means to make an impact when it comes to supporting their local businesses.

On this page you’ll find access to all of our coronavirus small business resources—including information on obtaining emergency financing, explainers on impactful legislation, and articles detailing what steps you can take to support a business close to you.

Operating Your Business During Coronavirus

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Yelp has become a permanent fixture in the restaurant industry. Consumers rely on it to get information about nearby establishments, while business owners can advertise their company and gain considerable exposure. Even if you have a Yelp page for your business, you might not be taking advantage of everything this platform has to offer. In this post, we’ll detail six ways that your restaurant can utilize Yelp to increase sales, connect with customers, and gain valuable insights. How to Use Yelp as a Restaurant Owner 1. Promote exclusive offers on Yelp. When Yelp users visit your restaurant’s listing, make it worth their while by providing them with exclusive offers that they can’t get anywhere else. For example, by checking in to your restaurant on Yelp, they can score a free appetizer, percentage off their order, or another exciting promotion. Not only is this a way to potentially increase sales (we know that consumers often spend more money when they have a discount), but once users check in and redeem their offer, they might be inclined to leave your business a rave review. On their website, Yelp offers guidance on how you can post or remove a check-in offer on your business listing. 2. Post photos of your food, ambiance, and location. Although you might think that only patrons can post photos of your restaurant, you, as a business owner, can also boost your page by adding images. Yelp allows business owners to post photos directly to their company profile in the section that also displays customer photos. This presents a great opportunity to hire a professional photographer to take pictures of your cuisine, décor, and staff in action serving your customers. These eye-catching images could grab potential diners’ attention, so definitely consider investing in high-quality photos that will spark interest in your restaurant. 3. Utilize Yelp’s reservation system. Even if your business takes reservations over the phone or is listed on popular apps such as OpenTable, you should also consider taking reservations through Yelp. Dedicated “Yelpers” who research restaurants on the app will appreciate the convenience of being able to book a reservation on the app, instead of having to pick up the telephone, visit a website, or open another app. By giving customers another way to book at your restaurant, you can entice them to pick your business over a competitor—and give them a reason to come back again. 4. Consider the feedback from reviews. Naturally, you want to provide excellent service, cuisine, and an overall experience that leads patrons to leave you five-star reviews filled with compliments. Unfortunately, you can’t make everyone happy, and there will probably be instances in which customers point out how your restaurant could improve. Instead of getting defensive or ignoring negative reviews, use them as an opportunity to grow. A review that points out your long wait times could help you to refine your walk-in process or add in more reservations. Or, a patron that writes about a particular dish that had a small portion or tasted too salty might allow you to take these notes to your chef so that they can revise the recipe. While it’s crucial that you believe in your restaurant, listening to constructive criticism can be a great way to improve your business model and make customers happier every time they walk through your doors. 5. Respond to customer feedback and create relationships. Just as you shouldn’t ignore your customers’ feedback, you also shouldn’t forget to respond to them. It might seem challenging to be professional toward someone who’s trashing your business, but it’s imperative to your restaurant’s reputation. Respond to all reviews by thanking the patron for visiting your establishment. Then, if the review is negative, directly address their complaints and explain how you’ll do it differently next time. You might even ask them to send you a private, direct message so that you can get more information from them (for example, if they say that a server was rude or that there was an issue with their bill). Not only will this show the patron that you’re committed to righting your wrongs, but it will also make it evident to other potential customers who view your Yelp profile that you care about customer satisfaction. 6. Study every competitor profile. Spend some time looking at restaurants in your area and take a hard look at their profiles. Examine the businesses that come up when you search targeted keywords and how they rank next to yours. Do they have higher ratings? Do they engage with their reviews more often? Try to figure out what sets these great profiles apart and how you can improve yours. And don’t ignore competitors with poor reviews either—dig into those two- and three-star reviews and figure out what customers are saying and how you can avoid those pitfalls. All this snooping is a great way to ensure your business’s profile stays front and center on the site. Start Utilizing Yelp in More Effective Ways While having a Yelp profile for your business is important, simply filling out the basic information and never looking at it again won’t cut it. You can utilize the features in this post to connect with your customers and keep them coming back for more, which should benefit your business’s bottom line.
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