The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was introduced in 2020 to aid and incentivize small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The $953-billion business loan program has been keeping businesses afloat for over a year, saving millions of jobs in the process. Its application deadlines have been extended multiple times, the last deadline being May 31 or until the remaining funds run out.
However, weeks before this deadline, the remaining $292 billion of PPP funds were exhausted, leaving many small businesses that missed out on the loan questioning their survival. As the money ran out, over 90,000 applicants through Fountainhead and several tens of thousands through Customers Bank were still waiting for their funding.
The PPP, established by the CARES Act, has helped many businesses stay afloat during the pandemic and was renewed in January to continue its benefits. However, this renewal has been marred by dissatisfaction, disappointment, and frustration due to errors that resulted in unfair rejections, confusing last-minute changes, and long processing times.
Due to the long processing times, many applicants missed the opportunity for a PPP loan before the funds ran out, even though they applied much earlier. The PPP also stopped accepting new loan applications a whole month before the deadline since funds were running out.
How Will Small Businesses Be Affected?
Small businesses are among the most affected by the pandemic. Lockdowns and quarantines mean fewer customers and less revenue, leaving small businesses struggling to stay afloat.
Having no other option, many, if not most, small businesses took out loans in an effort to ride out the worst of the pandemic. Many succeeded, with the current loosening of lockdowns allowing customers to support their favorite small businesses again.
However, some are still in need of financial help to get back on their feet. Many such small businesses were counting on their PPP loan to be able to pay their workers, as well as rent, utilities, and interest. Without it, they will be forced to resort to high-interest loans, firing workers, or even stop working altogether.
How Can Small Businesses Survive the COVID Crisis?
Even though PPP loans have run out, the Small Business Administration (SBA) still has $8 billion put aside for community financial institutions, so they still have the chance for low-interest funding.
The SBA also offers other programs, such as the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Program or the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. However, these are only available to those specific types of businesses. Overall, the SBA is a helpful government agency that can provide the necessary help and support for a small business in need.
The main perk of getting a PPP loan are its low interest rates. Compared to regular business loans, a PPP loan has better rates and is more lenient to the lender. Still, a business loan is a good idea if a PPP loan isn’t in the picture anymore. It can make the difference between keeping and losing your business.
Besides loans, small businesses should also focus on expanding and modernizing their media and outreach strategy, make every dollar count, and focus on their most profitable services or products.