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The owners of the country’s smallest businesses have just over a week of priority access to the paycheck protection program’s paycheck protection program’s payable loans.
Last Wednesday, the Small Business Administration began accepting only PPP loan applications from companies with fewer than 20 employees. This priority period should last two weeks before the program reopens to the rest of the small businesses.
“Whenever there is a deadline, people feel that pressure,” said Melissa Bradley, co-founder of the mentorship technology platform Ureeka, which is now helping small businesses through the PPP application process.
“Don’t make it blind,” she added. “Be an opportunist, but not an opportunist.”
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While Bradley appreciates the two week window, she believes there isn’t much time for business owners to get their records in order and do their research. She is concerned that many of the business owners who could benefit from prioritization are not properly prepared and have not had access to the type of support in the past to help them.
There are also still some guidance from the SBA that is expected to update their formula for sole proprietorships this week. It is expected that the eligibility calculations based on net profit will be shifted to gross income.
“The change … will likely affect ten times or more the loan size,” said Sam Sidhu, chief operating officer of Customers Bank, headquartered in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. Approximately 70% of the loan volume are first-time customers of PPP.
“It will help those who need the money most,” he added.
The customer bank is holding back the funding of these loans until the SBA publishes its guidelines.
Here you will find strategies with which you can control the process – before, during and after your application.
Whenever you make a financial commitment, read the fine print, Bradley said. Download the application and note the terms.
Also, check out everything that has been written about it, including news reports. The SBA describes the first and second drawing loans as well as the lending and documents frequently asked questions on its website.
It also means keeping up to date with any changes or adjustments in the legislation.
Get your financial house in order
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Make sure your bank statements are up to date and have an accountant review them.
Then think about the amount of money you are asking for in the application. Typically, color women and business owners tend to seek out loan amounts that they think they can get, rather than what they need, Bradley said.
“Make sure you ask enough to not only survive but thrive,” she said.
Once you figure out what it takes to be successful, do another financial analysis that takes into account your ability to repay the loan if you need to, advises Bradley.
In order for the loan to be granted, 60% must be spent on payroll. Under current rules, sole proprietorships can use it to pay for themselves, limited to eight weeks of their 2019 net income. However, the updated guidelines expected by the SBA may affect this.
“There is no degree of clarity about what will be required and how lending will be calculated,” Bradley said.
When you get the loan, make sure you keep track of how you use it and keep all the documents on hand. If the window opens when you ask for forgiveness, don’t waste time gathering information and records, she advised.
Fill out the application
When filling out the application, pay attention to all the small details. Have your tax return information and other documents ready and organized.
Here are more tips courtesy of Customers Bank:
- Answer the questions accurately.
- If this is your second loan, correctly enter the SBA number of your first loan.
- Get the right amount.
- Get the real name of the lender.
- Do you know your North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code and are entering it correctly.
- Understand the difference between W-2 employees and 1099 employees.
- Organize your billing numbers.
- Make sure you have the correct incoming routing number for the bank account that the loan will be deposited into.
Remember that if you get the loan until it’s gone, it will appear as a debt on your balance sheet, Bradley warned.
“So you have to understand how debt will affect future financing rounds until a loan is granted.”
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