A note for our businesses and investors.
We know that many black, minority and underserved small businesses and entrepreneurs are deeply concerned about the impacts of the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation. BBIF Florida has been, and will continue to monitor the recommendations of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and local governments, to ensure the health and safety of our clients, staff, and community. At this time, no member of the BBIF staff has been diagnosed with COVID-19 to the best of our knowledge.
Health & Safety is a Priority
In an abundance of caution and for the wellbeing of our staff and its clients, BBIF has altered its traditional business operations. Our offices, including our downtown office, along with our South & North Florida regional offices, have now fully adopted a work-from-home policy. While our offices might be vacant, you have full access to our staff virtually via phone or Zoom video conferencing.
Our commitment to underserved communities is needed now more than ever
It is in times of crisis where we, as a community, have the opportunity to demonstrate just how resilient we are. As such, BBIF has doubled down to continue its mission to support minority owned businesses. As invested members of our community, BBIF will remain vigilant and prepared to make decisions in response to an ever evolving situation. We will continue to be transparent, communicating with our borrowers, partners and community as we navigate through this global crisis.
Thank you for your continued support.
BBIF Florida has been a champion for minority entrepreneurs for over 30 years. We’ve been working hand in hand with business owners across the state of Florida, providing access to capital to underserved businesses statewide.
Negative economic impacts from COVID-19 have already begun and could prove to be long-lasting as communities take necessary steps to slow the spread of the virus and keep people healthy.
We’re here to help. Whether you’re an existing borrower, management consulting client, or business owner exploring opportunities to bridge a downturn in revenues, BBIF Florida is working to share COVID-19 resources, best practices for Florida small businesses, and working with our partners & investors to bring opportunities to our community.
We’re all in this together.
BBIF’s Response to the impact of COVID-19
BBIF stands on the front line of disaster recovery in all forms–the great recession, hurricanes, wildfires, floods, and now, COVID-19. As a true economic first responder, our portfolio consists largely of the very businesses that are being impacted by closures, layoffs, downsizing and uncertainty. To ensure small businesses survive COVID-19, we created the BBIF Emergency Relief Fund. This fund supports BBIF’s clients and Florida’s small businesses.
Government Legislative Response:
Congress is working to approve legislation that will provide anyone who is an approved SBA 7(a) lender with the ability to help small businesses. Once that legislation passes, SBA lenders will have more guidance as to eligibility and process.
Small Business Association (SBA) Resources
Some information from the Small Business Association on how to navigate this unprecedented time is below.
What is Economic Injury Disaster Loan Assistance (EIDL)?
The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering low-interest disaster assistance loans with long payback. These loans can be used as working capital for small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of COVID-19
What can my EIDL be used for?
These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact and loss of business during the disruption.
How do I find out if my small business qualifies?
Once a declaration is made by a state’s governor, the information on the application process for EIDL assistance will be made available to affected small businesses within the state. The business must be in a primary or contiguous county to be eligible. Determine eligibility here.
What if my area is not on the list?
We recommend that you apply anyway. Some states are slower than others to submit to become a disaster area. Your application will be put in a queue to be processed once your state/area is listed.
How do I apply?
Click here to start the process. SBA is also hosting Webinars to help walk businesses through the application process.
What are the rates and terms?
• Up to $2 million per disaster assistance loan. This does not impact other SBA lending amounts and will be determined based on operating expenses and debt payments during the disruption.
• 3.75% interest for small businesses
• 2.75% interest for non-profit organizations
• Loans are offered with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years
• Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay and the amount of fixed cost that need to be taken into consideration
For additional information, please visit SBA.gov/Disaster.
Or contact a member of the BBIF Covid-19 Response Team at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Small Business and Coronavirus: Steps for BBIF Businesses During COVID-19
These are uncertain times, every day we find ourselves, and our businesses in new territory with constant updates regarding the Coronavirus and its impact on our local, and global economy. We continue to have conversations around how to better support our minority owned businesses during this time. Our team of consultants and BBIF recommend the following steps for businesses during Coronavirus.
Check your financing:
• Negotiate with your landlord and suppliers, they want you to stay in business.
• Assess large payments and work with your bank(s) to refinance now. Do not wait until the situation becomes dire.
• If you have business interruption insurance, now is the time to contact your agent.
Overhead and spending:
• Evaluate all your discretionary spending now.
• Eliminate any unnecessary costs.
• Contact service providers and ask for a better rate on services. Focus on cash.
Avoid predatory lenders:
Minority and underserved businesses are especially vulnerable to predatory lending. Predatory lending pulls roughly $9 billion dollars from small businesses. It is destructive. Regardless of the circumstances, predatory lending relationships are destructive to your business. Predatory lending could ruin your ability to restructure your loan with an existing lender. Some signs are:
• The lender encouraging a borrower to frequently refinance in order to charge excessive fees and points (such as interest rates far exceeding the average), to the borrower’s disadvantage (also known as loan flipping)
• Lending based on the borrower’s assets rather than an ability to repay
• Deceptive, confusing, or fraudulent marketing tactics and/or representations
• No credit score checked and/or very easy approval
• Offers come to you unrequested, like through the mail or online
Staff & HR
• Evaluate staffing needs and get acquainted with state unemployment laws.
• If you decide to downsize, do this with a process that allows employees to access unemployment immediately.
• Maximize flexibility in sick leave benefits.
• Do not require a health care provider’s note for those who are sick with respiratory illness. Be empathetic. Employee safety is paramount.
Follow CDC Guidelines:
There is no benefit for placing profits above people and safety. Err on the side of caution. Your facilities, your staff are your strength. Don’t endanger them by ignoring fact-based guidance from health care experts.
Communicate with compassion to your employees:
We are all struggling and trying to process information as fast as we possibly can. Honest, candid and transparent communication with employees will mitigate fear and panic.
Being an entrepreneur is a solitary path under the best of circumstances. During this type of unique and challenging scenario entrepreneurs may tend to default to simply working more and harder. Exhausting yourself by working around the clock will only make you more vulnerable to fatigue and illness. Rest, diet and wellness are your treasure. Practice self-care to maintain balance and stay in the fight!
Innovate and brainstorm:
• Think about how your company can add value during this crisis.
• There may be some expertise, processes and products that you can extend in a new way that simultaneously builds business opportunities and assists others.
Think out of the box for Small Business Assistance:
This situation is evolving quickly, and resources are being formalized almost daily. Look for small business assistance relief at the City, County, State and Federal level.
Get your Business in order:
If your business has been disrupted, consider digging in on projects that have been pushed aside because things were too busy.
Here are some suggestions:
• Work on your financial projections for 3, 6 and 9 months scenarios; you want to ensure that you are ready when the lender asks for this information. Keep in mind that it may take upwards of 45 days to get a loan.
• Consider working on your MBE certification. Supply chains have been disrupted on a global basis. Procurement will change. Having your MBE certification will help you compete for contracts in the future.
• Add value through your website. Regardless of your industry, you can add thought leadership. You can add valuable content to your website and increase traffic and credibility organically.
• Educate yourself in utilizing virtual/on-line tools.