Tuesday, October 13, 2020

COVID-19 Is Having an Immediate and Alarming Impact on Latino-Owned Businesses

Source:  https://tinyurl.com/yyn8pfdj

Written by: Margaret Steen

In a Stanford survey, nearly two-thirds say they will be out of business in six months if current trends continue.

Maria Palacio lost 97% of her coffee company’s business over a 24-hour period in March, just a few days after the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Progeny Coffee delivers sustainably farmed coffee to workplaces in Silicon Valley. Business had been slowing as the health crisis mounted and tech companies encouraged employees to work from home. Then authorities in the San Francisco Bay Area issued orders for residents to shelter in place, emptying the offices of Palacio’s customers.

Two weeks after the WHO declaration, the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative administered a survey on the effects of the crisis to 224 mostly scaled ($1 million-plus revenue) Latino-owned businesses in the United States. The findings were alarming: 86% of respondents reported immediate negative effects ranging from project delays to complete closure. And almost two-thirds said they would not be able to sustain their businesses for more than six months if the restrictions were kept in place. Detailed results are reported in “The Impact of COVID-19 on Latino-Owned Businesses.”

After Congress responded to the unfolding economic disaster in late March with the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), managed by the Small Business Administration, SLEI conducted a second survey focused on government assistance to businesses.

Instant Impact

Palacio, cofounder and CEO of Progeny Coffee in Berkeley, California, is an example of the 86% of respondents who felt immediate negative effects of COVID-19.

In addition to losing local customers, the company couldn’t ship coffee from Colombia to European customers because of a shutdown in Colombia. And Palacio had to postpone plans to launch a new beverage: The drink could no longer be bottled in Colombia, and the U.S. supermarket chain that had agreed to buy it was too focused on supplying essentials to introduce a new product.

“Everything that we had really positive in our company shut down,” Palacio says. “It all happened at the same time.”

Not every survey respondent said business was down. For 3% — those who sell cleaning supplies, for example — the pandemic has had positive effects. “Our business has exploded,” reported one maker of hand sanitizer and disinfectants.

The remaining 11% of respondents reported business as usual. Some were deemed essential businesses and continued operations. Others have been able to shift their employees to telework. These respondents noted some additional expenses related to employees working from home, and some offered additional sick leave. Many are also anticipating additional downstream effects.

Ongoing Challenges

One-quarter of the scaled companies and one-third of the unscaled companies in the survey said their employees cannot work remotely, putting them under even more pressure.

Alan Koenig is the chief financial officer of Prosein, a 40-year-old family business in Miami that sells flooring to developers, contractors, and architects. Although the business was not shut down — construction was considered an essential industry — traffic in the company’s showrooms declined by over 90% in April. That same month, the company’s sales were down 70% compared with the beginning of the year. “People are not coming to a showroom,” Koenig says.
Will customers have the money to pay?

One survey respondent who had not seen an immediate impact on business was worried nonetheless: One of their customers has already changed to paying in 60 days rather than 30, while another needs more time to figure out how to pay.

Prospects for future business are even more concerning. One respondent who works in the real estate industry is worried that if real estate sales fall, business will drop off as well. And Koenig notes that it’s not clear how many people will embark on a home remodel during a recession.
Will supply chains hold up?

Even if demand for goods resumes once businesses reopen in the U.S., global supply chains are being disrupted. For example, Koenig is seeing delayed shipments from Italy and Spain.

In Colombia, Palacio says the coffee farmers she works with are having trouble harvesting and shipping their crops due to the pandemic. “There’s no way right now to get the coffee all the way to the port to ship it out for some of our farmers,” she explains. Coffee is typically harvested just once or twice a year, so losing a crop could have an outsize effect on the supply.
Weathering the Storm

The businesses that have been hardest hit by the pandemic don’t have a lot of time to rebound. Almost two-thirds of respondents — 65% — said they can continue operating for up to six months under the current restrictions. This includes 71% of unscaled firms and 59% of scaled firms.

Almost half of respondents — 46% — said they would run out of money in three months or less. “We’ve called our landlord and all of our vendors to request forbearance on all of our monthly bills,” one respondent said.

“In terms of liquidity, there’s a real sense of urgency to get cash to these businesses,” says Marlene Orozco, lead research analyst with SLEI.

For the first round of PPP funding approved by Congress, aid was distributed primarily through banking institutions — a disadvantage for many Latino-owned businesses, which are less likely to be connected to large financial institutions, Orozco says.

At the time of SLEI’s follow-up survey in late April, 31% of respondents had applied for aid and been approved, and 55% had applied for aid and were still awaiting a response.

Koenig is among those who’ve been approved for government aid: both a PPP loan and an Economic Injury Disaster Loan from the Small Business Administration. With these in place, he estimates that he can keep his 15-employee business afloat for six months. “But we need to come up with new ideas to make the business profitable again,” he says.

Palacio also sought help to keep her business going. She applied for PPP loans from several lenders and was approved by a small lender in Minneapolis. She also got an Economic Injury Disaster Loan and a loan from ICA, a Community Development Financial Institution in Oakland. And Intuit, one of her customers, started a GoFundMe campaign to help her business and the Colombian farmers who produce the coffee.

“We reacted pretty fast and applied to many different places,” Palacio says.

Almost a quarter of respondents (23%), mostly in the professional and business services industry, said they could keep their businesses going for more than a year under current conditions.

Adapting to the New Reality

Business owners realize they will need to be nimble to survive.

“We are assuming that this is our new normal and we need to make it work,” Palacio says. It’s not clear how long until Silicon Valley office buildings fill with employees again, so she is shifting her business to sell coffee direct to consumers. “If we’re able to figure out a niche market and create subscriptions, that will give us more runway.”

About half of survey respondents (49%) had already reduced their staff, employees’ hours, or pay, with more than half saying they expect they will need to take this step in the next three months. Scaled firms were more likely to have implemented staff cuts (56% had, compared with 40% of unscaled firms). Unscaled firms were more likely to have adjusted their pricing (27% vs. 23%).

Koenig, too, is looking for ways to adapt his business — perhaps even after the crisis is over. The company is trying to improve its cash flow by charging customers for products in full up-front rather than letting them pay only 50% until they need them. They are also sending tile samples to customers and exploring virtual reality as a way to show customers how the tiles will look. Strategies like these might ultimately replace the company’s physical showrooms.

“We have big showrooms that maybe are no longer needed,” Koenig says. “We don’t know if people are going to go out and look for flooring. We need to take our business to our customers’ homes.”

Monday, October 5, 2020

Why Right Now Is the Best Time Ever to Start a Business

Macro-economic uncertainty is creating opportunities entrepreneurs have not seen in decades. Seize this extraordinary moment.

Written by: Alex Gold
CMO of Myia Health

“I am really concerned about starting a new company right now. I think the world is too unstable and it’s just too risky,” a very close friend of mine was relaying to me the other day. “I have a job. I don’t want to voluntarily quit, have my company fail and then struggle to find something on the other side.”

“You need to look at things differently,” I responded. “You need to look at the extraordinary opportunities and the lower barriers to entry for starting a company right now. You can have access to people and talent that you would not have had previously.”

“Yes, I know, but I am still worried," my friend immediately responded. “I guess I want to have my cake and eat it.”

As technology futurist Kevin Kelly would say, right now is the best time to start a new business. Unfortunately, many potential founders, like my friend, are fearful. This is not anecdotal. Between 1978 and 2012, the number of new companies declined by nearly 44 percent, according to the Kauffman Foundation.

Paradoxically, recessions and unstable periods present the best opportunities to start new companies. During the 2008 Financial Crisis, billion dollar startups like Uber, Airbnb, and many others were founded partly as a response to changing market dynamics.

The present day is no exception, offering once-in-a-lifetime opportunities and unfair advantages to potential entrepreneurs. Among these are increased access to people and talent at lower and negotiable costs, and an environment in which consumers are more willing to try new products and services — often out of necessity. 

Increased Access to People and Talent

During boom periods, engineering, design, product and sales talent can be incredibly challenging to recruit and eventually close. Not only is the talent scarce on the market, but the best ones often command fees that can quickly bankrupt a nascent startup if they do not show value from their hires quickly.

Now, many established companies and even startups have laid off talent due to decreased marketplace demand. And due to larger market dynamics, overall salaries have also declined for once in-demand positions.

This has opened up people and talent-recruiting opportunities for entrepreneurs; with the ability to access talent that is critical to early stage growth that would otherwise be lured by larger salaries or more stable opportunities. Entrepreneurs can also rely more on alternative compensation schemes like equity to lure potential hires as the cash compensation and bonuses become more scarce. 

Time to Negotiate “Fixed” Costs

Although the fixed costs to start a new company (i.e. servers, real estate, etc.) have come down considerably over the past 20 years, they are still relatively high for early stage entrepreneurs. For real estate leases, SaaS and other capital and operating expenditures, entrepreneurs are often faced with high initial upfront expenses before their business ever generates its first spate of revenue.

In leaner and meaner times, real estate costs often decline considerably and landlords are more than willing to provide attractive deal terms to close a deal, including office renovations and more flexible lease terms. Other cost centers like SaaS and independent-contracting services may be more open to negotiation and flexible business terms as well. All of this decreases the cost of starting a business and allows entrepreneurs to deploy precious capital resources into hiring and product rather than fee based services. “Trysumers”

A foundational challenge to starting and growing a new business is acquiring customers. An expensive proposition, this will often involve persuading consumers to try a new product option or category or switch between brands. Many entrepreneurs often fail at this process, even when equipped with a significant capital war chest.

In the current environment, customer-acquisition costs may decrease considerably. First, due to economic necessity and changes in routine, consumers may be more willing to try new products and services or even switch brands from their normal selection. More importantly, as new behaviors and routines come to the fore, consumers may adopt different products and services. This provides ample new opportunities for acquisition.

Leaner and meaner times present a host of macro-economic challenges. Somewhat paradoxically, but also logically, this makes right now the best time to start a new business. Chiefly, this is because of greater access to people and talent, negotiable fees and a greater willingness amongst consumers to try new products — sometimes out of necessity.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Advice for Living

Written by: By Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Ruth Bader Ginsburg appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee for her Supreme Court nomination hearings in 1993.Credit...Stephen Crowley

“Did you always want to be a judge” or, more exorbitantly, “a Supreme Court justice?” Schoolchildren visiting me at the court, as they do at least weekly, ask that question more than any other. It is a sign of huge progress made. To today’s youth, judgeship as an aspiration for a girl is not at all outlandish. Contrast the ancient days, the fall of 1956, when I entered law school. Women accounted for less than 3 percent of the legal profession in the United States, and only one woman had ever served on a federal appellate court.

Today about half the nation’s law students and more than one-third of our federal judges are women, including three of the justices seated on the United States Supreme Court bench. Women hold more than 30 percent of law school deanships in the United States and serve as general counsel to 24 percent of Fortune 500 companies. In my long life, I have seen great changes.

How fortunate I was to be alive and a lawyer when, for the first time in United States history, it became possible to urge, successfully, before legislatures and courts, the equal-citizenship stature of women and men as a fundamental constitutional principle. Feminists, caring men among them, had sought just that for generations. Until the late 1960s, however, society was not prepared to heed their plea.

What enabled me to take part in the effort to free our daughters and sons to achieve whatever their talents equipped them to accomplish, with no artificial barriers blocking their way? First, a mother who, by her example, made reading a delight and counseled me constantly to “be independent,” able to fend for myself, whatever fortune might have in store for me.Second, teachers who influenced or encouraged me in my growing-up years. At Cornell University, my professor of European literature, Vladimir Nabokov, changed the way I read and the way I write. Words could paint pictures, I learned from him. Choosing the right word, and the right word order, he illustrated, could make an enormous difference in conveying an image or an idea.

At Columbia Law School, my professor of constitutional law and federal courts, Gerald Gunther, was determined to place me in a federal court clerkship, despite what was then viewed as a grave impediment: On graduation, I was the mother of a 4-year-old child. After heroic efforts, Professor Gunther succeeded in that mission.

Another often-asked question when I speak in public: “Do you have some good advice you might share with us?” Yes, I do. It comes from my savvy mother-in-law, advice she gave me on my wedding day. “In every good marriage,” she counseled, “it helps sometimes to be a little deaf.” I have followed that advice assiduously, and not only at home through 56 years of a marital partnership nonpareil. I have employed it as well in every workplace, including the Supreme Court. When a thoughtless or unkind word is spoken, best tune out. Reacting in anger or annoyance will not advance one’s ability to persuade.

Advice from my father-in-law has also served me well. He gave it during my gap years, 1954 to ‘56, when my husband, Marty, was fulfilling his obligation to the Army as an artillery officer at Fort Sill, Okla. By the end of 1954, my pregnancy was confirmed. We looked forward to becoming three in July 1955, but I worried about starting law school the next year with an infant to care for. Father’s advice: “Ruth, if you don’t want to start law school, you have a good reason to resist the undertaking. No one will think the less of you if you make that choice. But if you really want to study law, you will stop worrying and find a way to manage child and school.” And so Marty and I did, by engaging a nanny on school days from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Work-life balance was a term not yet coined in the years my children were young; it is aptly descriptive of the time distribution I experienced. My success in law school, I have no doubt, was in large measure because of baby Jane. I attended classes and studied diligently until 4 in the afternoon; the next hours were Jane’s time, spent at the park, playing silly games or singing funny songs, reading picture books and A. A. Milne poems, and bathing and feeding her. After Jane’s bedtime, I returned to the law books with renewed will. Each part of my life provided respite from the other and gave me a sense of proportion that classmates trained only on law studies lacked.

I have had more than a little bit of luck in life, but nothing equals in magnitude my marriage to Martin D. Ginsburg. I do not have words adequate to describe my supersmart, exuberant, ever-loving spouse. Early on in our marriage, it became clear to him that cooking was not my strong suit. To the eternal appreciation of our food-loving children (we became four in 1965, when our son, James, was born), Marty made the kitchen his domain and became chef supreme in our home.

Marty coached me through the birth of our son, he was the first reader and critic of articles, speeches and briefs I drafted, and he was at my side constantly, in and out of the hospital, during two long bouts with cancer. And I betray no secret in reporting that, without him, I would not have gained a seat on the Supreme Court.

Ron Klain, then associate White House counsel, said of my 1993 nomination: “I would say definitely and for the record, though Ruth Bader Ginsburg should have been picked for the Supreme Court anyway, she would not have been picked for the Supreme Court if her husband had not done everything he did to make it happen.”

That “everything” included gaining the unqualified support of my home state senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan and enlisting the aid of many members of the legal academy and practicing bar familiar with work I had done.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in her chambers on Friday, August 23, 2013.Credit...Todd Heisler/The New York Times

I have several times said that the office I hold, now for more than 23 years, is the best and most consuming job a lawyer anywhere could have.

The court’s main trust is to repair fractures in federal law. Because the court grants review dominantly when other jurists have divided on the meaning of a statutory or constitutional prescription, the questions we take up are rarely easy; they seldom have indubitably right answers. Yet by reasoning together at our conferences and, with more depth and precision, through circulation of, and responses to, draft opinions, we ultimately agree far more often than we divide sharply.

When a justice is of the firm view that the majority got it wrong, she is free to say so in dissent. I take advantage of that prerogative, when I think it important, as do my colleagues.

Despite our strong disagreements on cardinal issues — think, for example, of controls on political campaign spending, affirmative action, access to abortion — we genuinely respect one another, even enjoy one another’s company.

Collegiality is crucial to the success of our mission. We could not do the job the Constitution assigns to us if we didn’t — to use one of Justice Antonin Scalia’s favorite expressions — “get over it!”

Earlier, I spoke of great changes I have seen in women’s occupations. Yet one must acknowledge the still bleak part of the picture. Most people in poverty in the United States and the world over are women and children, women’s earnings here and abroad trail the earnings of men with comparable education and experience, our workplaces do not adequately accommodate the demands of childbearing and child rearing, and we have yet to devise effective ways to ward off sexual harassment at work and domestic violence in our homes. I am optimistic, however, that movement toward enlistment of the talent of all who compose “We, the people,” will continue.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who has served as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States since 1993, is the author, with Mary Hartnett and Wendy W. Williams, of the forthcoming book “My Own Words,” from which this essay is adapted.

We need more women in the C-suite. It won't happen on its own.

Jane Fraser addresses Brazil-US Business Council forum in Washington, DC in March 2019.  Erin Scott/Reuters

Fraser will be the first woman to lead a major US bank.

Her promotion is a symbolic step up for women across industries, and not only in finance. Just 6% of CEOs at S&P 500 companies are women, according to the research and strategy development nonprofit Catalyst.

There's no single, direct path to shattering the proverbial glass ceiling. But one thing's for sure: Women won't wind up in the C-suite by chance. Organizations need to be deliberate about addressing the systemic gender biases that preclude women from advancing in their careers.

Welcome to Gender at Work.

This is a twice-monthly newsletter that takes an expansive look at how your gender identity informs your career. Last week we explored the unique challenges that BIPOC women have faced during the pandemic. This week we're talking about ways to cultivate gender diversity in leadership roles.

We won't promise to cover every single strategy. But we've outlined some of the most pressing below.

Direct women to jobs where they manage profit-and-loss

Among Fraser's previous roles at Citigroup: running the bank's strategy division during the financial crisis and steering the bank's Latin America division through several crises.

It's crucial for women leaders to gain experience that involves managing a business' profit-and-loss. Earlier this year, The Wall Street Journal published an analysis of executives at the biggest public companies and found that men were more likely than women to get these jobs, which directly affect the bottom line. The people who hold these positions are better positioned to eventually be CEO.

The Journal analysis found that women often get funneled into different tracks, like human resources and legal. These functions are important to a business' performance, but typically don't lead to the CEO job.

Be aware of implicit biases

Implicit biases are the unconscious stereotypes or assumptions that people can hold about others. For example, "an effective senior banker is (wrongly) imagined to be aggressive, dominating, transactional," Astrid Jaekel and Elizabeth St-Onge, partners at management consulting firm Oliver Wyman, wrote in The Harvard Business Review in 2016. These characteristics "are stereotypically masculine," they add.

People who hold these assumptions might feel that a woman isn't "management material," simply because they feel more comfortable with the image of a man in charge.

"Firms are more willing to take risks on men. With a woman, she has to prove it first," one senior woman in finance told The Harvard Business Review.

Our colleague Marguerite Ward reported that women and BIPOC often feel the need to change the way they look, act, and speak in order to fit in with the existing workplace culture.

So it's critical for managers to be aware of how those biases can show up. Leadership might provide training sessions on what to look out for and how to establish inclusive hiring and promotion practices. Professional-services firm PwC, for example, is using virtual reality to simulate office scenarios in which employees have to decide who to hire and promote, Business Insider previously reported.

Any company that offers unconscious bias training should hold managers accountable for meeting certain DEI standards, Dr. Janice Gassam Asare wrote for Business Insider.

Hold organizations accountable

Ideally, companies would be intrinsically motivated to develop inclusive hiring and promotion practices. But they aren't always. So it helps to have a little external pressure.

Fraser's promotion to her current role — president of Citigroup and CEO of Global Consumer Banking — happened shortly after the head honchos on Wall Street were called out for their (white) boys' club culture.

At a congressional hearing in April 2019, Democratic Rep. Al Green asked the CEOs of some of the largest banks, including Citigroup, whether they believed that their likely successor would be a woman or a person of color. No one raised their hand.

JPMorgan also took action, promoting a record number of women to managing director in April 2019 (26% of the group, or 30 executives, were women).

Focus on the first promotion gap

According to a 2018 McKinsey study, 8% of women in early-tenure jobs are promoted, while 10% of men are.

But that first promotion gap leads to a smaller talent pool of candidates for executive leadership later on. Researchers refer to the lack of promotion opportunities for women, and especially BIPOC women, as the "broken rung."

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said that diversity and inclusion efforts can't be effective if promotion efforts are concentrated at the top.

"A lot of companies' programs and a lot of diversity efforts are focused at the top — how do we develop senior leaders? And that's super-important. But what we also have to focus on is what we call 'the broken rung,' that first broken rung from employee to manager," Sandberg previously told Ward.

Bridging the gender gap that first promotion is a key way to help women reach the C-suite. 

Change needs to happen at home, too

We should note: These are all structural changes organizations can make in order to promote gender diversity in leadership. But women need support networks at home, too, in order to advance professionally.

Axios' Felix Salmon and Erica Pandey reported that Fraser's husband left his job as head of global banking at European bank Dresdner Kleinwort in order to help Fraser advance in her career.

Still, managing work and family was hardly a breeze. Axios reported that Fraser worked part-time at McKinsey while her two kids were young. She'd often do her work in the kitchen at 3 a.m.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Getting the Job Done: How Immigrants Expand the U.S. Economy

Listen the podcast here: https://tinyurl.com/y675qf85

In the United States, the economic impact of immigration is a lightning-rod topic that sparks strong feelings on both sides. Opponents have long held that immigrants take away jobs from American citizens and lower wage standards. Proponents dismiss that idea, saying immigrants expand the economy through their hard work and determination. The truth is somewhere in the middle, according to new research from Wharton’s J. Daniel Kim.

To be sure, immigrant workers ramp up competition for jobs, creating a surplus in labor supply for some sectors. But immigrant entrepreneurs have a more profound impact on overall labor demand by starting companies that hire new workers, creating a positive ripple-effect on the economy.

“The problem with the ongoing discussion is that it’s largely one-sided,” Kim said in a recent interview with the Wharton Business Daily radio show on SiriusXM. (Listen to the podcast at the top of this page.) “To be fair, both forces here simultaneously exist. In order for us to have a systematic understanding of the role of immigration on job creation, you need to take both accounts together. And this is what we do in the study.”

Kim is co-author of “Immigration and Entrepreneurship in the United States,” along with Pierre Azoulay, professor at MIT’s Sloan School of Management and associate with National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Benjamin F. Jones, professor at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and an associate with NBER; and Javier Miranda, economist with the U.S. Census Bureau. In their research, the scholars use comprehensive administrative data from 2005 to 2010 on all new firms in the U.S., the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2012 Survey of Business Owners, and data on firms listed in the 2017 edition of the Fortune 500 ranking to paint a more accurate picture of the economic impact of immigrants in America.

“The problem with the ongoing discussion is that it’s largely one-sided.”

“This paper works to fill in the picture through the lens of entrepreneurship,” the authors wrote. “By looking in a more comprehensive manner at the U.S. economy, the analysis helps balance the ledger in assessing immigrants’ economic roles.”

Dispelling Myths

Immigrants make up roughly 15% of workers in the U.S., yet they are 80% more likely than native workers to become entrepreneurs, according to the study. By those numbers, the assumption that immigrants leach jobs away from Americans isn’t incorrect, but it is incomplete. First- and second-generation immigrants are launching businesses across the spectrum, from small sandwich shops with one or two employees to major tech firms with thousands of workers. For example, when South Africa native Elon Musk built his Telsa plant in California, he spawned more than 50,000 jobs and injected $4.1 billion into that state’s economy in 2017.

“What we find, with overwhelming evidence, is that immigrants act more as job creators than they act as job takers in the United States,” Kim said during his interview with Wharton Business Daily.

“Immigrants in the U.S. create a lot more jobs than they take, primarily because many are prone to starting businesses that go on to create a lot of jobs.”

The study builds on previous research that dispels myths about immigrant workers and quantifies the facts, including that immigrant entrepreneurs account for close to 25% of patents and are more likely to hold STEM degrees. Using tax records, the researchers debunked another popular theory that immigration suppresses wages. They found wages were the same or slightly higher for immigrant-founded firms versus firms with native founders.

The authors encourage more research along the same dimensions, saying more information can help shape economic policy around immigration and help remove politics from a debate that’s often short on truths.

“That’s the main takeaway here, that immigrants in the U.S. create a lot more jobs than they take, primarily because many are prone to starting businesses that go on to create a lot of jobs,” Kim said. “While I will not comment on the policy implications of these results, I believe that the broader discussion on the role of entrepreneurship and immigration on economic growth needs to account for both sides – because leaning on one would provide an incomplete picture.”

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

How to grow your business in Houston

State of latino entrepreneurship (2019 research report)

Latino owned business

The total number of businesses grew by 34% between June 2009 and June 2019 (10 years) compared to 1% for all business owners in the USA
Employs more than 3 million people
Contributes nearly $500 billion in annual sales to the U.S. economy.
Average annual growth rate in revenue of 14% (outpacing the growth of the U.S. economy)
5-year compound annual growth rate in revenue of 9%.
54% of Latino-owned businesses had positive annual revenue growth and
63% had positive compound annual revenue growth over the past five years

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Small Business Trends: 2020

Source: https://tinyurl.com/yxnystym

To learn about small business trends and life as a small business owner, Guidant Financial became a founding member of the Small Business Trends Alliance (SBTA), a group of companies dedicated to supporting small businesses with data trends and insights. The SBTA reports on data to help small business owners grow their businesses as well as bring transparency to small business ownership by giving prospective business owners the information they need to be successful.

To achieve this goal, Guidant Financial and SBTA companies surveyed over 3,100 current and aspiring small business owners nationwide with our annual Small Business Trends survey. We asked small business owners questions ranging from their confidence in business in the current political landscape to their biggest obstacles as business owners. Here’s a look at current small business trends and what to expect in the coming year.

(more info on link)


More usefull statistics links:

Learning Center: Infographics 2019-2020

Women in Business – 2020 Trends

10 Small Business Statistics Every Future Entrepreneur Should Know in 2020

Monday, September 7, 2020

Who is the Entrepreneur? Race and Ethnicity, Age, and Immigration Trends Among New Entrepreneurs in the United States, 1996-2019

Learn more about the trends in race and ethnicity, age, and immigration among new entrepreneurs in the United States between 1996 and 2019.

Featured highlights:
  • The share of all new entrepreneurs who are Latino more than doubled between 1996 and 2019 while the share who are White decreased over the same period.
  • New entrepreneurs were largely young in 1996, and were more likely to represent all ages by 2019.
  • In 2019, about 1 in 4 new entrepreneurs was an immigrant. This is close to twice the share of entrepreneurs that were immigrants in 1996.

Monday, August 10, 2020

Female financial literacy, participation needed in crisis

Source: https://tinyurl.com/y4g483nm

Written by: Cherelle Murphy

Senior Economist, ANZ

As I scroll through my personal emails, I am tantalised by “bargains”. As a 40-something woman, I am almost ashamed to say I have curated an inbox of homeware, shoe and sporting good offers.

But there was not one email inviting me to build on my investments. And I’m an economist: surely I should l have done better!?

"The ugly COVID-19 recession has particularly hurt female-dominated industries such as retail trade and accommodation.”

The one bright spot was a book distributer’s email featuring “The Joy of Money”, a guide to financial independence for Australian Women by Kate McCallum and Julia Newbould. Beyond its sunglass-clad cover girl, the authors did advise money is about security and choice. Better, I thought.

I have noticed more media about women’s financial literacy in recent times. In fact, the words “women” and “financial literacy” appeared more than double the number of times in the February to April period in 2018 and 2019 than in any year previously. 2020 was an exception - but we all know why.

What concerns me is women trail men in financial literacy, yet more are financially independent of men. There have never been more women choosing not to marry, leaving relationships or partnering in same sex relationships.

The 2016 Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey showed one in two adult women struggled with basic financial literacy concepts such as inflation, compound interest and risk diversification. This compares with one in three adult men.

The University of Melbourne’s Roger Wilkins said the HILDA report shows low financial literacy is associated with poor financial wellbeing. Wilkins added women are over-represented in poverty statistics and other measures of socio-economic disadvantage and “low financial literacy cannot be ruled out as a factor in these outcomes”.

ANZ’s 2015 Survey of Adult Financial Literacy in Australia found women aged 28 to 59 years had lower scores on average than men on financial aspiration. The consequences were fewer assets, lower participation in paid work and lower levels of post-secondary education.

Women also said they found dealing with money more stressful and overwhelming than men did, according to The Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s (ASIC) 2017 Australian Financial Attitudes and Behaviour Tracker.

Out of balance

Even young female economics students appear to show less interest in money than their male counterparts.

A 2020 RBA report of high school economics students asked which economic topics they were most interested in. Girls were more likely to cite ‘identifying problems’, boys were more likely to cite the ‘share market’. Women, generally, are much less likely than men to invest, with women making up only 18 per cent of 750,000 active online investors according to investment trends research from Firstlinks.

To top it off, the ugly COVID-19 recession has particularly hurt female-dominated industries such as retail trade and accommodation. Over April and May, 446,000 women lost their jobs compared with 389,000 men. The workforce participation rate fell 3.4 percentage points for women and 2.7 percentage points for men.

Women are the majority of carers of children and sick or elderly relatives and their unpaid workload has lifted. Many have had to pull out of, or back away from, the workforce resulting in under-employment or lower wages.

More women than men also work casually and therefore missed out on the initial $A1,500 fortnightly JobKeeper payment, relying instead on the lower Job Seeker payment. ANZ’s 2015 survey showed casual workers were already behind, being less financially literate than their permanent counterparts.

Changed policy has allowed those impacted by COVID-19 to defer mortgage repayments or access their superannuation, which has long-term financial implications. Superannuation balances were already inadequate for many women going into the current crisis and women are more dependent on the pension than men. This reflects persistent gender pay gaps, higher prevalence of part-time work by women, workforce breaks for caring responsibilities and longer-life spans.

Motivated by money

So here we are: in an environment where women are more financially vulnerable than men - and paying less attention to their own finances. It’s a bad combination.

The good news is the women who do invest are good at it: their behaviour is more likely to result in higher portfolio returns than men’s. Many authors on the topic suggest women’s risk aversion may also make them less prone to bad investment decisions. They are more likely to spend time researching and matching their investments to life goals. And they remain calmer than men through wild market movements.

I personally plea to women to think about their own finances. Be wary of marketing constantly aimed at getting you to depart with your cash. Think about how your good judgement and careful approach is a valuable attribute in investing.

It shouldn’t be cringe worthy for a woman to be motivated by money. Why is it crass for a woman to want to be able to look after herself, no help required? We all have the right to desire a healthy stockmarket portfolio, a wholly-owned home or an early retirement.

Carrie Bradshaw said "every once in a while, a girl has to indulge herself". My inbox reminds me of that every day. But a girl also needs to know when to tuck away a tenner and invest it for rainy day.

Cherelle Murphy is a Sennior Economist at ANZ

More women at the top means more profits for businesses — and a stronger economy for everyone

UK shareholders and the economy as a whole are missing out on an additional £47bn in pre-tax profit thanks to lack of gender diversity in the boardroom 

Source: https://tinyurl.com/yyws7t78

Written by: Margaret McDonagh

A warm-up act will normally dismiss the first polite round of applause from an audience and insist they can demonstrate more enthusiasm than that.

Many a time I’m the warm-up act on the boardroom stage. I may never manage to work the crowd into a frenzy, but at the very least I wake them from their slumber.

We did the research — in total, UK shareholders and the economy as a whole are missing out on an additional £47bn in pre-tax profit thanks to lack of gender diversity in the boardroom.

Read more: Lack of UK female bosses leads to £47bn profit gap

The evidence is clear: companies with more than 33 per cent female executives have a net profit margin more than 10 times greater than those companies with no women at this level. Isn’t that worth a cheer?

More women at the top means more profits. Sceptics suggest that this has nothing to do with women, but simply the fact that more profitable sectors tend to promote more women. But this pattern can be seen across all sectors and industries, irrespective of their profit margins.

Companies which succeed understand customer needs and have better risk management and higher collective intelligence. Research teams from Harvard, MIT, McKinsey and countless others studied these capabilities and characteristics and, in every instance, found higher scorings where women were involved in teams than when men worked alone.

It is a myth that women simply help other women. What is true is that, in the real world, women bosses get it. Female chief executives on average have ratios of 1:3 women on their executive committees, compared to male chief executives who have 1:5.

Gender is not the only metric of diversity, but it is a crucial one. And don’t forget that women make up 51 per cent of the population — so if companies want to improve diversity in other areas as well, from race to disability, increasing female representation can be part of that solution too.

You shouldn’t be surprised at this research. At the Pipeline we’ve been measuring diversity for five years now, and the results are always the same. We’ve worked with more than a thousand senior female executives and over a hundred organisations, and will continue to play our part transforming leadership in business — because without women at the top, a company is underperforming.

So the message for all business is: the evidence is there. You have a template to change for the better. Use your enthusiasm to draw on the talents of women, and you’ll be applauding yourself when your profits escalate and you have a more inclusive workplace drawing on the talents of all.

Nobody is asking companies to jump out of their seats, but female executives everywhere will happily take a sit-down ovation.

Friday, August 7, 2020

Cash is King – Practical tips to Improve Cash Flow

Cash Flow Management is a critical strategy for small business’ growth and survival. In these uncertain times, it is even more important. 

Join us with Soledad Tanner of STC Financial & Business Consulting as we identify proven tactics to help your business achieve goals in a controlled and managed plan
. • Manage Accounts Receivable, Predicting Accounts Payable and Inventory
 • Learn Concrete examples to improve your Cash Flow – 
• Strengthen your leverage with banks and suppliers 

Please references this webinar for a free 15-minute consultation! Schedule your free session! Contact soledad@soledadtanner.com or call 346-227-2895.

HOUSTON USHCC / Chambers in Houston and Georgia

Soledad Tanner, Founder & CEO- STC Consulting, representing Frances Castaneda Dyess - President of @houstoneastendchamber shares valuable insights to help small businesses through the challenges caused by COVID-19.

 What are the challenges and needs of entrepreneurs and what tools and resources are available at the Chamber? #supportlatinobiz, #smallbizBigStory, United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC), Houston East End Chamber of Commerce and Latin American Chamber of Commerce of Georgia. 

STC Consulting a Business & Financial Management Consulting firm that helps improve the profit & productivity of businesses. Solutions are CFO on demand, Financial speaking & workshops for Corporations, Financial Management, Business Consulting, Financial Modeling, Financial Training, and Bookkeeping Services for Business Owners and Startups.

Watching the money: Tips to thrive – Covid19 edition

Join Soledad Tanner, Founder & CEO of STC Consulting, a Business & Financial Management Consulting firm navigate the choppy financial waters of COVID19.

The webinar is targeted to small businesses and professionals interested in maximizing their PROFIT & PRODUCTIVITY. You will learn how to manage your cashflow, organize your business to be more efficient, and leverage your revenue to grow within the COVID-19 environment. 

Please references this webinar for a free 15-minute consultation! Schedule your free session! Contact soledad@soledadtanner.com or call 346-227-2895.

Food Industry Recovery Program - Baker Ripley & Hope Clinic/STC Consulting

Soledad Tanner – Founder & CEO - STC Consulting will be a financial expert guest speaker at Baker Ripley and HOPE Clinic – Food industry recovery program for small business owners. This is an online series mixed with one-on-one coaching and presented in Spanish. This program is aimed at owners or partners of small businesses related to the food industry. 

The objective of the "Food Industry Recovery Program" is to rebuild businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19. They will learn about sustainable financial business models in the food industry, the importance of building out a strategic plan for recovery, and improve focus and business mindset in order to pivot their business. 

STC Consulting is a Business & Financial Management Consulting firm that helps improve the profit & productivity of businesses. Services are CFO on demand for Corporations, Financial Management, Business Consulting and Financial Training for Business Owners and Startup Boost for Startups

Friday, July 31, 2020

CFOs: FP&A and accounting must speak the same language

Photo by CoWomen on Unsplash

Author:  Robert Freedman@RobertFreedman

Source: https://tinyurl.com/yxp5q2mx

Poor coordination between backward-looking and forward-looking finance functions eats up time and resources better spent elsewhere.
If accounting and FP&A teams don't work in concert, they will waste valuable time each month trying to reconcile numbers, finance leaders said in a CFO Live virtual conference this week.

Inconsistencies between the two teams typically start with where they focus their attention, said Nayab Siddiqi, CFO and head of strategy at travel technology company REZY360.

Accounting teams, which are responsible for controls, compliance and reporting — traditionally backwards-looking functions — tend to focus on the balance sheet, while financial planning and analysis (FP&A) teams, which are responsible for forward-looking budgeting and forecasts, tend to focus on the P&L. FP&A teams typically account for a transaction one way — as an investment, for example — while the accounting team accounts for it as an expense.

"Once FP&A classifies something in their forecast in a certain way, and the accounting team doesn't know the nature of that transaction, they might classify that [as something different on] the balance sheet," Siddiqi said. "So, when they're comparing these, they won't find those numbers on the P&L, even though the transaction has already happened. Now, it takes a lot of time to find out where the transaction has been reported."

Process organization is the key to team communication, but, ultimately, coordination falls to the CFO, said Mirek Purpura, head of finance for Central Europe and Israel at Baxter International.

Purpura resolved a coordination problem by having the FP&A team look at the books while the accounting team was still in the process of closing them, rather than waiting until they closed.

"If an issue is spotted, it's a two-way street," Purpura said. "They can inform accounting if something happened correctly or not, and accounting can course-correct immediately. It's the role of CFO to enforce that kind of behavior between the two."

Siddiqi created a position between the two teams to ensure FP&A didn't spring any surprises on accounting after the books were closed, and vice versa.

"That person's responsibility is to keep coordination between the two functions by picking up the phone, calling them, and telling them what was going on in each of their functions," he said. "So, when reporting time comes, there are no [unanswered] questions."

Coordination is less of an issue in small organizations, because the two teams typically sit side by side and can stay in constant communication. It's more of an issue in big organizations, particularly ones operating in multiple countries, which might have hundreds of people on each team scattered across the globe, Siddiqi said.

Focus on drivers

Another way to keep teams working together is to train them to look at numbers in terms of business drivers. FP&A specialists tend to be better-equipped to do this, because translating business activity into financial terms is their job. But accounting staff can benefit from it as well.

"If they don't understand the levers moving the business, it can be difficult for them to connect these to financial transactions," Siddiqi said. "If that's not connected, anything they create won't be accurate, or close to accurate."

Purpura uses drivers to help speed his budgeting and forecasting. Previously, his FP&A team used more of a zero-based budgeting process, essentially starting the budget from scratch each cycle, but now, he uses historical numbers from accounting to create a baseline, freeing up FP&A staff to look only at drivers to determine which line items need changing.

"For something like travel and expenses, we automatically set a baseline for the teams going forward," he said. "That way, we're not focusing on the minutiae of details of things that are relatively consistent year-over-year. We've even started looking at baselining sales projections, based on historical information, especially in countries where they’re historically consistent, or based on leading indicator KPIs we can rely on. So FP&A can focus on the one-offs."

Siddiqi's FP&A team also uses drivers in their budgeting and forecasting. "Previously, we did roll-forward forecasting but now ... we look at different drivers, how they operate, and look at the different levers. How do they impact our numbers on the revenue or the cost side? And we translate them into their impact on our numbers."

For both teams, by improving coordination and collaboration on drivers, staff can focus more on higher value analytical work, and devote less time to reconciling differences in approach.

Friday, July 17, 2020

Financial Documents: What To Save And What You Can Throw Away

Written by: Kevin Payne Contributor

If you’re like many of us, the amount of paper that enters your home is hard to handle at times. From mail to receipts to documents, it’s a challenge to keep it all organized. While many businesses are moving toward paperless systems, it doesn’t feel that way when you look at the piles of financial papers in your home.

As you make life and financial decisions, there’s usually a paper trail. The same is true when you buy, sell or insure something. And after tax time every year, there’s another stack of documents to add to your files. What should you save, and what’s okay to toss in this week’s trash collection—by which we mean, what needs to be shredded and disposed of properly?

The main reason for filing away financial documents is to be able to defend your annual tax returns if needed, but there are other reasons to save certain types of paperwork. Here’s a quick guide to what to do with your financial documents: how long you need to save the important ones, how to store the documents you do retain and how to safely dispose of the rest.

How Long Should You Keep Financial Documents?

Some financial documents should be kept for the long term. Here’s a breakdown of documents to save, based on the time they should be kept.

Seven Years or Longer

When it comes to taxes, it’s best to keep any tax records for at least seven years. The IRS statute of limitations for auditing is three years. However, there are circumstances where they can go back as far as six or seven years, for example, if you underreported income by 25% or more. State statutes of limitations can vary, so check with a tax professional on the limitations in your state.

Your best bet is to hang on to your tax returns as long as possible. If you ever face a tax audit, then you’ll have all the information you need. You also should consider saving documents that verify the information on your returns for at least seven years, like W-2 and 1099 forms, receipts and payments. If you have receipts related to assets, like receipts for home remodeling projects, keep these for as long as you are the owner.
One Year

Documents that fall into this category include non-tax-related bank and credit card statements, investment statements, pay stubs and receipts for large purchases. Keep these records on hand for a year if you need them to support your current-year tax preparation or as proof of income when making a large purchase.

The Federal Trade Commission suggests holding on to your paid medical bills for a year before tossing them—unless you have an unresolved insurance dispute, in which case you would retain the medical bills until the dispute is resolved. Medical bills are confusing, and having records on hand to dispute payments or errors is wise.

Many banks and credit card issuers offer electronic statements now, so you may not need to keep paper copies on hand, which will cut down on excess clutter. If keeping other documents around longer term makes you anxious, you can opt to scan them to create electronic copies and then dispose of the original paper documents.
Less Than a Year

Some documents don’t need to take up valuable space in your home for very long. For example, don’t worry about keeping receipts unless they pertain to:

  • Products under warranty
  • Your tax returns
  • Insurance claims

You can toss most monthly bills after you pay them, or after the payments have credited to your bank statement. If you end up needing to go back to verify anything, see if you can access past bills through online account access. Many companies keep past bills and invoices available online for the past few months or longer.

Banks typically don’t mail canceled checks back to you anymore, but if yours does, most canceled checks are okay to shred once you’ve verified your bank statement is correct. Some canceled checks should be saved, though, if they are related to tax returns, like any charitable giving.

What Financial Documents Should You Keep Forever?

We’ve looked at documents that are okay to throw away after a specific time, but there are plenty of documents you should hold on to indefinitely. Important papers to save forever include:
  • Birth certificates
  • Social Security cards
  • Marriage certificates
  • Adoption papers
  • Death certificates
  • Passports
  • Wills and living wills
  • Powers of attorney
  • Legal filings
  • Military records
  • Retirement and pension plans
  • Inheritance documents
  • Beneficiary forms

For anything you’ve bought or insured, you should save the related documents for at least as long as you own them or until the warranty ends. It won’t hurt to keep them around longer, though, just to be safe. This includes titles, deeds, insurance policies, warranty documentation and more.

Health insurance policies and related documents are important to keep long term, too. So long as your health insurance is active, you should keep these records. If your coverage ended or you’ve moved to another insurance company, go ahead and toss paperwork once you’re sure you won’t need it. The same is true if you receive disability or unemployment benefits. Keep the documentation until you know you no longer need it.

If you have financial records or documents you aren’t sure you’ll need, err on the side of caution. Keep any documents until you are positive you don’t need them.

How to Store Financial Documents

You can cut down on clutter by creating a reliable system for storing your financial documents. Keeping your documents safe is equally important. When storing your documents, you’ll want a storage solution that is:
  • Easily accessible
  • Protected from theft
  • Protected from the environment/weather/damage
  • Well organized

Whether you have paper documents or electronic versions, here are options for storing your financial documents safely long term.
Paper Storage

Many people choose to keep documents stored in a filing cabinet. Use file folders to organize paperwork by subject, year or another method of your choice. Bankers boxes are another storage option, but these are more susceptible to water damage.

For your most important documents, a standard filing cabinet might not be enough. The use of a home safe may be a better option. Look for a safe that is fireproof and waterproof for maximum protection. A home safe doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive, like something you’ve probably seen in the movies (no need for hidden wall safes behind artwork). A simple lockbox you can grab and go is perfect for storing documents in the event of a home fire or flood.

Safe deposit boxes used to be a popular method for storing valuables, including essential documents. Not all bank branches offer safe deposit boxes today, but it can be an option if you prefer keeping these documents offsite. Keep in mind that you are at the mercy of the financial institution as to when you can access your safe deposit box.
Electronic Storage

If you’d like to move toward less paper, there are plenty of digital storage options.

Many financial institutions and businesses now let you opt for electronic billing and statements, either through email or online account access. Some banks charge a fee for paper statements now, as electronic paperwork becomes more readily available.

For other documents, you can use a scanner to scan them into your computer, or you can take photos using your cell phone.

Keeping all of your documents on your computer isn’t very efficient and can bog down your system. Other digital storage options include external hard drives, like HDDs and SDDs, which are compact solutions for storing massive amounts of electronic data. An even more compact solution is storing electronic paperwork on a flash drive, although flash drives also are easier to misplace or damage.

If you go the digital route, it may be a good idea to create multiple backup copies in case one of them is damaged or fails. Digital backups take up much less space than having multiple paper copies of your important documents.

Another option is to go with cloud-based storage for essential paperwork. The past several years have seen an explosion of cloud-based solutions, including:
  • Dropbox
  • Google Drive
  • Microsoft OneDrive
  • iCloud
  • Amazon Cloud Drive
  • Box
  • NextCloud
  • iDrive
  • Carbonite

Using cloud-based storage not only saves on space, but also can be great for organizing and keeping your documents secure, since most services guarantee protection through encrypted networks. Many cloud-based solutions allow access through mobile devices, making your documents accessible almost anywhere in the world.

If you do end up choosing a digital storage solution, make sure you don’t need a physical copy or original document in the future. The last thing you want to do is shred something to save space, only to need it five years later.

How to Dispose of Old Financial Documents

Clearing your home of piles of old, useless paperwork is a wonderful feeling, but don’t scrap it with your weekly garbage collection. Most of these documents contain personal information you don’t want to have exposed.

According to a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) report, over 3.2 million consumer reports were filed with the Consumer Sentinel Network in 2019, and 20% of them involved identity theft. Throwing away documents with your trash exposes your information to anyone willing to do a little dirty work to steal your identity. You might not realize how much information is present on your old bills, statements, voided and canceled checks and other financial documents.

Here’s what could be present on the documents you want to throw away:
  • Full names
  • Physical addresses
  • Phone numbers
  • Account numbers
  • Routing numbers
  • Driver’s license numbers
  • Policy numbers
  • Usernames
  • Passwords
  • Membership information
  • Medical records
  • Signatures

Your best option is to shred any documents that contain sensitive information before tossing them. Either invest in a shredder for your home or utilize a professional shredding service. You will likely pay a fee for this service, but it’s a small price to keep your personal information safe.

Here are some retail stores that offer shredding services:
  • Office Depot
  • Office Max
  • Staples
  • The UPS Store
  • FedEx Office Print & Ship Centers

Many cities also hold free paper shredding days for residents. Check your city’s website for information regarding events like this.

A financial life necessarily involves a significant amount of documentation—from monthly bank statements to insurance documents to the various materials required to file your taxes. By learning what needs to stay and what’s free to go, you can minimize the amount of materials you accumulate over time.

Friday, July 10, 2020

University of St. Thomas “Faith and Entrepreneurship” STC Consulting

The University of St. Thomas Alumni Relations, & the McNair Institute for Entrepreneurism and Free Enterprise invited me to be a guest speaker at the “Seekers & Sages” Speaker series: “Faith and Entrepreneurship”

Is faith an indispensable tool for entrepreneurship? The Entrepreneurship journey requires faith and conviction that things will work out. Some of the common questions are:

1. Do I have the faith to start and grow my business?
2. Can I do it even though I have never done it in the past?
3. Should I do it even though I might not have all the answers in front of me?

You need strength that comes from your conviction that if you do to help the community, abundance will find you. You can help the community grow, be confident, be powerful, be faithful and you will achieve financial success. 3 key points:

1. Mission & purpose: You are an instrument of service. You were given the skills and the talent to help the community and to solve a problem.
2. The power of miracles: In the face of the impossible, unexpected things happen. You need to do the work.
3. Integrity: Work smart, be grateful, and never (NEVER) give up: Things will work out. Have the confidence to pursue your dreams. Did I mention NEVER give up?

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

7 Resources for 1099 Contractors During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Source: https://tinyurl.com/y87efb45
Written by: Matthew D'Angelo, Contributor

These resources, from SBA loans to industry-specific grants, are available to freelancers, self-employed workers or independent contractors who are struggling financially.

From expanded unemployment benefits to industry-specific relief funds, there are options available for 1099 workers looking for financial relief during the COVID-19 pandemic. — Getty Images/hobo_018

COVID-19 is having an impact on all areas of the economy. From large businesses to smaller restaurants, everyone is having to adjust to a new normal in business activity. Freelancers and other 1099 contractors are no different. With several foundations, corporate relief funds and other financial programs emerging from a variety of industries, it’s not clear how freelance workers are being supported during this time.

Here is a list of seven resources for freelancers struggling through the COVID-19 pandemic, including a list of industry-specific grants and funds worth applying for as a freelancer, self-employed worker or independent contractor.

Expanded unemployment benefits

Due to COVID-19, independent contractors can qualify for unemployment payments from the government. In the past, this service was not available to freelancers and 1099 contractors. By following the steps specific to your state, you can qualify for relief and potentially a $600 weekly increase during this time. While this may be a long process to apply, it can help greatly once you’re approved. Be sure to stay up to date with your application and have an understanding of how your state’s unemployment relief is changing due to the virus.

The Small Business Administration

The SBA has announced extensive programs to help struggling small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic. While freelancers and other 1099 workers work on a contract basis, if you’ve established a business entity in your name, you may be able to qualify for a loan. In New York City alone, for example, loans with no interest are being offered to all businesses with less than 100 employees. Look into disaster relief loans and other financial assistance available in your state.

SBA debt relief
If you already have a loan through the SBA 7(a), Community Advantage, 504, and microloan programs, you can qualify for payment relief for up to six months. Again, while this isn’t a program specifically designed for freelancers, it can benefit those that have created business entities and are in debt with SBA.

Paycheck Protection Program

While initially only available for small businesses with 500 or more employees, the PPP program is being extended to independent contractors and other self-employed individuals. As of April 10, independent contractors and self-employed individuals can apply for a loan up to $100,000. Your actual loan will likely vary based on your specific situation. You can read more about the program here.

Industry-specific grants and relief funds

Depending on the industry you work within, there may be a grant or relief fund you can apply for. Below is a list of options you want to consider based on your industry. The industries include comedy, writing, contemporary arts and other creative freelance industries.


This is a curation website that gathers different grants and relief opportunities for small businesses and freelancers. GrantSpace is updated as new opportunities emerge. This service does not provide grants and relief funds for businesses, but instead curates them for easy access.


FreshBooks collects resources for small businesses and freelancers alike. It provides a comprehensive list specifically for freelancers that includes things like job opportunities, job board websites and other work options. This can be a good resource for freelance writers who’ve lost contracts due to coronavirus.