Free help for small businesses, advice on loans, landlords and surviving

Posted at 5:05 PM, Jul 15, 2020

Small businesses have another few weeks to apply for low-interest government loans through the Paycheck Protection Program. The deadline has been extended until August 8.

If you are an owner looking to apply, you may need to stay away from traditional banks. Arizonan Cassie Loseke got that advice when she was applying for her business, Controlled Chaos Consulting.

Loseke started her communications and marketing business three years ago when she moved to Arizona. She started 2020 with high hopes that is was going to be a "$100,000 year."

Then COVID-19 hit.

Loseke says she lost big deals with clients who were concerned about their own businesses surviving. "In March, work stopped and everyone panicked," she said.

So Loseke turned to her business mentor, Jay Gladney, for advice about getting a loan. Gladney is a retired Valley business executive, now working with an organization called SCORE. He's been Loseke's advisor since her business opened. SCORE is a Small Business Association partner with about 10,000 current and former business execs who advise small businesses for free. There are more than 600 in the Phoenix area.

"Those of us who've been in the trenches simply understand how to work these processes a little better," Gladney says.

But Gladney says this pandemic changed everything. "Probably about 20-25 percent of smaller businesses will disappear." He says the government's Paycheck Protection Program loans have saved some businesses. But he says the process has been inconsistent. "Your application is denied, but they haven't given specifics or rationale as to why this is so." Gladney says that makes it more difficult for businesses to know what they need to change to reapply.

Loseke wasn't sure her business qualified since she is the only employee. Gladney advised her to apply and he told her what he tells other small businesses, "I would advise them to go away from traditional bankers and look at financial, technical companies like Paypal or Intuit." That's what Loseke did. She applied through Paypal and said she received her money in less than a week. It isn't much, but Loseke says it's enough to keep her going.

Gladney says he's been advising struggling businesses to consider changing their models. That change may mean doing more business online.

He says SCORE can also help small business owners with how to negotiate rents with landlords and how to come out of bankruptcy. To learn more about SCORE, click here.