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ow more than ever, Detroit’s small and medium-sized businesses need our help. Safety concerns, staffing and supply chain shortages, and governmental restrictions resulting from the COVID pandemic have shocked the small business community, forcing many to close and most to lose revenue. Business owners have been forced to pivot to new business models, adopt new health-forward policies and seek alternative funding to stay afloat. To compound the problem, the U.S. Federal Reserve reports that Black-owned businesses have faced disproportionate hardships during the coronavirus pandemic. Black businesses have had less success accessing capital from commercial banks and the government’s Paycheck Protection Program than White business owners. While there is hope on the horizon – the statewide vaccination rate continues to climb allowing some orders to be lifted – many of our small businesses continue to face economic uncertainty. That’s where we come in: The Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC) and Detroit Means Business (DMB) together offer a platform where business owners can navigate a myriad of support resources in one place, including one-on-one guidance. Both organizations are working directly with small business owners to provide individualized assistance based on their specific needs. This includes help navigating City services, connecting owners with financial resources, marketing and legal assistance, access to new contracts, reopening guidelines and training resources. Business owners can call 844-333-8249 weekdays during normal business hours to connect with a real team member who is truly vested in their success. Information about DEGC and DMB, and a list of available resources can also be found online at DetroitMeansBusiness.org and degc.org. DMB and DEGC salute the business owners who, through hard work, creativity and grit, are adapting to their new circumstances. We remain committed to serving the small business community, as are our many partners throughout the city. It will “take a village” to sustain businesses during the COVID economy and beyond, and we urge everyone to support Detroit retailers, restaurants and service providers. Please use your buying dollars to help keep our local merchants open and serving as the heartbeat of our City.

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DISCOVER NEW POSSIBILITIES FOR YOUR BUSINESS. No matter what stage your business is in, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation is here to help you succeed. By connecting you to the resources your business needs, granting access to necessary capital and introducing you to the right partners, the MEDC helps your business reach new potential. Find out how we can help propel your business forward with customized support at michiganbusiness.org/pure-partnership T:10"

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New Entrepreneurs: Best Practices for Launching a New Business

By Megan Kirk

A part of the American Dream is ownership. For many, business ownership is the key to financial freedom, creating a sense of generational wealth for families and making a mark in their community. However, being an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart. While there are official measures when launching a new business, there are also personal steps to consider. This list comprises some business and professional steps in developing a new venture. 1. Be diligent: This will make or break any business. Having a certain level of tenacity and resilience in business is necessary to help navigate the murky waters of corporate America. Diligence will also make those inevitable blows in business more tolerable. Building endurance while in the beginning stages of launching your brand will create a tough skin and teach the ins and outs of the business. 2. Have a business lane: That great business idea that may have been collecting dust in the background is now ready to charge full steam ahead. Guidance and a business plan can go a long way when building a new company. Knowing your target audience, price points and product line will propel businesses forward and equal a recipe for success. In this lane, budding business owners should reach out to professionals for financial assistance in launching their company and ask questions to ensure there is a clear understanding of expectations and realities of the business realm. 3. Hire an accountant: There are a lot of financial rules when building a company and the best way to navigate the tax world is to enlist the help of an accountant. The accountant will ensure the business is taxed appropriately and continues to operate in the black. Accountants will also ensure business accounts are intact and employees are paid on time. An accountant will be able to take on the financial aspect of the business and build comprehensive measures to keep funds in-house. This is just one less responsibility for the business owner allowing more time to pour into the foundation of the company. 4. Create the environment you want to work in: Remember those days of being an employee and all the ideas on how to propel the business forward? Being sure employees have a safe and clean environment where they feel valued and comfortable giving feedback should be a top priority when going into business for oneself. In offering a safe space for employees, entrepreneurs can be sure those who are on the frontlines will be able to provide valuable feedback that will help the business grow. 5. Allow for Growth Opportunities: No one wants to be stuck in a position that is going nowhere. By offering employees the chance to grow and thrive within the small business will also create happier and more loyal employees. Encouraging employees to push for greater heights helps keep talent fresh. Being sure to keep up with employees’ skills set and level of achievement will help small business owners learn to grow their best employees.

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Application Process Now Live for Michigan Small Business Relief Program Funding Michigan’s small businesses impacted by COVID-19 can now apply for grants and loans through the Michigan Small Business Relief Program, according to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). The program will provide up to $20 million in grants and loans to provide economic assistance to Michigan’s small businesses that have been negatively impacted by COVID-19, and in turn help support workers and their families facing economic uncertainty during the outbreak. Information on how to apply, as well as eligibility criteria, is available at www.michiganbusiness.org/covid19.

Key information to know about the application process includes:

“Small businesses across our state are facing unprecedented challenges as we take every step possible to mitigate the spread of coronavirus,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “With this funding, we can provide real assistance to support our businesses, communities, entrepreneurs and workers around the state impacted by the tough, but necessary actions we are taking to mitigate the spread of this virus.”

•All applications or recommendations for Michigan Small Business Relief Program loans will be referred from the partner economic development organizations (EDOs) to the MEDC for evaluation and disbursement.

The grants and loans under the Michigan Small Business Relief Program will support businesses facing drastic reductions in cash flow and the continued support of their workforce and may be used for working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility expenses, or other similar expenses that occur in the ordinary course of business.

•There is one application, regardless of whether a business is applying for a grant or a loan. A business may receive a grant or a loan, but not both. •Businesses that do not receive grants may still be considered for loans. •The grants will be administrated by 15 regional economic development organizations throughout the state, which combined cover all 83 counties in Michigan.

•Businesses should go to https://www.michiganbusiness.org/covid19/ to apply. The Michigan Small Business Relief Program grants, authorized by the Michigan Strategic Fund on March 19, will be administered by 15 local and nonprofit EDOs around Michigan, covering all 83 counties in the state. These EDOs are responsible for reviewing applications of small businesses in their region and entering into agreements with eligible small businesses. Each EDO will establish a review committee that may include representatives

from local workforce agencies, local SBDC representatives, business and nonprofit leaders, among others. It will also include the Chief Business Development Officer and Senior Vice President of Business Development Projects. full list of EDOs administering Michigan Small Business Relief grants and the counties they will serve is below. Local and nonprofit EDOs across Michigan applied for the grant funds and were selected based on capacity to administer the program and ensure coverage to small businesses in all Michigan counties. The $10 million in loans through the Michigan Small Business Relief Program will be referred to the MEDC from the local EDO partners. All loans made through the Michigan Small Business Relief Program will be approved through Michigan Strategic Fund delegated authority. “We know small businesses across the state are struggling right now and we are leveraging every resource available to provide relief in the face of these challenging economic circumstances,” said MEDC CEO Mark A. Burton. “The Michigan Small Business Relief Program will provide immediate assistance to support the health and sustainability of the state’s small businesses, communities and residents.” The MEDC anticipates that at least 1,100 businesses across the state will benefit from this program. May 2021 | Small Business Toolkit | Michigan Chronicle 5

Use These Remote Work Tools to Stay Connected While Working from Home By Sherri Kolade Small business owner, what’s your plan for keeping your team connected for the long haul? Is it getting onboard technologically and upgrading your systems so that you can work remotely better, faster and more efficiently? Or help your team stay even more connected than they currently are? Thanks to a post from digitalnovas. com, you and your business can stay current with remote work tools that will leave your business in even better shape than last year. According to its website, a big problem with working remotely is that some companies, in particular new ones in remote operations, don’t always know the most productive way to collaborate with their employees and clients. Below is a list of remote work tools to assist business owners looking to reach their remote working goals:

Tools for working remotely can be categorized in several brackets including:

editing of documents within the team’s folders.

share files, collaborate with guests and more.

• Team collaboration tools • Presentations and meetings tools • Project management tools • Time management tools • Productivity tools • Cloud storage tools • Content creation and design tools

Timezone.io helps people show up to work regardless of the different time zones they’re in. There are also meeting schedulers, project collaboration opportunities, and more.

Presentations and Meetings Tools

Team collaboration tools Slack is a messaging tool for remote work because the digital entity (similar to Teams) lets team members share, communicate and comment in real-time. There are over 2,300 Slack integrations listed on the App Directory. Microsoft Office Teams can be operated by a single platform where you can download applications like PowerPoint, Word, Excel and Outlook on your mobile devices. The platform can also be used for management, sharing, storage, and

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Together lets organizations better improve their retention rates and employee engagement with internal employee mentoring programs. Hey.Space is a team task manager with a chat optional feature. The application lets teams collaborate remotely and hold “one source of truth for all projects.” In Hey.Space companies can plan tasks,

Zoom has become the trusty pandemic meeting tool that many people have gotten accustomed to last year. Zoom offers video conferencing tools and so much more that is user-friendly and customer customizable. Taskeo is an online business management platform for groups who want to do more with not as many tools. This platform was created as a remote-first team and it allows for collaborations, meetings and clientele-based options for businesses to have as part of their toolkits. Content provided by https://digitalnovas.com/remote-work-tools/.

Make Small Business Succeed in a Growing Hybrid Workforce By Sherri Kolade With Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s recent announcement that 55 percent of Michiganders received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, gears are in motion for the next steps to enable in-person work to resume across all employment sectors on May 24. Michigan, like so many other states, is putting things in order by announcing its return-to-work plans. With companies like Microsoft and Google also following suit, other businesses are putting an abrupt end to remote work smallbiztrends.com reported.

the pandemic, these businesses have the technological tools in place to pivot whichever way they want or need.

reports. Companies are also becoming wary of burnout and overworking, too.

Employees are getting what they want, too, it looks like. Countless statistics and reports show that working from home and/or working hybrid gets a high level of approval by employees who are done with the commutes and love being able to work from their living room, bed or kitchen table.

The hybrid work model mixes the “best of both worlds by giving employees the freedom of flexibility, while also catering to in-person collaboration and teamwork.”

But what makes a hybrid workplace successful? Is it connectivity, technology, communication or something else?

Relocating to an office space in a nearby location where your employees live can boost employee satisfaction with commute ease and more.

Even more so, other companies are looking at the decision to establish or introduce a hybrid work model.

According to smallbiztrends.com, it can be all of the above and then some.

That might be the wave of the future, according to the article, because while it is important to have an “effective workplace model” that capitalizes on both in-person and virtual collaboration, it is also important to look at the needs of employees for their quality of life and seeing viable business growth.

“Global connectivity has been critical in enabling remote and hybrid work and will continue to define the dynamic workplace. Technology has given us the ability to accomplish work efficiently while collaborating effectively, all without being in a traditional work setting. SMB Groups’ findings showed 41 percent of businesses made significant changes to their technology strategy in the wake of COVID-19.”

This past year alone, companies around the world have seen what it means to work remotely, some hybrid, or in-person full-time out of necessity. Now over a year into

Many also know that increased productivity has been an additional benefits companies have seen through their

For smaller businesses, one of the top benefits of the hybrid model is cost savings. Removing a large corporate office cuts down on cost.

Use your business for social and environmental benefits. That might look like developing an office out of sustainable materials, making time for your team to connect with nature or assisting local communities. Employees are no longer tied to their job based on location -- same with employers, too. They can pick their talent from wherever if they are going for the more remote approach. If the pandemic exposed anything, it is that technology can do our bidding to benefit those who we rely on most. Content provided by https://smallbiztrends.com/. May 2021 | Small Business Toolkit | Michigan Chronicle 7

10 Suggestions to Boost Employee Morale Post-Pandemic By Megan Kirk Life before the pandemic seems both a distant memory and dream. Before the onset of the coronavirus, jobs were filled with employees. Now, employers are hoping more Detroiters will re-enter the workforce as restrictions begin to slowly lift and a new normal is established. Once employees begin to file back into the office, employers may face an adjustment period as workers have spent the past year operating from the comfort and safety of their home, or unemployed. Companies can help boost employee morale and help make the transition from home to office smoother. 1. Consider the Mental Health of Employees: Mental health has increasingly become an important topic for many companies, large and small. One step companies can make in boosting morale and the overall happiness of their employees is to take mental health concerns seriously. This year has been stressful and employers are encouraged to support their team in activities that will help to reconnect and enjoy a relaxing activity during their work day. 2. Can the traditional 9-5 schedule: While some companies have particular hours of operation, employers can consider implementing flex schedules where possible. Hybrid work schedules, allowing employees to work both from home and in office, may be a continuation of a pandemic work schedule, but it will allow time to accommodate personal life changes such as school schedules for their children, care of a loved one or simply time to unwind.

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3. A Welcome Back Gift: Who doesn’t like a small token of appreciation? After some being out of the office for more than a year, companies who offer a warm welcome gift may score some cool points among employees and thus help them to feel appreciated. 4. Team Building Activities: Companies should take this time to re-introduce the brand, its leaders and the team. Keeping it light, companies can introduce team building activities or outings to help blend the team and reacquaint employees with each other. Engaging in games and friendly contests, employers can find unique ways to reward winners and find out more about their team. 5. Bring it Full Circle: Companies of all sizes can help boost employee morale by calming fears of job displacement. Unpredictability caused by the pandemic has exhausted savings funds and pushed families to their financial limits. While nothing is guaranteed, employers can bring employees current on its developments since the pandemic and allow workers to ask questions about the state of the company and job safety post-pandemic. 6. Offer Health Insurance Options: For small businesses, providing healthcare for its employees can be costly. However, the pandemic has given businesses a lesson in the importance of healthcare. Exploring mental health services, telehealth options and other virtual or in-person services can help relieve employees of the fear of becoming gravely ill or infecting someone in their home. 7. Reward Hard Work: A study released by Glass-

door shows 81 percent of employees say they are more motivated to work when they feel appreciated by their bosses. Acknowledging the work of employees is one sure fire way to show workers they are appreciated. Gift cards, lunch, awards or write-ups in the company newsletter are all ways companies can show their employees value and thank them for what they bring to the company. 8. The Gift of Feedback: Sometimes, a company is just one grand idea from moving to the next level and these ideas come from the minds of workers. Employees who perform each day are the first to see a broken system and may have a way to manage it. Allowing employees to provide feedback to companies will help workers feel seen and give employers a look into the minds of its workers. 9. Give Back: Boosting employee morale can be as simple as a volunteer project in the community. Some are happiest when giving back and there is plenty to be done to bounce back from the pandemic. Offering the opportunity to volunteer will help strengthen bonds between the community and the company while helping those who need it most land back on their feet. 10. Be human: Employees can sometimes see owners or CEOs as superhuman or untouchable. Leaders should make themselves accessible to their workers and express genuine compassion and care for their employees, especially post-pandemic. Pen personal emails, walk around the office or simply offer one-onone time with workers will help personalize leadership.

Small Business Grants for COVID-19 Relief: Where to Find Free Money in 2021

By Susan Guillory As a small business owner, you are likely always looking for money to grow your business, and when something like a global pandemic hits, that need only increases. Whether you’re looking for grants to help you weather the rest of the pandemic or are just looking for a small business grant to take your company to the next level, you’ll find many options here.

are designed to meet specific business use case parameters, so make sure the reason you are looking for the grant is the reason they are offering the grant. In addition to the application, there is often an interview component where the organization offering the grant will want to get to know you and your business, talk about how you plan to use the grant, what type of value the grant will provide to your business and otherwise determine if they want to offer you the grant.

Best Small Business Grants of 2021 1. EIDL and PPP 2. LISC’s Small Business Relief Grant 3. The Barstool Fund 4. Made for More Small Business Contest 5. GoFundMe Small Business Relief Fund A grant is money that is given to a person, business, nonprofit or corporation from federal, state, county or local governments, or private businesses or corporations. There are a number of companies, nonprofits and government agencies providing essentially free money to small business owners in the form of a small business grant. And the best part? Grants do not require repayment of any kind.

The Shuttered Venue Operator (SVO) Grant program provides $15 billion in grants to certain businesses impacted by COVID-19, including:

The applicant must have been in business by February 29, 2020. This program is administered by the SBA. LISC’s Small Business Relief Grant LISC bridges the gap between government agencies and corporations with capital and the businesses and projects that need it. They facilitate many grants and other local funding opportunities including the Small Business Relief Grant targeting businesses in rural areas.

Grants can be targeted to businesses r non-profits based on a variety of factors. You don’t have to make your pitch on “Shark Tank,” refinance your home or take out a small business loan to take the next step in your entrepreneurial journey — business grants may help you get there if you know where to look and how to apply.

We’ve pulled together numerous resources for business owners searching for small business grant opportunities. The majority of these have broad grant application requirements, meaning many businesses qualify.

Shuttered Venue Operators Grants

• Live venue operators or promoters • Theatrical producers • Live performing arts organization operators • Relevant museum operators, zoos and aquariums who meet specific criteria • Motion picture theater operators • Talent representatives

What is a Business Grant?

And right now, with so many small businesses struggling through the pandemic, these grants can provide much-needed financial support that could be the difference between thriving or closing your doors.

with a second draw PPP loan for small businesses impacted by COVID-19, or a first time PPP loan for those who missed out in 2020. Although it’s not technically a grant, if you spend the funds on approved expenses during a specific time frame, the entire PPP loan may be forgiven. That essentially turns it into a grant.

Grants of $5,000 to $20,000 will be awarded to small businesses located in rural communities (those with a population of 50,000 or less) who have been impacted by COVID-19, with emphasis on underserved communities. Grant funds may be used for:

Types of small business grants COVID-19 Relief Grants for Small Businesses There are grants available to alleviate some of the pain that the coronavirus has caused small businesses.

Keep in mind that this can be a double-edged sword for applicants, though — you can apply for a lot more business grants if the qualifications are broad, but that means more competition for the grant. Often, you can find more success by finding niche grants for your industry, or based on your ownership structure and makeup.


In that spirit, we’ve provided some how-to advice all business owners can use to get your grant entries and/ or grant proposals together, along with lists of business grants, split into some of the most searched-for categories.

The Economic Injury Disaster Loan, while technically a loan, includes a $10,000 grant for eligible businesses. You may qualify for a loan of more than that amount, but if you meet the following eligibility criteria, you may qualify for a $10,000 grant:

How do I qualify for a small business grant?

• Be located in a low-income community

Depending on the grant and which organization is offering it, there may be different qualifications. Make sure you investigate the grant fully to make sure you meet the requirements when you apply. In many instances, grants

• Have suffered an economic loss greater than 30 percent

The federal government recognizes the negative impact that the pandemic has had on tens of thousands of small businesses across the country. Currently, there are two main programs that may provide financial help…and that may not need to be paid back.

• Employ 300 or fewer employees The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is also back

• Operational costs (including rent and utilities) • Payroll • Vendor debt The Barstool Fund Another noteworthy COVID-19 relief grant comes from The Barstool Fund (sponsored by Barstool Sports). The fund has an ongoing crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for eligible businesses that apply. There is no set grant amount, but a recent business received $9,000. GoFundMe Small Business Relief Fund Crowdfunding company GoFundMe has partnered with partners to provide a COVID-19 relief fund for small businesses. Your business may receive a matching grant when you raise $500 through your own GoFundMe campaign, as long as you can verify that your business has been negatively impacted by the coronavirus. Funds must be used to pay business expenses or care for employees. Made for More Small Business Contest Ball, maker of canning products, is offering small businesses who have made significant contributions to their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic awards of up to $10,000. To enter, you must use Ball brand canning products in your business. May 2021 | Small Business Toolkit | Michigan Chronicle 9

How to Grow Your

Small Business:

Resources and Tools to Push Business Forward

By Megan Kirk

Small businesses are the cornerstone of many neighborhoods across the country. Offering employment to locals, small businesses help to grow the economy and add character to the community. For those who work in a small business opportunities for growth can be hard to find, but not impossible. The opportunity to grow in any profession helps to feed an employee’s drive, but when working in a small business it may even inspire workers to go into business for themselves. Despite its size, small businesses function in many of the same ways larger corporations operate. While hourly employees are essential to day-to-day functions, small businesses also hold leadership roles responsible for overseeing the inner workings of the business. In these leadership roles, budding entrepreneurs are

able to see the total picture in operating a business and hone their skills for further advancement. In Detroit, small business growth has become a top priority since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizations have sprung into action to ensure small businesses have the assistance they need to continue to grow and provide countless opportunities to the community. Detroit Means Business is one institution that has dedicated its time and means to helping small businesses in Detroit. Providing a website full of financial and business resources, Detroit Means Business empowers small businesses by providing real-time assistance in applying for grants and loans, answers top business questions and offering free expert coaching for everything from Human Resources to accounting.

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Detroit Means Business also provides resources to a variety of businesses on how to re-open safely in the midst of the pandemic. Currently there is a push for food industry businesses to apply for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund to help open the doors and provide crucial support to a hard-hit group. “Restaurant owners and other food establishments have made incredible sacrifices over the past year to keep their communities safe and slow the spread of COVID-19,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “This vital relief will help ensure they can keep their doors open and continue to serve their communities while also ensuring their workers can stay employed entering the critical summer season.” Another viable resource for growing a small business is the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC). Dedicated to driving Detroit’s economy forward,

­ specially in light of the pandemic, the e DEGC strives to create equal financial opportunities for communities of color, minorities including women-led businesses and the disenfranchised. Their service is especially pivotal for new businesses and businesses facing hardships. “DEGC is dedicated to inclusive economic development. We take this responsibility to heart. With a team that is diverse and representative of the communities we serve, we work to reduce the racial bias and inequality that can be barriers to economic opportunity,” according to the organization’s inclusion statement. Detroit is home to the entrepreneur and having access to assistance can make the difference in how you succeed. Resources are available for new and seasoned entrepreneurs to grow their business and bounce back post-pandemic.

The ABCs of

LLCs By Megan Kirk

Despite the pandemic and the financial uncertainties it presents, entrepreneurs are launching small businesses across the city. For business owners just starting out, proper legal paperwork and categorization are important for both functionality and tax purposes. Although many small businesses are set up to mirror an LLC or Limited Liability Company, some may not need to register their businesses as one. A Limited Liability Company provides businesses with certain protections in terms of responsibility. Similar to the business structure of a corporation, LLCs provide a smoother path to entrepreneurship as they are easier to establish and maintain. When filing an LLC in Michigan, applicants must choose a Resident Agent who will receive tax information, legal notifications and documents, notice of

lawsuits and official government correspondence on behalf of the business. Applicants will also complete the Articles of Organization, the official document creating the LLC. For businesses looking to operate as a separate entity, forming an LLC will be beneficial to business functions. An LLC creates a separation between the owner and the company allowing for creditors to seek out the LLC and allow the owner to keep assets separate for their personal lives. On the other hand, businesses operating as a sole proprietorship are not separate from its owner and therefore ties finances, wins and losses, to the business and its owner. For small businesses with employees or business partners, an LLC also helps to protect against personal liabilities and lawsuits for the actions of employees or partners. An LLC will also allow the business to be taxed appropriately by the IRS. Taxed as a sole proprietorship or partnership, LLCs are able to choose between categorization as an S or C corporation which determines the level at which they will be taxed. In addition, Limited Liability Companies are provided certain protections under

their registration status and may be able to avoid paying debts with their personal accounts which makes it an attractive business model. Businesses looking to expand to states outside of Michigan will also have to register their company in each state, depending on its laws. The costs associated with registration vary state-to-state. Here, the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs requires a $50 fee for regular service and $100 for priority rush filing. There is also a $25 fee to file a name reservation application. All LLCs should have an EIN, or Employer Identification Number. This number is assigned by the IRS and to help identify businesses for tax purposes. It will also help businesses establish business accounts, file taxes and hire employees. The cost of filing a business LLC is cheaper if done without the assistance of a lawyer or firm. Attorneys can charge hundreds, but will ensure the work is done correctly as errors can slow approval. If completing the documents alone, submitting the application quickly and ensuring the information is correct will assist the process of approval. Approval for LLCs can take up to 10 to15 business days.

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Get Back in Business COVID-19 is constantly evolving and transforming how business is conducted. Keep your small business safe, prepared, and productive with the latest on the pandemic, safety protocols, funding opportunities, and more.

GUIDANCE FOR SAFE RETURNS TO WORK As more business sectors are allowed to resume in-person operations, stay informed on the latest safety regulations and strategies for getting back to work.

VACCINATION INFORMATION AND RESOURCES FOR EMPLOYERS View comprehensive guides on how to inform and engage the workforce regarding COVID-19 vaccination.

SMALL BUSINESS FUNDING AND GRANT PROGRAMS Learn about eligibility and applications for available funding opportunities for small businesses.

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Guiding Business Through COVID

As the COVID-19 dual health and economic crises emerged, the Detroit Regional Chamber began providing businesses and individuals the latest data, resources, information, and thought leadership to navigate it. The Chamber continues to proactively provide businesses with timely information on current government actions, available resources, vaccinations, and the status of reopening or expanding business operations.

Further, at detroitchamber.com/covid19 visitors can listen to

est safety regulations and strategies for resuming or expanding operations. Visitors can find information about Restart Webinars that offer advice from experts on topics including employer obligations in bringing employees back to the office. This information will provide employers a greater understanding of potential legal challenges, counsel on decisions about requiring or reporting vaccinations, communicating with employees who wish to continue working from home, and ensuring a safe and healthy workspace. Vaccination Information and Resources In addition to comprehensive guides on how to inform and engage the workforce regarding COVID-19 vaccination, visitors can also track the status of distribution and administration of the vaccine in Michigan. An interactive map provides a real-time look at the status of distribution in Michigan. In addition to the map, the state’s “MI Vacc to Normal” plan and benchmarks are also detailed.

The Detroit Regional Chamber Town Hall discussions with business, government, and health care leaders and watch Restart Webinars hosted by business service prois Helping Employers viders offering advice on restarting operations and recovery. Small Business Funding, Grant Programs, and Tax Credits Restart and Recover Complimentary resources offered to visitors include downloadable guides to build vaccine confidence within the workplace. The employer guide helps employers navigate the complexities of educating and encouraging their workforce to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. An employee-focused version aims to help employees build confidence around registering for a COVID-19 vaccine by sharing important facts and debunking myths.

Other highlights include: Guidance for Returning to Work Safely As more business sectors are allowed to resume in-person operations, stay informed on the lat-

Learn about eligibility and applications for available funding opportunities available from government, philanthropy, and the private sector. Information is also available on the Employee Retention Tax Credit for businesses that have kept individuals employed and for financial assistance or access to free personal protection equipment. Information on other financial relief programs like Michigan’s Work Share is also available. Businesses and their employees, regardless of membership status with the Chamber, are encouraged to visit detroitchamber.com/covid19. May 2021 | Small Business Toolkit | Michigan Chronicle 13

Why a Career in the Trades Should Be Considered By Megan Kirk College is one of the most expensive investments a person can make. In the United States, the average cost for a four-year degree from a public institution can cost upwards of $20,000 a year while enrollment at an out-of-state or private institution can easily double that. There is often a push for high school graduates to attend a four-year institution and take out loans to fund the expense. Trade schools, which provide hands-on training for lucrative, but specific skilled careers, are another option for not only high school graduates, but adults looking for a career change. The benefits of attending trade school can immediately be seen in the financial perspective as enrollment and tuition costs associated are significantly less than that

of colleges and universities. Costing a little more than a single year’s tuition at a fouryear institution, trade school can top out at roughly $30,000 for the entire program. In addition, trade programs are shorter – you can typically complete a course in anywhere from six months to two years. Trade careers, due to their shorter school course time, allow graduates to enter the workforce quicker and with more job security as these jobs are not outsourced. Another benefit of a skilled trade is the hands-on access and real-time job training. In these careers students are able to learn through actual training rather than a classic textbook education. The hands-on education allows for more experience with equipment and safety precautions. While the cost of education of a trade school is comparatively low, the payoff is high as trades’ careers tend to pay well.

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Averaging $35,000 to $50,000 a year as a starting salary for positions such as maintenance mechanics, electricians, pipefitters and machinists, the pay is sometimes more than starting salaries of some four-year career field. On the higher end, trades as a locomotive engineer, elevator installer or a nuclear technician can top $60,000 to $70,000 as a starting salary. Trade careers are also plentiful, offering a large range of positions and opportunities. In Michigan, trade jobs account for more than 500,000 positions through 2026 with almost 50,000 new job openings yearly according to Pure Michigan Talent Connect. As the field’s oldest employees, the Baby Boomers are set to retire resulting in an influx of new positions that will steadily become available. Despite access to jobs, there is a shortage of workers in the trades’ careers. In

a push for more graduates to consider trade school, Governor Gretchen Whitmer launched the Michigan Reconnect Program in February. The $30 million-dollar bipartisan plan offers tuition-free education to those seeking a skills certificate or associate degree. “All Michiganders deserve a pathway to a good-paying job, whether they choose to pursue a college degree, technical certificate or an apprenticeship,” Gov. Whitmer said during a virtual news conference in February. “Michigan Reconnect will connect thousands of Michiganders to good-paying jobs and connect businesses with the talent they need to thrive in their communities. I’m proud of the hard work that has gone into creating this historic new opportunity and look forward to continuing bipartisan work with lawmakers toward our goal of ensuring 60 percent of Michiganders will have a postsecondary degree by 2030.”

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E-commerce has turned the brick-and-mortar retail model on its head, and the COVID-19 pandemic is only accelerating the trend. However, this is does not mark the end of the corner store. In fact, businesses that are nimble and responsive to customer needs are actually flourishing in the current economy.

duce to custom clothing. So how can small business owners - the Davids of commerce - compete with the Goliaths? There are several actions business owners can take today to reclaim customers, increase revenue and grow their businesses. 1. Offer a mix of online and physical shopping. In toLong before the COVID-19 crisis hit, e-commerce day’s world a digital front door is just as important, if had become a substantial part of the global retail landnot more important, than a company’s physical front scape. With increasing Internet access, the number of digdoor. This includes delivery, mobile apps, no-hassle reital shoppers is growing daily. Reports show that in 2020, turns, curbside pickup and accepting various payment over two billion people purchased goods or services onoptions. line, with e-commerce sales reaching over 4.2 trillion U.S. 2. Add benefits to shopping local. While online giants dollars worldwide. Revenue from e-commerce in the U.S. offer products, local businesses can offer an authentic totaled more than $430 billion in 2020, and analysts preexperience, like a complimentary beverage, free alterdict that revenue will increase to $560 billion by 2025. ations or in-store Wi-Fi at no cost. Due to safety concerns, staffing and supply chain shortages, in addition to governmental restrictions, con- 3. Diversify your product mix. Consider selling products your business hasn’t offered before. For example, sumers are turning to the Internet at an accelerated pace. some local bakeries now act as a bakery and a bodega, Today, fewer than a dozen online service companies are selling milk, eggs and flour. responsible for nearly 70 percent of Internet sales. The 4. Market. Market. Market. Be sure everybody, especialcost, efficiency, security and variety offered by online sellly influencers, see your digital and physical presence ers makes them highly competitive. Many can even offer overnight shipping on anything from car tires to fresh proregularly. Offer loyalty programs, give back to your com16 Michigan Chronicle | Small Business Toolkit | May 2021

munity, sponsor school programs, make your space available for meetings once it’s safe to do so, and more. Most importantly, take advantage of all of the available resources available to you as a business owner. A great place to start is Detroit Means Business (DMB). It is Detroit’s one-stop resource for essential services, such as the Personal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), personal protective equipment (PPE), one-on-one business counseling and access to employee vaccinations. This week, volunteers from DMB are in the community visiting restaurant and food-related businesses to create awareness for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. Through this program restaurants and other eligible businesses may apply for up to $10 million to assist with pandemic-related revenue loss. Small businesses are the heart of Detroit. They provide jobs, goods and services, and a sense of community to neighborhoods. If you’re a small business owner, please reach out to DMB. If you’re a consumer, please consider shopping local. With the support of DMB and our local community, we can help sustain and grow our local small businesses.

5 Ways to Rebuild Your Small Business After COVID-19 If sales are slow or nonexistent, you might have a hard time getting approved.

The COVID-19 outbreak has wreaked financial havoc around the globe, leaving many small-business owners struggling in its wake. While the outlook for small businesses varies greatly by industry, it’s important to consider what recovery mode will look like once the economy begins to return to a state of normalcy — or establishes a new normal. Having an exit strategy in place after COVID-19 can help you be prepared to hit the ground running and rebuild. If you’re not sure what your coronavirus exit plan should include, this guide can help with getting your business back on track.

If you’re considering financing to help rebuild, keep in mind that borrowing may be competitive, as lenders want some reassurance that loans can be repaid. Reviewing your business and personal credit scores as well as your business and personal financials can help you gauge how likely you are to get approved for funding. 4. Develop a Time Line for Rebuilding You may have several things you need or want to do to recover following COVID-19, but doing everything at once may not be realistic. What can help is having a timeline to follow that prioritizes your most important actions first.

1. Assess the Financial Damage The first step in developing a rebuilding plan for COVID-19 is determining just how deeply your small business has been affected. There are different layers involved, starting with the hard numbers. If you haven’t updated your financial statements — such as profit and loss or cash flow statements — recently, it’s helpful to do that now. You can then compare them to last year’s numbers to see how much your business may be down. And, while only a small percentage of business owners say they’ve benefited from the pandemic, 3 percent, according to the National Federation of Independent Business, it’s possible that the damage might not be as bad as you think. Aside from the hard numbers relating to sales, profits and cash flow, consider other ways in which your business has been affected. For example, if you’ve had to lay off some or all of your employees, you’ll need to factor that into your rebuilding plan. If you’ve cut your advertising and marketing budget down, or some of your customers have migrated toward competitors, then those are things you’ll need to account for as you identify financial resources to help you recover. 2. Take a Second Look at Your Business Plan Your business model may have worked perfectly fine pre-COVID-19 but coming out of it may mean you have to do some fine-tuning. Specifically, you may need to consider how your business can pivot to adjust to a new normal. For example, if you previously relied on foot traffic to a brick-and-mortar location for sales, you may need to look at a digital expansion to accommodate the higher numbers of people who are shopping from home. You’re not in this alone, however. In partnership with the Small Business Administration (SBA), SCORE offers small

businesses access to mentors who can offer guidance and resources as you look to build —or rebuild — your business after the crisis. Remote mentoring services are available, along with free webinars that address coronavirus-specific issues. Analyzing how your overall industry has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic also is helpful. When looking at your competitors and the industry as a whole, pay attention to the trends and focus on finding the opportunities. Being able to find a gap or need that your business can fulfill that’s been neglected up until now could be critical to reclaiming and expanding your customer base going forward. When going over your business plan and business model, get clear on your business’ strengths and weaknesses. Then, look at what was working before that may not work as well now and see where you can adjust or improve to remain competitive. Finally, don’t forget to revisit your business goals to make sure they’re realistic given the current circumstances. For example, you may have set a target revenue goal for the year that will need to be scaled back now to account for the damper COVID-19 may have put on your Q2 sales. 3. Consider Whether You’ll Need Funding to Recover Unless you had a large amount of cash on hand going into the pandemic, it’s likely that you may need some working capital to jump-start your business operations coming out of it. When it comes to financing your small business during a COVID-19 rebuilding period, there are several options to consider. The SBA is an obvious choice for business

loans, and there are a few programs that can help. The Paycheck Protection Program, for example, is designed to provide funding to small businesses that are struggling to retain their employees during the coronavirus pandemic. Economic Injury Disaster Loans also can help with shortterm financing if you need money for things other than employee retention.

For example, your immediate goal may be securing funding for your business. Once you’ve done that, you can set a timeline for rehiring employees, then restocking inventory and, finally, reopening your doors if your small business closed as a result of the pandemic. As you take individual steps toward recovery, remember to track your progress. 5. Create a Contingency Plan for the Next Crisis

While the coronavirus pandemic may seem like a once-in-a-lifetime event, the reality is that an emergency can come along to disrupt your small business at any time. Using what you’ve learned during the current pandemic to prepare for the next crisis can help you insulate your business from future shocks. For instance, building up liquid cash •Traditional SBA 7(a) loans and savings may be a priority for your busimicroloans ness if you had little or nothing set aside before the COVID-19 outbreak began. You •Small business term loans from banks, may choose to focus on paying down your credit unions and online lenders debt and trimming nonessential spending •Business lines of credit to keep your budget in check. Or you may •Business credit cards need to find ways to help your staff work •Vendor tradelines more efficiently to cut operating costs. •Accounts receivable financing The pandemic also may have taught •Merchant cash advances you a thing or two about how important it •Inventory financing is to be able to adapt and keep your business fluid so you can reasonably weather •Purchase order financing storms. For example, if your employees •Equipment financing didn’t have the option to work remotely Each option can have pros and cons. before, that’s something you may want to Accounts receivable financing and mer- incorporate in your business model going chant cash advance financing, for exam- forward. ple, can be convenient, and neither one reThe more outside-the-box thinking you quires perfect credit to qualify. Either could can do to prepare for a worst-case scenarbe useful for funding your business in the io, the better. Having a Plan B (and even a short term. Plan C, D, E and F) can help improve your But they both require that you have business’ odds of surviving — and eventusomething to leverage, i.e., outstanding in- ally thriving again — during tough financial voices and credit card sales, respectively. times. May 2021 | Small Business Toolkit | Michigan Chronicle 17 The challenge with both of those federally mandated programs, however, is that the funding is limited. It’s entirely possible that funding may be depleted before your application for a loan is ever reviewed. For this reason, it’s important to consider other sources of small business funding, including:

Black-Owned Businesses Find Your Right Funding Resource(s) By Sherri Kolade Starting a business, securing capital and moving your company forward doesn’t have to be a lofty ambition, especially as a Black entrepreneur. With typically less access to banking and lending opportunities, it can be more difficult for businesses in Black communities to secure loans or financial assistance. Even still, when the business does open, unexpected calamities like the pandemic could occur and remove in an instant somebody’s dream of prosperity. According to a Stanford report on how COVID-19 impacted small business owners, between February and April 2020, there was a 41 percent drop in the operation of Black-owned businesses -- this was primarily due to a lack of funding. Below are some funding opportunities compiled by https://blog.hubspot.com/. This list was created to assist Black

business owners and others who have been historically marginalized.

Loans Accion International, a global non-profit micro-lender that offers to financing to disadvantaged populations. Community Development Financial Institutions Fund, part of the U.S. Treasury Department, are financial institutions such as banks, credit unions, loan funds, microloan funds or venture capital providers. These institutions offer loans funded by the U.S. Treasury Department to develop economic opportunities in low-income communities.

Founders First Capital Partners has flexible revenue-based investments for service companies led by minorities, veterans and women founders, with a target to preserve business ownership. In addition to investments, they offer business accelerator programs and a learning platform that can help business owners. Kiva, a nonprofit online lending platform connects entrepreneurs to crowdsourced lending. National Minority Supplier Development Council is a corporate member organization with a mission to boost business opportunities for minority businesses.

Small Business Administration is a EnrichHer, a fintech platform, offers small business loans for women-owned U.S. government agency that offers supbusinesses. The company’s A ­ ccelerator port to small businesses and entrepre+ Portfolio Match program is open to neurs. Black-owned businesses across the­ Union Bank is geared to assist under­ served communities with its Diversity United States.

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Lending program with extra support for minority, women and veteran business owners with flexible credit guidelines and access to capital.

Grants Business for All is a grant program through Hello Alice in partnership with Verizon with grants targeted for businesses led by women, people of color, LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs, military-connected business owners, and entrepreneurs with disabilities. Minority Business Development Agency is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce that helps with the growth of minority-owned businesses. They do not directly issue funds, but the MBDA Minority Business Centers can connect people to the right resources for funding. Content provided by https://blog.hubspot.com/.

Comcast RISE

Resources and Tools to Elevate Your Business Recently, small businesses have been dealing with the ongoing impact of the pandemic, social unrest and environmental events. Black-, Indigenous- and People of Color- (BIPOC)-owned small businesses have been some of the hardest hit. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, between February and April 2020 the number of active Black-owned businesses declined by 41 percent, Latinx-owned businesses declined by 32 percent, and Asian-owned businesses dropped by 25 percent, versus just 21 percent for the general population. Comcast RISE was created to invest in the success of these critical businesses by providing valuable and practical support. Comcast RISE is a multi-year commitment to provide marketing, creative, media and technology services to BIPOC-owned small businesses.

ELIGIBILITY You are eligible to apply for this program if your business: •Is at least 51 percent Black-, Indigenous-, and/or People of Color-owned and operated •Is independently owned and operated •Is registered to conduct business in the U.S. •Has been operating for one or more years •Is located within the Comcast Business or Effectv service area footprint. •Apply today. The deadline for your small business application is July 31, 2021. For questions about completing or submitting your application, please contact a Comcast RISE Representative at ComcastRISEInfo@comcast.com.

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Who Is Eligible for an RRF Grant? Eligible entities, include—but are not limited to—restaurants, food stands, caterers and bars. The business must be open, temporarily closed or opening soon (with expenses incurred on or before March 11, 2021). Cannot own or operate more than 20 locations as of March 13, 2020, regardless of the name or business type of those locations. The business has not filed for bankruptcy or been operating under an approved reorganization plan under a Chapter 11, Chapter 12 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Cannot be publicly traded, a nonprofit or state or local government-operated entity. The business has not received a Shuttered Venues Operators Grant (SVOG) or have a pending application for an SVOG (those denied an SVOG are still eligible).

How Much Can I Get Under the RRF? The RRF is intended to cover eligible expenses incurred on or between February 15, 2020, and March 11, 2021. The amount of the grant must not exceed the “pandemic-related” revenue loss of the applicant, less funds received under the PPP. In general, this equals an applicant’s 2019 gross receipts minus its 2020 gross receipts, minus any PPP loan amounts.

Restaurant Revitalization Fund Is Open—Here’s How to Apply

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, more than 110,000 or 17% percent of restaurants have closed permanently or long-term. A new relief program, the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF), tucked in the latest stimulus package is aimed at helping restaurants, bars and even food trucks that were financially rocked by Covid-19. Eligible establishments can now apply for aid up to $10 million per business and no more than $5 million per physical location. Here’s everything applicants need to know about the RRF. What Is the RRF? The RRF was created as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 which includes several forms of pandemic relief. The RRF will be administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). It’s aimed at helping restaurants and other eligible businesses continue operations in the face of financial difficulty. Under the program, restaurant owners and other eligible business owners can receive up to $10 million per business,

with no more than $5 million awarded per physical location. Grants will not be taxed and recipients will not be required to repay award money. However, funds must be used to cover eligible expenses on or before March 11, 2023. Any unused funds thereafter must be returned. Eligible expenses must be business-related and include things like: ■ Payroll costs ■ Mortgage and rent payments ■ Debt service ■ Utility payments ■ Supplier costs ■ Food and beverage expenses The costs of maintenance, business supplies and construction of outdoor seating can also be included, though this list is not exhaustive. You can register for an account and start your application at restaurants.sba. gov. The online application will remain open to any eligible establishment until all funds are exhausted.

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Funding requests must be for $1,000 or more, including any required deductions like for previous PPP awards, and cannot exceed $5 million per location. A single applicant’s total requests also should not exceed $10 million for any affiliated businesses—like a restaurant group. Grants will be reviewed and awarded on a first-come, first-served basis with the exception of fund priority group applications, which will receive first consideration in the initial 21 days of the application period. In addition to giving certain applicants priority, $5 billion of the $28.6 billion allocation is earmarked for applicants with less than $500,000 in gross receipts in 2019. Additionally, $4 billion is set aside for applicants with 2019 gross receipts from $500,001 to $1.5 million; and $500 million is set aside for applicants with 2019 gross receipts of no more than $50,000.

How to Apply for an RRF Grant The SBA has indicated that applications will be accepted in three ways: Through a recognized SBA Restaurant Partner. Also known as SBA’s Pointof-Sale (POS) Restaurant Partners, these partners are tech companies that provide software, hardware and payments services in the foodservice industry. Participating POS providers include Square, Toast, Clover, NCR Corporation (Aloha), and Oracle. Applicants that currently use one of the partners can apply for an RRF grant through the partner’s website or secure portal. Directly through the SBA. Visit restaurants.sba.gov to register for an account, submit an application and complete the required questionnaire and attestations. You’ll also need to upload documentation of eligible expenses and execute a DocuSign package to finalize the application. Via telephone. Eligible applicants can dial (844) 279-8898 to apply. This involves completing a questionnaire and attestations, as with the online application, and submitting documentation via mail. If you need help completing your application, you can contact the call center hotline at (844) 279-8898 or one of SBA’s District Offices.

As Michigan works to recover from the ongoing pandemic, we at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) recognize that the programs we create, administer and support must enable economic opportunity for all Michiganders – and will prove more important than ever before. During the pandemic alone, we launched 23 response programs to provide nearly $240 million in support to more than 25,000 businesses, retaining over 200,000 Michigan jobs in every county of the state. Now, MEDC continues helping businesses navigate 2021 through our traditional toolbox of economic development programs and services. Through our Capital Access program, for example, we support business growth in Michigan by reducing the financial risks for lenders and increasing access to capital throughout the state that may not have been accessible by working through the private sector. Meanwhile, through our Pure Michigan Business Connect program, we assist Michigan businesses in making new strategic connections in the state and around the world by facilitating connections through a data-driven matchmaking process. Through our International Trade team’s State Trade Expansion Program, MEDC can also offer financial assistance for businesses looking to grow their customer base by supporting business expenses like e-commerce and international website costs. We have also partnered with Northern Initiative to provide the Initiate small businesses an online learning portal that gives them access to valuable resources that can help them grow and thrive in today’s economy. These resources cover topics including money, marketing and management issues, and COVID-19 reopening resources for communities supporting small businesses all across Michigan. As we continue setting a course for economic recovery across the state, we recognize Michigan can only be a successful state if we are a state of successful people. That is why we have been laser-focused on having the greatest impact possible for our businesses, communities and job creation efforts over the past year. And that is what will continue to motivate and guide us in helping the state rebound from this crisis, to ensure we continue to create equitable economic opportunities for all Michiganders.

To learn more about how your business can work with MEDC, go to michiganbusiness.org/partnership. May 2021 | Small Business Toolkit | Michigan Chronicle 21

PHOTO SOURCE: (c) DSCimage / iStock via Getty Images Plus

Is Your Workplace Taking This COVID-19 Precaution? (StatePoint) Despite safety efforts and countless resources spent, factories, warehouses and labor union workers are continuing to be hit hard by COVID-19. As the vaccine slowly rolls out nationwide, ensuring that viruses can’t spread through surface contact remains a crucial component in keeping America’s workforce safe. New technology can help. Human coronaviruses can persist on inanimate surfaces such as plastic, glass, fibers and metals for up to nine days, according to the National Institutes of Health, making surface protection in the workplace critical to infection prevention. Routine cleaning and disinfection are momentary, leaving surfaces immediately vulnerable to recontamination -- particularly in highly trafficked areas, like break rooms, manufacturing lines and facility entrances. A new EPA-approved product called SurfaceWise2, when used as directed, offers continuous protection from COVID-19 with a single application, making safety in the workplace more reliable and more efficient. The product was devel-

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oped by biotechnology company Allied BioScience, which has a mission of reducing the footprint of global infection caused by the transmission of microorganisms encountered in daily life. While many Americans have been able to safely work from home since the start of the pandemic, an entire segment of the workforce has been forced to choose between their wages and their health,” says Michael Ruley, CEO of Allied BioScience. “Employees have the right to a safe workplace, and a long-lasting surface coating that protects against viruses -- including all strains of COVID-19 -- can hopefully make this choice a little easier.” Independent lab studies conducted by leading infectious disease expert, Dr. Charles P. Gerba found SurfaceWise2 to be effective against Human Coronavirus 229E, the EPA-approved surrogate, demonstrating the ability to successfully protect against COVID-19. Surfaces coated with SurfaceWise2 were found to

reduce the concentration of these viruses by greater than 90 percent in 10 minutes and by greater than 99.9 percent within two hours of contact. Compatible with virtually all surfaces, SurfaceWise2 will be a versatile tool in the fight against infection as businesses reopen or continue operations. Beyond the novel coronavirus, it’s effective against many viruses and bacteria that run rampant in the workplace. The coating is non-toxic, non-irritating, and contains no chemicals that produce harmful vapors or gases. Having undergone rigorous reviews and extensive testing, it carries the lowest possible EPA toxicity rating and can be safely used in enclosed spaces -critical as much of the workforce must be indoors. To learn more, visit surfacewise.com. Alongside precautions like mask-wearing and social distancing, using new technology to help ensure that viruses aren’t spread through high-traffic surfaces will be crucial to keeping America’s workforce safe.

Tips for Surviving the First 5 Years of

Small Business Ownership

(StatePoint) What motivates entrepreneurs to become self-employed? How do they measure success? What’s their cutoff for profitability and self-reflection on status? A new survey examining these very questions provides important insights to small business owners and those looking to start their entrepreneurial journey. “The Tipping Point: Making the Jump to Self-Made” report from global small business platform Xero surveyed 1,200 small business owners nationwide and, among respondents, 58% gave themselves five years or less to make it or break it - with newer businesses giving themselves an even shorter timespan on average. Here are some of the survey’s key findings, along with tips for surviving your first five years of small business ownership:

1. Define what success looks like: When they made the move to branch out on their own, 48% of small business owners defined success as achieving profitability, and 34% defined it as making more money than they were previously. Fast forward to the present with their businesses up and running and 28% of business owners cite creating a legacy as their success measure. Having tangible and intangible benchmarks of achievement can help you stay focused. 2. Know your “why”: According to the survey, one of the strongest motivators for starting a small business is the belief that it provides greater flexibility and control when you’re your own boss (45%). Passion/purpose in work (28%) and financial reasons (15%) were also strong motivators. Running a business can be tremendously satisfying when you understand what your “tipping point” was for taking a leap of faith and venturing out on your own. 3. Be flexible: Twenty-nine percent of small business owners say the pandemic has increased their desire to run a business, particularly among younger business owners (43% of Gen Z vs. 18% of Boomers) and women (34% of women vs. 24% of men). But what do those businesses that thrived in the COVID-19 era have in common? “The majority of newer businesses have been set up on technology platforms and digitally enabled since their inception,” says Ben Richmond, US country manager for Xero. “They’re ready for and in many cases even expecting disruption, so they’ve established afoundation that’s open to pivots.” 4. Be realistic: While most business owners say they started their business for increased flexibility and control, being the boss doesn’t equate to less stress. In fact, that’s the biggest misconception about starting a business (47%). Another top misconception is that starting a business will be more fun than working for someone else (25%). Understanding the realities of entrepreneurship can help you avoid surprises, and ensure comfort in the role as it changes. 5. Lean on digital tools: When you’re a small business owner, it can often seem like there are never enough hours in the day. Using software that streamlines the nitty-gritty can free your time so it’s better spent on the big picture. For example, the cloud-based accounting software platform Xero gives small business owners and their advisors access to real-time financial data on any device. Its 2.45 million subscribers are leveraging its array of tools that simplify tasks like paying bills, payroll, claiming expenses and sending invoices. To view the full report and for more information, visit xero.com. “It’s certainly been an unusual year for business, but entrepreneurs are generally feeling positive about the economic outlook in the months ahead. For enterprises still in the make-it-or-break-it period, that’s especially good news,” says Richmond. May 2021 | Small Business Toolkit | Michigan Chronicle 23

Seeing Michigan thrive. That’s our interest. Flagstar Bank has been helping businesses around the state flourish for over 30 years. We get to know you and your business so we can provide the right products and services to take you where you want to go. Tell us your why, and we’ll help you figure out how. That’s the power of the Human Interest Rate.®

Visit us at flagstar.com/business


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