COVID-19 Resources for Businesses

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Operating a business in a time of global pandemic can be scary and unpredictable. We’ve compiled these resources on behalf of the Roanoke County business community. For further assistance, please contact the Economic Development Office at econdev@roanokecountyva.gov.

The best source for up-to-date information from Roanoke County can be found at www.roanokecountyva.gov/coronavirus as well as the County’s social media channels. For updates on COVID-19’s impact in Virginia, please see Governor Northam’s website and most recent releases.

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New Grant Program Available for Roanoke

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Virginia Career Works Blue Ridge is providing limited funding to support small businesses in the Roanoke Region with 250 employees or less to avoid layoffs and downsizing.

Application Window March 30, 2020 – April 3, 2020

Applications will be available starting 9:00 a.m. on Monday, March 30 here and will be due at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, April 3.

For eligibility and application details, please refer to the VCW website: 

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Supporting Small Businesses

Now is the time to support Roanoke’s small business community! We’ve put together a growing list of small businesses that are currently operating under modified conditions. We will continue to update these as we hear from more businesses. 

How you can help:

  • Order delivery or curbside pickup services.
  • Purchase items or gift cards to use later.
  • Share their business information and encourage your friends to support them and follow them on social media.

Business owners: Please contact us at econdev@roanokecountyva.gov with your current operations to be included in a list.

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Disaster Loan Assistance

Virginia has been declared eligible by the U.S. Small Business Administration for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This means that Roanoke County businesses are able to apply for up to $2 million in loan assistance from the SBA.

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Business Impact Survey

In an effort to connect with businesses and assist in weathering this crisis situation, we are asking County businesses to complete this survey so we can better understand the impact COVID-19 is having on our business community.

Please note that we will only be reporting information in aggregate form. All information provided within will remain confidential.

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Note: The following information is courtesy of economic development colleagues, Business Oregon.

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Operational Planning During Crisis

  • First off, DO NOT panic; you are not alone. Seek the advice of people you trust and then think things through carefully.
  • Be proactive and respond, do not be reactive. Deal with what is in front of you and that which you have control over. Let the rest go. Worry and fear never solves the problems and can actually exacerbate them.
  • Nobody wins if your business fails, so involve your partners and employees in the solution.
  • No one will manage your business like you do. It is important that you stay active in the day-to-day management. The outcome of your business is dependent on the decisions you make.
  • Preserve thy capital. Living to fight another day is priority #1.
  • You don’t have to come up with all of the solutions. Seeking the advice of others and holding a brainstorm meeting can be very helpful. Work with your CPA, Small Business Development Center, financial institution, key employees and even other business owners to come up with ideas. In turn, share with others what is working…and what is not working.
  • Who are your key employees? Do they know the plan? Now is not the time to hide or to go silent; it is the time to communicate, communicate and communicate some more.
  • Work with key employees and involve them in implementing the plan. Many of them will have sound solutions that you might not have thought of. Some of the best solutions can be developed and implemented by those closest to the problem and who have a vested interest in a positive outcome.

Financing a Business During Crisis

  1. Cash Flow Planning
  2. Managing Cash Flow
  3. Increase Cash Inflow
  4. Managing Payments
  5. Lower Cash Outflow
  • Cash flow modeling is the critical tool. Work with your CPA and or Small Business Development Center in putting together a cash flow plan. Stress test it for a 25% and 50% reduction in revenue. Develop a weekly cash flow model going out a minimum of three months, possibly six. Longer is less useful and not as critical. Not that you shouldn’t look out further, but first focus on what is immediately in front of you. Use the cash flow projections to help develop your survival strategy.
  • Pay attention to your financials. They are neither good nor bad, just a tool to show you where you are. They are like indicators on your vehicle. Pay attention to them.  Manage your business based on what you are seeing. Work with your CPA or financial professional to better understand them and to understand what actions can impact them.
  • Work with your partners to get through this. It should not be a surprise to anyone that companies may be starved for cash. Talk to you bank/credit union, suppliers, customers and start working on solutions driven by your cash flow modeling. For instance, if through your modeling it looks like a key to your survival is getting extended terms from say 45 to 90 days that may become a specific request of your vendors to extend their terms to you. Conversely, get your big customers to expedite payments.
  • Do an honest assessment of how long your business can stay viable with little or no revenue.
  • Build up an emergency cash reserve fund and keep it as strong as possible. Cash is king.

Other Crisis Considerations

  1. Insurance
  2. Staffing
  3. Long Term Decisions
  • Are you properly insured? Review your business insurance policy, understand your coverage and exclusions, especially business interruption. There may be a number of relatively low cost insurance options to address business interruption and closures due the state and federal disasters. 
  • Are they up-to-date? Are there ways to reduce the cost and yet maintain adequate insurance coverage?