Old News on EIDL LOANS

Linda Rey manages the marketing for our business financing practice. She recently posted relevant information on Reddit about our recent experiences with EIDL loans, both new applications and the Reconsideration process. A troll responded with, “Old news.”

COVID-19 is ongoing with no definitive end point in sight.

Old news” doesn’t describe the continuing inquiries we receive from anxious business owners. A quick scan of any relevant online forum about EIDL programs reveals the simple truth: business owners still struggle with EIDL loans they’ve obtained (utilization) and fighting for monies they need to survive.

The U.S. Congress and the Small Business Administration (The SBA) responded with amazing alacrity in the early days of this crisis to provide vital support to Americans and American businesses. Yes, there’s been tremendous chaos around those initiatives.

In our opinion, that chaos, specifically about EIDL program loans, arises from two sources.

First is the overwhelming number of requests. According to an SBA Press Release on October 28th, 2020, SBA has funded nearly 9 million loans worth $7 billion. Chaos or not, the SBA did an incredible job of helping American businesses with the two COVID-related loan programs, EIDL and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

Our second opinion about the chaotic state of SBA EIDL response focuses on the SBA’s internal operations mindset. We mentioned in our introduction the drastic difference between a natural disaster such as a tornado, flood or wildfire, and the COVID-19 disaster. This pandemic is like no other disaster ever experienced in American history. And yet, with all their heroics on the frontlines performed primarily by the amazing SBA agents, loan officers, and processing staff, the upper level SBA Administration applied standards more relevant to the traditional natural disaster phenomenon.

To this day, we are dumbfounded by the SBA’s Administration’s failure to radically adjust the thinking and ultimately guidelines and processes for the EIDL program.

As amazing as our Government’s response has been to the financial uncertainties of this pandemic, there is surely more assistance to come in the future. As of this writing there is no second stimulus package negotiated or finalized in Congress. It is our opinion this will change as the pandemic moves into the second year of human distress. With any future stimulus package there are sure to be improvements and revisions to existing SBA programs.

Presenting this information at this time, in our professional opinion, will help business owners understand the basics of the EIDL program in anticipation of just such changes. When you install a fire extinguisher in your house, you probably took a moment to read the directions, didn’t you? Hopefully, you’ll never need it, but a basic understanding of when and how to use the extinguisher will surely come in handy in the event of catastrophe.

We welcome any questions, comments or concerns you may have if it means some insight or assistance to help sustain your business.

SBA Reconsideration Team URGENT UPDATE

SBA now has a way to upload required documents for your Reconsideration request directly to the SBA website. Previously (as recently as the morning of October 21, 2020!), the SBA Reconsideration Team sent you an email with the list of documents. You would then email the documents and SBA could take up to ten days to upload your documents to your file.

With this new method, YOU upload the documents!

Remember: You can still apply for an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) through December 31st.

IF your loan was declined or you did not receive sufficient funds to help you through this crisis you can request a Reconsideration from SBA.

See our video on How To Request a Reconsideration, including How To Write an SBA Reconsideration letter.

Our client received the email and within an hour we had uploaded the requested documents. Notice in the email: the STATUS of your….has been UPDATED.

In this case, the loan had previously been declined by SBA.

We requested a Reconsideration on October 17th; SBA responded with LIGHT SPEED on October 21st.

In the screen shot of the SBA portal website, you can see the new TAB “UPLOAD DOCUMENTS.”

If we haven’t viewed dozens of these SBA portals we wouldn’t realize what this meant as there is no other guidance on the SBA website or by email. Unfortunately, we all have to figure it out on our own.

Here at Aurora Consulting, we are committed to providing accurate and timely information about the SBA Disaster Loan programs. Stay safe! Stay well!

Sample Wording: Submit a Reconsideration Letter to Increase Your EIDL LOAN AMOUNT

We've been a broken record to remind people not to submit a 2nd or Duplicate EIDL Loan Application for the SAME DISASTER, i.e. COVID-19

 

What To Do If Your EIDL Loan Was Declined For CREDIT?

Click on the image to view our 3-minute video

We’ve had many interactions and exchanges with the SBA about clients whose EIDL loan was declined due to a low credit score.

What can you do if that happens?

1. Ask for a Reconsideration. Often EIDL loans are automatically rejected by the computerized underwriting system. What you want is a human being to review your loan request. You get to a human by requesting a Reconsideration.

2. Prepare a Reconsideration letter. At the top of the letter include your name, company name, address, EIN (or SSN if you’re Self-Employed), and EIDL Loan number. REMEMBER: all your information must exactly match the information you inputted on the SBA website when you applied for the EIDL loan. If your name was not included as an owner or Authorized Preparer, then you cannot write the letter; only names that were inputted on the original EIDL application.

3. In the body of the letter, keep it short and concise. Request a reconsideration due to your credit explanation. Write a brief credit explanation in the next paragraph. For example, something like this, “The late payments on my credit report and the resulting lower credit score were directly a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. My income/revenue dropped dramatically and I could not pay my bills on time.”

4. Keep your credit explanation short. If you have any documentation that supports the explanation, be sure to include PDFs of that documentation with your request.

5. Sign and date the letter.

6. Send your request to pdcrecons@sba.gov.

Our advice is this: no matter how bad you think your credit is, do not lose hope. Request a reconsideration no matter what!

Here’s our video on “How To Write a Reconsideration Letter”.

Download our EBOOK on how to rebuild your credit. There are tips in this ebook that have been tested after reviewing thousands of credit reports after 30 years of experience in the mortgage lending business.

Sample Wording: Submit a Reconsideration Letter to Increase Your EIDL LOAN AMOUNT

We've been a broken record to remind people not to submit a 2nd or Duplicate EIDL Loan Application for the SAME DISASTER, i.e. COVID-19

Can I Apply For Another EIDL LOAN?

Click to View Video

We received this question on Twitter:
I already received an EIDL loan. Am I eligible to apply for another?

The History of the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) PROGRAM was that it was established back in 1953. It was created for individual disasters declared in any one of the United States causing homeowners and business owners an economic injury .

For example, this month it may be a tornado in Ohio county. Two weeks from now it could be a flood in the state of Mississippi.

COVID-19 created its own unique disaster. The Small Business Administration (SBA) responded by offering an EIDL loan for the pandemic. We make this distinction because we want to answer this question accurately.

The fact is, you can apply for  multiple EIDL loans, according to the SBA as long as they are for different disasters that have affected you.

In other words, if you received a COVID-19 EIDL loan in April, but your county was affected by a tornado in September (and it’s declared a disaster area), then you can apply for another EIDL for the tornado disaster. We confirmed this with the Small Business Administration (SBA).

You cannot apply for more than one EIDL LOAN for the same disaster. However, the SBA has a provision for up to 24 months (or two years after the disaster), for you to request additional funding above the amount of your original EIDL loan.

Leave a comment below or schedule an appointment with us for a free consultation.

Let us know if this is helpful and what other disaster financing questions you may have.

How to Apply for an EIDL Loan

We've compiled pages of Frequently Asked Questions for you as well as sample EIDL loan application for you to navigate the SBA disaster loan process.

Summarize your Finance Package

Summarizing your finance package can help to prioritize how your banker reviews your financing request.

We recently submitted a client’s financing request to one of the Lenders on our lending matrix.  Our Lender Rep. said, “Holy cow, you guys are on top of it with your summary. Not many brokers make it this easy to review the package.”

We made it easy because the client provided us with their financials. The financials were comprehensive. It’s a multi-million dollar corporation and we’re at the early stage of presenting to the lender. We want to show something that’s easily digestible. We want to ease  the process for the lender to give us a prompt review and tell us their interest in offering the financing.

Summarizing your financials is easy to do.  When you have a lot of line items that lead up to one type of deduction or one type of income source, simply summarize it. Drop it down to as few lines as possible so the lender can do a quick review and say,  “Okay, I see the picture here.”

The Lender doesn’t need to know the granular line-by-line details at this early stage; you want the Lender to give a fast review to gauge their interest. If the Lender expresses interest and offers a Letter of Intent for the financing, you can present the more detailed financials with your full loan application package.

For each client financing request, we write a summary statement. We present a one or two page statement describing some background on the business, the reason for their financing request, and, in bold, large font, the amount of our financing request.

Our presentation package for the initial Lender review is compact, yet complete.  The “first glimpse” by a Lender is sufficient to tell us if that particular Lender is the right fit for our client’s request, or if we need to locate a different Lender.

If you’d like a copy of our Documents Checklist, click HERE.

If you have questions on the best way to present your financing request to a Lender, email us at Curious@AuroraConsulting.biz and we’ll be happy to provide advice.

Four Metrics to Monitor for Profit

To monitor your bottom line profit you need to put some fundamentals in place.  Once those foundational elements are implemented, you next need to create a monitoring schedule to check in on your profits.

Again, we’re not suggesting anything that is revolutionary in the world of running a business.  But we’re presenting these suggestions based on our real world conversations with business owners as we interview them to begin searching for credit financing solutions for their businesses.

In other words, as obvious as this advice might seem, we’ve encountered many business owners who don’t have these fundamentals in place for their business. If they do have these building blocks established, we discover their systems for implementing and monitoring are only one step removed from “back of the envelope” calculations.

We want you to do incredibly well with your business!  We’re presenting this obvious advice to help you organize these basics in a way that you can almost say to yourself, “Set it and forget it!” This leaves the system in place and removes so much anxiety and impatience from the day to day operations of your business so you can dig in to the two things that count most: loving what you do and building your business to even bigger scale!

The 4 fundamentals to measure profitability.

Timeline.  What is the sales/production cycle for your business?  Create a realistic expectation of when the cash hits your bottom line by reviewing your past three years performance.  Look at your previous cycles.  Calculate the turn times on when you delivered your product/service, and when you realized the cash injection to your bottom line.

Production Costs. While your production timeline might be, for example, three weeks, you must ask yourself if any production costs linger after the production cycle.  Are there delayed payroll expenses?  Are there residual expenses for cost of deliveries (freight costs, internet marketing costs, re-tooling expenses for next production run, Accounts payables to outside vendors necessary for the production cycle)?

Receivables.  Review your Accounts Receivables aging reports for the past three years. What is the true timeline when you receive better than 90% of the cash income from your receivables after you’ve sold your product or service?

Delays.  With each of the above three fundamental criteria, add a percentage variable to account for delays. What happens if there’s a slowdown in your ability to deliver your product/service? Add that into your calculation. Same for cost overruns that could lead to extended time periods of production costs

(What if your current freight delivery provider can’t manage the extra volume of a large order and you need to bring in another provider? What if you needed to add three more freelancers to complete video/content/production or implement design elements?) 

Same with your receivables. Assume the worst for your slower paying receivables and add delayed payments to your calculations.

Time To Check Your Profits.

Once you implement the above four fundamental monitoring elements, now create a schedule to check in on your profits.  Get it in your calendar!  Lock the door!  Give yourself (and your management team) time to focus solely on this aspect of your business.  No interruptions, and answer the question: where do we stand with profit?  If you’re profitable, what’s your bottom line number and does that match your expectations from your Business Plan?

Throw in the additional calculation: margin. Compare profit to expense. On a per product/service delivery price, what is the exact percentage in your profit column?

In the final analysis, literally, you’ll have a clear understanding of your profit.  When you comprehend in clear terms how you derive profit for your business you can then think about how to improve profit.  You may find yourself discovering new opportunities for profit centers and thus new products/services.

You may be pleasantly surprised that you’re more profitable than you thought you were.  Then you can decide what to do with that extra income, to plow it back into the business, to create cash reserves, maybe make bonus payouts to ownership, make charitable contributions, or take a vacation!

Again, what we’ve found is that many business owners lack a clear picture of their profitability in terms of hard numbers, metrics that you can see on your computer screen.

These fundamental systems may seem daunting in terms of the investment of time and money to implement, but, like any other feature of your business, once you’ve put them in place, not only will they help you with clarity of your profitability, but you’ll only need to tweak these existing systems in years to come as you grow your business by leaps and bounds!

Email us with any feedback, especially any solid “fly by the seat of your pants” stories.

COVID-19 Recommendations For Your Business Survival

We were recently invited to attend a professional event as guest speakers. At first we thought we would attend via video conferencing. We then discovered that the event organizers expected us to physically visit their office to participate in the event. This raised serious concerns for us, especially since Trevor was ill with COVID-19 over the Summer.  We sent an email to the event organizers expressing concerns and asking a series of questions about their safety protocols.

As soon as we hit the “SEND” button, we realized they could have been more proactive in providing information to us FIRST about the safety protocols. Thus was inspired the following advice to our business owners. We hope you will find this useful. We welcome comments about this advice.

DO MORE FOR YOUR CUSTOMERS WITH YOUR COVID-19 SAFETY PROTOCOLS AND MESSAGING

The time is right for you to help your customers with concerns about visiting your business. Step up your safety protocols and your message about those protocols. Many more Americans are aligned with recommended safety guidelines including mask-wearing and social distancing. As a business trying to survive through this pandemic, get the word out to more people that you understand their concerns.

With the ongoing COVID-19 crisis your customers have concerns about meetings outside of their home or office. Be proactive in your understanding of their concerns. Apart from any local, State or Federally mandated safety protocols, determine how you can add to those fundamentals. If you’re not required to provide free masks, do it anyway. If you’re required to have a certain size of plexiglass divider, install larger dividers. If you’re required to have a specified number of hand sanitizer stations, add more.

You can’t really go “over the top” during this pandemic; the more you do to acknowledge the concerns of your customers about their own safety and that of your employees, the better the likelihood of increasing your customer attendance.

Once you’ve done that, then you need to “go tell it on the mountain” and broadcast the level of protections you’ve implemented.

Get the word out through every channel possible. Your messaging could include a phrase like this: “We want to provide you with assurances of safety protocols before you visit our store/restaurant/office. We want you to feel safe during these uncertain times.”

With messaging like this, you are both acknowledging the “pain points” that many people are feeling and you are increasing the numbers of customers likely to visit. It’s not enough to attract customers who already feel more comfortable going out and about during the pandemic with less anxiety; you need to pry the other, more anxious customers out of their protective environments.  Your message and your protocols will accomplish that goal.

Take a proactive stance that can only raise your customer’s confidence in your attempts to keep them safe. We have some suggestions for advance messaging before a customer visits your office/store/restaurant:

  1. Consider providing a list of the safety protocols you’ve implemented. On the list, note which ones are government recommended and which ones you’ve added for the extra level of caution.
  2. The next suggestion is a really difficult concept because you are acknowledging the customers’ concerns in a way that many businesses fail to do. Essentially, you’re going to remove some of the burden of safety precautions from the customer.

While it may seem that the following questionnaire might frighten away people, we believe the opposite to be true: you will actually attract more customers.

Understand that the vast majority of Americans are already worried about being infected with the COVID-19 virus. Ignoring that concern, assuming that everyone is taking precautions into their own hands or trusting a business with only minimal safety protocols is a fatal mistake for a business trying to survive the pandemic.

Become a “partner” with your customers by acknowledging their worries. Create a dialogue to demonstrate your intense interest in their safety and that of your employees.

We recommend that you include in your messaging these additional information points about your focus on the safety of your customers and employees:

  • Describe how many other people will be in attendance on the day of the event/meeting/reservation, including before and during your customer’s visit.
  • Provide detailed descriptions of the protocols in place currently at your business.
  • Provide a diagram of the business space demonstrating the measurements in relation to your customer’s ability to maintain social distancing. Note the plexiglass and hand sanitizer locations on the diagram.
  • We recommend you send a questionnaire to customers either before they attend a meeting at your office or visit your store/restaurant. Make this questionnaire part of your safety protocols in advance of the customer’s visit.

We know that many businesses are providing a short form of this questionnaire only at the moment of entry. In our opinion, while this is compliant with recommended guidelines, it doesn’t do enough to soothe the worries of many more people. And you want to attract as many customers as possible to survive this pandemic.

We’ve set up a minimal questionnaire. You’re welcome to copy this and use it along with your local, State or Federally-mandated questionnaires:

Please REPLY to this email with your answers to the following questions so that we can assure your safety of you and the safety of our other customers:

  • What is your personal opinion on mask-wearing requirements? 
  • Do you wear masks constantly, occasionally, rarely, or never?
  • Have you been diagnosed with COVID-19 or been in proximity recently with someone diagnosed with the virus?
  • Have you attended a social or professional event with more than six people in the last 30 days?

We recommend you provide this questionnaire, along with the list of safety protocols at the moment a customer confirms attendance at a meeting or even when they make a reservation at your restaurant. We know that many business owners may be fearful that such communications may actually scare customers away. Frankly, we cannot imagine how your interest in clear communications and a dedication to customer/employee safety can be more frightening than the actual COVID-19 virus!

Remember that you want to attract the customers who are taking extreme precautions. They may even be the customers reluctant to venture out of their homes.

Wishing you the best during these difficult times! Stay safe, stay well.