Changes in the Paycheck Protection Program that benefit the smallest of small businesses

The Paycheck Protection Program has been one of the most visible programs inside the US Government’s response to the pandemic. The overall goal of the program was to get loans to small businesses to help them keep their staff employed as we entered the unknown waters of a pandemic economy. If these small businesses kept their staffs employed, these loans would be forgiven, and the loans would essentially convert into grants. There was recently a change to how much funding a small business would qualify for, and this change will have a dramatic impact on the smallest businesses who were previously either left out of the program or only qualified for a nominal amount of funds. 

These changes revolve around people who report their business income using a Schedule C on their tax return. Schedule Cs are typically used for sole proprietors (fancy way of saying people who do business in their personal name with no formal entity like a LLC or corporation), but some LLCs also use Schedule Cs. Up until this point, these businesses would determine the amount of a loan they qualified for by combining the annual payroll costs of any employees with the net profit of the business. These two figures formed the basis of the calculation, and the idea was that these figures would represent the combined compensation paid the employees and the owner.

The unintended consequence of how the program was initially setup is that many of the smallest businesses operate at essentially a breakeven where income is nearly entirely offset by expenses. Due to this, the “owners” portion (net profit) could be very low or $0 which caused their PPP loan amount to go down. With the new changes, the “owner” compensation portion of the calculation has been switched from using the net profit to the gross profit. This change will dramatically impact the amount of PPP funds a small business can qualify for as well as even allowing some businesses with a negative net profit to receive PPP funds when previously they did not qualify at all.

These changes became effective on March 5th, and they will be in place through the end of the program on March 31st. This can have a massive impact on some of the smallest businesses in our community.  Businesses that use Schedule Cs range from popup stands at the farmers market to businesses on Front Street. This group of businesses provide much of the vitality that makes Mankato special; so let’s get the word out so these businesses survive!

At Pioneer Bank, we have funded over 1,350 PPP loans for our community with a median loan size of $20,000. Most banks have access to this program, but anyone can feel free to send any questions to Clay Sharkey.

COVID-19 Resources for Businesses

Operating your business safely during a pandemic

Conducting business activities amid the COVID-19 pandemic takes careful planning to ensure employees and customers are safe and business goals are met. Mayo Clinic experts have carefully developed strategies and protocols focused on mitigating COVID-19 within the health care setting, where halting transmission is critical. They are also currently tailoring those strategies to support and advise businesses in settings outside of health care.

Mayo Clinic has refined its expertise and may offer advisory services in the following areas, which may be relevant to your business:

Continue reading “COVID-19 Resources for Businesses”

Accountability at Your Business through Traction

Over the last several months, businesses have been impacted by COVID-19 in many ways. Some industries have been impacted more severely than others. Across the board, businesses have had to act and adjust like never before. Joe Paulsen with Pinnacle Business Traction would like to help you with ensuring that your company has the Traction it needs to overcome current and future challenges.The following is part six of a guest blog series where Joe will share tips on how you can gain traction in difficult times.  

Discipline and accountability will give your company the Traction it needs to survive or thrive in any environment.  This is especially essential when navigating challenging times.  You need to have the discipline of meeting regularly with your leadership team, reviewing and analyzing your scorecard metrics each week, reviewing your past quarter’s performance and forecasting your next quarter while learning from your past successes and mistakes.  Accountability comes from helping and holding each team member responsible for their commitments, metrics and tasks.  This will provide your organization the Traction necessary to be the best you can be allowing you to get everything you want from your business.

Joe Paulsen (Meet Joe) and Pinnacle Business Traction’s passion is to Enrich the Lives of Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders in the Mankato area.  He has been implementing EOS since 2016 and has helped over 35 entrepreneurial organizations get everything they want from their organizations.  Please reach out to him if you are wanting more information or assistance.  joe@pbtraction.com 

GMG is offering the best-selling book Traction – Get a Grip on Your Business to members wanting to learn more about the Entrepreneurial Operating System. Please email jsprague@greatermankato.com to schedule a time to pick-up your free copy at the GMG office.

Does your Business have a Scorecard?

Over the last several months, businesses have been impacted by COVID-19 in many ways. Some industries have been impacted more severely than others. Across the board, businesses have had to act and adjust like never before. Joe Paulsen with Pinnacle Business Traction would like to help you with ensuring that your company has the Traction it needs to overcome current and future challenges.The following is part four of a guest blog series where Joe will share tips on how you can gain traction in difficult times.  

How do you know if you had a good week, are having a good month, are tracking to the quarter or year?  More importantly, how do your employees know if they had a good day or week?  We are all wired to deliver expectations we understand and agree with.  Having a clear and concise Scorecard will provide your employees and you with a pulse on how they are performing and when they have issues that need to be solved.  This is helpful when employees are working in the office and it is even more helpful when they are working remotely.  A great Scorecard will efficiently point out the critical issues your organization must address to keep the organization on track to deliver the weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual results you expect.

Joe Paulsen (Meet Joe) and Pinnacle Business Traction’s passion is to Enrich the Lives of Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders in the Mankato area.  He has been implementing EOS since 2016 and has helped over 35 entrepreneurial organizations get everything they want from their organizations.  Please reach out to him if you are wanting more information or assistance.  joe@pbtraction.com 

GMG is also offering the best-selling book Traction to members wanting to learn more about the Entrepreneurial Operating System. Please contact jsprague@greatermankato.com to schedule a time to pick-up your free copy at the GMG office.

Does Your Business Have the Right People in the Right Seats?

Over the last several months, businesses have been impacted by COVID-19 in many ways. Some industries have been impacted more severely than others. Across the board, businesses have had to act and adjust like never before. Joe Paulsen with Pinnacle Business Traction would like to help you with ensuring that your company has the Traction it needs to overcome current and future challenges.The following is part three of a guest blog series where Joe will share tips on how you can gain traction in difficult times.  

As Jim Collins and his research team found and explained in Good to Great, successful companies have “Right People” on their bus and they are all in the “Right Seats”.  I think all of us can agree with this concept, but when the labor market is tight, it is tempting to tolerate employees that truly don’t share our Core Values or can’t adequately perform the requirements of the job.  Fear of losing an employee and the prospect of having to recruit and train his/her replacement often stops leaders from having the important conversations to lay out their expectations and explain how that employee is not meeting those expectations.

  

I estimate that when you clearly articulate your expectations and show your difficult employees where they are falling short, 80% of the time those employees will modify their behaviors and actions to meet your expectations.  However 20%  will not and that means they need to leave the company.  So there is a risk in confronting problem employees, but the odds are clearly in your favor when you take action!  Also consider the message you are sending to your good employees.  If they sense that you won’t ever take action on employees that are bringing them down, they will likely be the ones that will leave your company and that is a cost you can’t afford!

Joe Paulsen (Meet Joe) and Pinnacle Business Traction’s passion is to Enrich the Lives of Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders in the Mankato area.  He has been implementing EOS since 2016 and has helped over 35 entrepreneurial organizations get everything they want from their organizations.  Please reach out to him if you are wanting more information or assistance.  joe@pbtraction.com 

GMG is offering the best-selling book Traction – Get a Grip on Your Business to members wanting to learn more about the Entrepreneurial Operating System. Please email jsprague@greatermankato.com to schedule a time to pick-up your free copy at the GMG office.

Expanded Opportunities for PPP and the Employee Retention Credit

The following blog post was contributed by Abdo, Eick & Meyers, LLP to assist businesses in understanding how recent federal legislation has changed criteria related to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Employee Retention Credit (ERC).

The COVID Tax Relief Act (COVIDTRA) that was passed late December made drastic changes to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) for both 2020 and 2021. The most critical changes for eligible employers include:

  • Qualifying expenses paid with PPP funds are now deductible for federal income tax purposes, however, we are still waiting on guidance from most state legislatures regarding state deductibility. This change officially means that PPP loans and their forgiveness will not be subject to federal income tax.
  • Employers may now be eligible for the Employee Retention Credit (ERC). Previously, organizations which received a PPP loan were ineligible to claim the ERC. That requirement has been removed and the credit has been extended through the first six months of 2021. To employers that are eligible, the ERC may provide up to a $7,000 per employee tax credit per quarter.
  •  The SBA announced they will begin accepting applications for new PPP loans from limited borrowers beginning January 15, 2021. Minority and women-owned businesses will be able to borrow first-time PPP loans initially, followed by minority and women-owned businesses requesting a second-time loan.  

The COVIDTRA legislation is good news for many employers. There are several critical planning considerations to discuss with your tax advisor to maximize your credit eligibility and avoid missing out on significant funding.  Key decisions that should be discussed include:

  • Applying for a first-time or second-time PPP loan.
  • Applying for 1st round PPP loan forgiveness if your organization experienced a partial or complete operational shutdown or a significant reduction in 2020 gross receipts.
  • Electing to take the Employee Retention Credit for 2020 or 2021.

There are still many unanswered questions about the PPP and ERC that we expect to receive further guidance on from the IRS in the coming weeks.  Additionally, are a few strategies to consider when determining if PPP, ERC or both are right for your specific situation. Be sure to contact your tax advisor to discuss your organization’s relief options and ensure that you don’t miss significant tax credits and funding opportunities.

About Abdo, Eick & Meyers, LLP 

Abdo, Eick & Meyers is a progressive CPA firm that leverages its “People + Process” by partnering with businesses to increase value, helping government audit clients operate more efficiently, and providing the very best in tax planning and preparation services. Established in 1963 in Mankato, Minnesota, the firm has evolved into a mid-sized leader in the regional accounting industry through a combination of steady organic growth and key mergers and acquisitions. Since its earliest days, the firm has carefully listened to its clients and then developed new areas of expertise and service lines to meet their needs. Learn more at www.aemcpas.com

All is Calm; All is Bright: Managing Your Mental Health at Christmastime

This is a guest blog post by Greater Mankato Growth member, Christian Family Solutions.

Christmas lights are shining in the streets, holiday music is on the radio, and there are joyous celebration ads on television.  It appears that everyone is happy this time of the year. 

Perhaps you are feeling happiness and hope; maybe you are feeling sadness and disappointment.  Perhaps you are feeling both.  It is critical to take time to slow down, pause, and identify and acknowledge whatever you are feeling without pressuring yourself or feeling guilty if you are not feeling a certain way.  Every feeling, whether pleasant or not, has a cause and purpose.  Suppressing or ignoring them does not allow them to guide your behavior or influence your decisions.

Continue reading “All is Calm; All is Bright: Managing Your Mental Health at Christmastime”

Radio Mankato Hosting Restaurant Rally

This is a guest blog post written by Ashley Hanley of Greater Mankato Growth member business, Radio Mankato.

Radio Mankato is proud to help our local restaurants during these challenging times.

That is why we have launched the Restaurant Rally. The Rally takes place every Tuesday in December from 9-10 a.m. with Lisa Kaye and Crew on Minnesota, which can be found on your radio dial at 93.1 FM.

All commercials and music will be paused during this time. Restaurant and business owners are encouraged to call the station during that time, free of charge, to let our listeners know of services, deals and ordering information.

This is the first time in Radio Mankato’s history that we have paused live music and commercials. However, we as a station felt this is one small way we could help give back to our local businesses and help rally together. 

The phone number to call is: 507-625-9393.

Any local business is encouraged to participate.

Thank you to sponsors Prime Source Funding, Drummer’s Garden Center and Floral, and United Prairie Bank.

Warm Your Heart With This Story – Foxy the Road Dog from Montana

This is a guest blog submission from Wendy June of member business, Mankato Pet Cremation. We love to hear about WHY our members love what they do in our community.

Who could have guessed that starting a second career in pet cremation would bring about so many stories and unexpected blessings?

In March of 2018, with much support from family, friends, and the Small Business Development Center in Mankato, we opened Mankato Pet Cremation serving Mankato and south central Minnesota. Initially, I went into this work with the goal of providing a crucial service for area pets. But I soon realized after death it’s no longer about the pet anymore, it’s about the people. To my amazement, it turns out people experiencing pet-loss are at their most genuine, honest, and tender selves. The good in people naturally spills out at this difficult time. Every customer renews my faith and gives me hope for the human race, especially during this difficult time. I am thankful everyday for this very rare and wonderful view of this complicated world.

Continue reading “Warm Your Heart With This Story – Foxy the Road Dog from Montana”

Managing COVID-19 cases and exposures in your business

This is a guest blog by Greater Mankato Growth member, Mankato Clinic.

As the Greater Mankato region experiences an increase in COVID-19 cases, business owners and managers have many questions and concerns on how to stay open and keep customers, staff and our community safe.

Continue reading “Managing COVID-19 cases and exposures in your business”