Be a financial first responder

For over 50 years, the U.S. Small Business Administration has recognized the contributions of entrepreneurs and small business owners with an annual holiday known as National Small Business Week.

Historically proclaimed for the first week of May, this national holiday is a celebration and opportunity to highlight innovation, jobs, and economic growth.

This year, National Small Business Week is inevitably postponed. With more than half of Americans either owning or working for a small business1, the global coronavirus pandemic has hit the workforce hard with an approximate 14% unemployment rate – and rising. The highest rate since 1940.2

As non-essential businesses remain closed to combat the spread of COVID-19, the phrase “business as usual” has a new meaning for business owners. Now more than ever, financial professionals can support business owners with thought and action by becoming a financial first responder.

Stay abreast of legislation

As the state of the economy changes daily, so too do state and federal legislation. While there is no playbook to help business owners navigate the pandemic effects on their business, your role as their professional advisor is to help them understand how they can mitigate risk by translating how they can leverage relief resources passed at the state or federal level. Since March, there have been three major phases of an economic relief package:

  • Phase 1: On March 6, a $8.3 billion emergency coronavirus spending package was funded to help aid states with CDC Public Health Emergency preparedness.
  • Phase 2: On March 18, The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201) was passed, which helped make coronavirus testing free for most patients, secure paid emergency leave, enhance unemployment insurance, and support federal Medicaid funding to states. Read more about Families First.
  • Phase 3: On March 27, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act legislation was passed to provide economic relief to workers and small businesses. The CARES Act, also known as H.R. 748, builds on the two former pieces of legislation by providing more-robust support to both individuals and businesses, including changes to tax policy. Learn more about H.R. 748. The $2 trillion legislation includes financing options for small business owners and independent contractors, including the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), among other relief.

Download our summary of The CARES Act and the relief eligibility for small businesses. (PDF)

Reconnect with other professionals

If you’re a registered representative, you most likely are benefiting from corporate and home office business continuity plans, technology infrastructure, and priority services to ensure your business processes experience minimal disruption. If you aren’t getting the kind of support you need, see how you can receive more information on Lincoln’s efforts in these unprecedented times.

Reach out to other professionals such as CPAs, attorneys, estate lawyers and other centers of influence who work with business owners. Between payroll information, the July tax filing extension, rent and cash flow concerns, they too are financial first responders and are helping their clients cope now.

Next steps for your business

Without question, recent weeks have impacted everyone across the globe. And as financial professionals, you too are probably thinking about how to adapt to our new normal. Use this time to (re)design your business model to be proactive, valuable, and thoughtful for your clients.

  • Educate your business owner clients on current state and federal legislation and what relief packages might make sense for them.
  • Connect with local chambers of commerce and other community advocates to learn what other opportunities are available for your clients.
  • Communicate regularly with your own staff or peers to put together a seamless business continuity and client-centric plan for servicing clients in the most meaningful way.

There is no such thing as overcommunicating during uncertain times. Lean in and be the financial first responder your relationships need right now.