In the News

SBA recommendations for the novel coronavirus

We are living in unprecedented times. The novel coronavirus is forcing us all to take social distancing measures to stop the spread. As our country effectively shuts down, small businesses around the country are drastically affected, particularly service- or experience-centric companies.

The United States Small Business Administration released a list of relief options and advice for small businesses hurting in these trying times. Here is a list of our three takeaways.

Disaster Loan Program

For businesses who need immediate financial assistance, the SBA has opened its Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program, which provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue.

The SBA is working on a state-by-state basis to make this option available to small business and nonprofit operators. Another important note: These disaster relief loans can help homeowners or renters in declared disaster zones as well. More information here: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance

Words of advice

The SBA listed several common issues small businesses may face over the next few weeks and months. A quick list:

  • Capital access.
  • Workforce capacity.
  • Inventory and supply chain shortfalls.
  • Facility remediation/cleanup costs.
  • Insurance coverage issues.
  • Changing marketing demand.
  • Marketing.
  • Planning.

 

Many of the SBA’s suggestions recommend using resources provided by local offices (for reference, the phone number of Des Moines’ SBA office is 515-284-4422), but there are some pieces of advice you can implement now.

The first is transparency. For the most part, your loyal customers want to help you thrive; you just need to communicate your plans and status of operations. You might want to consider running a promotion to incentivize customers to support your business, even if they can visit in person.

The second is planning. Nobody knows when this will end. Create contingency plans by gathering your team, outlining hypothetical scenarios and respond accordingly. This will better prepare your business for whatever is next.

Local assistance

Iowa has a couple of offices throughout the state — in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids — and they are trained to counsel and mentor small businesses in tough times. The SBA also has partners, such as SCORE offices, Women’s Business Centers, Small Business Development Centers and Veterans Business Outreach Centers. The SBA has a local assistance directory to help you find what you need.

NAWBO Member Q&A: Terrie Kohl

Terrie Kohl, known as “Chef Terrie,” is a Des Moines-area chef and culinary expert. She owns Country Club Market, which opened in Waukee in 2003 and offers culinary arts classes, customized catering and a bakery.

Kohl is also heavily involved in the community. Kohl has participated in a number of community activities, including March of Dimes, Make-A-Wish Iowa, Best Buddies, East Village Gala, Toys for Tots and more. She also consistently donates spots in her Culinary Arts Class.

Among her honors and recognitions, Kohls was named on Iowa Restaurant Association’s 40 Women to Watch in the Hospitality Industry in 2019. Her cookbook, “Bringing Friends and Family Back Around the Table,” was published in 2019.

Can you take me through your personal background?

Oh, this is really long. My Mom was a great cook growing up in Cedar Rapids. Who knew that later in life my girlfriends would coerce me into starting my own business? That led me to the New England Culinary Institute and ultimately my own business for 17 years now.

What is your profession/business?

My business is Country Club Market. I’m a one-women army, and do all things food: dinners/events, cooking classes, bake-to-order and general food consulting. I recently published a cookbook, “Bringing Friends and Family Back Around the Table.”

What is the favorite part of what you do?

Pleasing people and empowering them through my God-given talent.

Who is someone you consider a mentor and why?

My mentor is Julie Child (a culinary legend, cooking teacher, author and television personality), whom I met and provided me with a culinary scholarship.

What is your favorite part of spring?

Nature coming back to life!