By now many of us are familiar with the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a loan program for small businesses created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). The initial guidelines issued for the loan, owners have eight weeks to use the funds and 75% must be used toward payroll, seemed great at first, but were soon met with push back as businesses owners began to realize they wouldn’t be able to use the loan within the required timeframe. Luckily, new guidance has been issued providing more relief for those who need it most.

How PPP has changed

What many of us anticipated to be a two-week stay-at-home order, quickly turned into six weeks with many businesses not able to fully resume services at their full capacity after the order lifted to accommodate for Center for Disease Control recommendations. While the restrictions work to keep employees and patrons safe, they have made meeting the guidelines for PPP nearly impossible due to limiting business, fewer employees working at a time and more. Within the new guidance, the eight-week deadline was extended to 24 weeks, and owners only need to use 60% of the funds on payroll for the loan to be forgiven. This allows businesses to work toward get back on their feet while using the loan to cover other large costs including mortgage interest, rent and utilities.

Businesses must continue to adapt

While we’re still amid the coronavirus pandemic, it’s already evident that the “new normal” we’re experiencing is anything but, and businesses must adapt to keep up. Whether that’s creating an app to allow patrons to simplify ordering delivery from a restaurant to keep out third party services to now offering 100% online services, those who have reworked their business models have seen success during these trying times.

Innovation is key

While things have picked up for many, you must keep reevaluating and finding areas to improve and crisis proof your business. How is your digital footprint? Can you invest in new technology to speed up processes? Just because you survived shutting down your business doesn’t mean that things will get easier. This year will be hard as we try and navigate a pandemic, but by improving your business on all levels you’re creating more security for a future crisis whatever it may be.


Mark Stewart is a Chandler councilmember, state ambassador for the Jobs Creator Network and co-founder of micro- and small-business accelerator Concept2Completion.