Small business guidance available | News, Sports, Jobs - The Steubenville Herald-Star

Small business guidance available | News, Sports, Jobs - The Steubenville Herald-Star

Small business guidance available | News, Sports, Jobs - The Steubenville Herald-Star

Posted: 24 Jul 2020 09:35 PM PDT

WEIRTON — Area small businesses now have another resource to help them address the economic challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic. The Region XI Brooke-Hancock Regional and Planning Council will be providing local small businesses with guidance regarding assistance programs.

"There are many ways small businesses can receive assistance, but the guidelines and procedures can seem overwhelming," stated Craig Brown, economic development strategist at the Brooke-Hancock Jefferson Metropolitan Planning Commission.

"Our goal is to help businesses get over these obstacles and create a stronger and more resilient economic environment," Brown continued, "We can do this by helping local people understand the processes and successfully complete the necessary applications."

Brown said that he was glad many local businesses have taken advantage of programs like the Paycheck Protection Program offered by the Small Business Administration, but that other lesser-known programs can also benefit Brooke and Hancock counties.

He said that local business owners should check out the West Virginia CARES Act Small Business Grant Program. Funds are now available for many different uses, including installation of drive-through windows, contactless equipment, and much more.

"We have to approach the economic fallout from COVID-19 like we would a natural disaster; by studying, planning, and rebuilding to assure our region's long-term strength and resiliency," Brown said.

According to J.P. Morgan Chase, 48 percent of all U.S. employees work for small businesses, and 18 percent of all U.S. employees work for employers with 20 employees or less.

In April, unemployment numbers peaked for Hancock and Brooke counties. Hancock County had 17.2 percent unemployment, and Brooke County had 16.3 percent unemployment.

BHJ-MPC Executive Director Mike Paprocki added, "Recovering from this pandemic will be one of the greatest challenges ever faced by the Ohio Valley. Making sure business owners can take advantage of the help they have been offered is a good start," said Mike Paprocki. BHJ's executive director.

In June, West Virginia Economic Development Districts were awarded funds by the U.S. EDA to create regional economic development plans to stimulate and guide economic development efforts.

Interested businesses can get more information or schedule a free onsite or virtual meeting with Brown by visiting or by contacting him at (304) 797-9666.

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Cobb extends small business relief grant deadline - Cobb County Courier

Posted: 25 Jul 2020 06:00 AM PDT

Cobb County has extended its Small Business Relief Grant application period.

The application window will reopen on Monday July 27, 2020, with a new deadline of 5 p.m., Friday, Aug. 21.

New terms have been added to round two of the application process (lists taken from Bob Ott's weekly newsletter email):

  • Businesses that have received financial assistance from the Payroll Protection Program or Small Business Administration are now eligible for a grant.
  • Businesses can include both W-2 and 1099 employees toward their total number of employees.

The other requirements in place from round one are:

• Business must be an existing for-profit corporation, partnership, or sole proprietorship;
• Business headquarters or primary location must be within Cobb County;
• Business must have 100 or fewer full-time, W-2 employees and/or individual 1099 contractors that function like employees, i.e., employees or contractors working at least 30 hours per week or 130 hours per month;
• Business must have been in continuous operation for a minimum of 1 year prior to March 13, 2020;
• Business must have a current business license issued by Cobb County Government, City of Acworth, City of Austell, City of Kennesaw, City of Marietta, City of Powder Springs, or City of Smyrna;
• Business must be current on all local taxes;
• Business may be home-based or located in an owned or leased commercial space;
• Business must certify if they have received PPP/SBA funds and the amount in which they received as of time of application submittal; and
• Business cannot be a publicly traded company.
• Ineligible Businesses Include: Gambling Institutions, Multi-Level Marketing Organizations, Real Estate Investment Firms (REITS), Adult Entertainment

To read more about the requirements, and to apply, visit the SelectCobb website at

About the Small Business Relief GrantsAccording

According to the SelectCobb website:

The Small Business Relief Grant has been established to assist businesses of up to 100 employees with various operational and overhead expenses. The program will be funded by way of a portion of the County's disbursement of funding via the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

These funds are intended to be used by communities to deal with the impacts of COVID-19. The Cobb County Board of Commissioners has allocated $50 million to be disbursed by SelectCobb to small businesses impacted by the pandemic.

The information below will assist companies in learning about the grant tiers, eligible uses of funds, eligibility criteria, the application process, the required memorandum of understanding, and details on how grant monies will be disbursed.


Small-business owners are realizing they are the victims of another Trump con - The Washington Post

Posted: 24 Jul 2020 01:20 PM PDT

Restaurants have been hit hard. So have beauty salons and retail shops. Earlier this week, a Yelp survey revealed that of the more than 130,000 establishments listed on its platform that temporarily closed their doors in response to covid-19, more than half will not reopen. This isn't just a temporary setback. It's all but a mass extinction.

Richardson holds the man he supported for president in 2016 — Donald Trump — responsible for the catastrophe. "I thought he's a businessperson, not a politician, maybe he'll mix things up," Richardson said. "I could have lived with him till his response to covid." Now? "If I can do anything to sway a person from Trump to Biden, that's now my life mission."

In 2016, many small business owners had a thing for Trump. They liked the idea of an entrepreneur like themselves in the White House. They believed his promise to do something about rising health-care costs. And, mostly, they stuck with him. A poll conducted by CNBC and Survey Monkey this January found 64 percent of small-business owners approved of the president's performance. Now, some are realizing they are the latest victims of this serial con man.

America's small businesses, which employ about half of all private-sector workers, have experienced a host of troubles for years. As laws intended to level the playing field between big players and their smaller competitors have fallen by the wayside, small businesses have struggled to keep up. Many are undercapitalized, with a few weeks of spare cash on hand, at most.

Trump campaigned on a promise to help U.S. business; instead, in line with his entire career, he's governed as a flim-flam man and smash-and-grab thief. He's kept few promises. Health care? Don't make Richardson laugh. He was paying $1,800 per month for an Affordable Care Act exchange plan for his family in 2016. Now, he pays almost $4,000 for him and his wife.

Trump's tax "reform" plan showered gains on the wealthiest — not to mention real estate dealers such as himself — but gave crumbs to most almost everyone else. Estimates show that it would take earnings of several hundred thousand dollars annually to significantly benefit from the law's corporate tax reductions. According to Payscale, the median income of a small-business owner is $69,000 annually.

The same dynamic has played out during the covid-19 crisis. An April report from the Brookings Institution described more than half of the nation's small businesses in serious danger of closing their doors permanently if the pandemic wasn't quickly contained. But the Paycheck Protection Plan, the main source of government aid for small companies, is riddled with bureaucratic hurdles. Many business owners were hesitant to apply for it, fearing that if they didn't meet the stringent conditions for debt forgiveness, they could get stuck paying off an unwanted loan. More than half of the aid had to go to payroll, limiting the amount owners can spend on rent, utilities, supplies, insurance and other fixed costs.

Moreover, because the banks that processed the money were paid based on the size of the loan, they had little incentive to prioritize what most of us consider small businesses — our neighborhood restaurants, the local contractor — and instead allowed larger companies, such as chain restaurants that didn't have more than 500 employees per location, to go to the front of the line.

Minority owners found it harder than whites to get approved. At the same time, a full on bevy of household names benefitted. Companies owned by entertainers Kanye West and Reese Witherspoon collected funds. Anti-tax advocate Grover Norquist did, too. Private equity funds muscled in. So did a number of business ventures connected to the family of Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

All this infuriates Ryan Cullen, a registered investment adviser in Cincinnati who describes himself as "conservative," and voted for Trump. He won't do so again. "Millions of dollars went to people who supported Trump and people who are close to him," he told me. "We cannot withstand four more years of Trump, his divisiveness, corruption, hatred and poor policymaking."

As for Richardson, he said Trump didn't handle the crisis like a businessman would. The president shouldn't have tried to play down the pandemic or given out conflicting guidance, Richardson said. Trump needed to level with the American people, not offer denials and misinformation. Now, unemployment is again rising, and the virus is raging throughout huge swaths of the United States. Entrepreneurs learned the hard way that Trump's supposed business prowess is as fictitious as a degree from Trump University.

Read more:

In the News - Small Business Owners Stress Over Regulations That Don't Exist - Small Business Trends

Posted: 24 Jul 2020 02:00 PM PDT

Small business owners have enough to worry about right now. And government red tape – pandemic or not – is always one of them.

However, this week we learned in a new survey from SurePayroll that small business owners are worry about red tape that doesn't even exist.

In this survey, the popular payroll company found that 45% – yes, nearly half – of small business owners say they're familiar with payroll regulations that aren't even real regulations.

Don't blame yourself for this. As we said, there's already enough on your plate and there's plenty of red tape to get hung up on. But this should be a reminder to keep on top of changing regulations on a regular basis. And if you don't have time to stay current on regulations yourself, you may need to assign someone in your company to do that for you.

In the end, you'd hate to find out that you stayed up late or dedicated resources to complying with regulatory rules that never even existed.

For more news that matters most to small business owners, check out our weekly roundup below:

Small Business News Roundup – July 24, 2020

45% of Small Business Owners Familiar with Payroll Regulations that Don't Exist

A survey by SurePayroll, included in its 2020 Payroll and Taxes Regulations Report, revealed some surprising findings regarding how well small business owners understand payroll regulations and the mistakes they make when running payroll for their employees.  One of the most noteworthy is that 45% of respondents claimed to be familiar with regulations that don't even exist.

66% Working from Home Say They're More Likely to Work Nights and Weekends

66% of Americans working from home say they are likelier to work nights and weekends than prior to working remotely. 19% of home workers admit to starting earlier and finishing later since working during quarantine. These statistics were unveiled by JDP's 'Working From Home During the Pandemic' study.

The 10 Most In Demand Skills Right Now You Can Learn From Home

The coronavirus pandemic has forced businesses to adopt to the homeworking model. Spending more time at home, the present climate is perfect for learning new skills. In these uncertain times, adding "another string to your bow" could be invaluable in navigating unchartered business waters.

Up to 40% of Small Businesses in Major US Cities in Danger of Closing

A survey by LendingTree reveals up to 40% of small businesses in major US cities risk closing. between 24% and 40% of businesses in the nation's 50 metropolitan areas risk closure if business doesn't return to normal. The analysis based on the U.S. Census Bureau's Small Business Pulse Survey foreshadows a tough summer for small businesses.

40% of Americans Want to Move to Less Populated Areas Due to Pandemic

As many as 40% of Americans say they are considering moving to a less populated area because of Covid-19. And 31% of US citizens say they are thinking about moving to somewhere with lower living costs. People in the West, younger generations, and higher earners are more likely to want to move. These statistics were unveiled by a study by Fast, an ecommerce payment startup.

AICPA and Biz2Credit Launch PPP Loan Forgiveness Tool

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and Biz2Credit announced the launch of a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness platform. The platform,, helps automate the forgiveness process for small business owners who have received PPP funds.

Verizon Launches Small Business Hub and Comeback Coach

Small business owners need technologies that allow them to pivot to remote work, staying secure. To help them, Verizon launched The Small Business Hub. Small businesses need financial assistance, and also need more than that.

InstaPay Now Helping Amazon Sellers Get Paid Daily

InstaPay has launched a new service designed to help Amazon sellers grow their business. The service allows sellers to receive quick and efficient payments on a daily basis. InstaPay is a fintech platform for the ecommerce industries. With InstaPay, third-party sellers on Amazon receive payment automatically every day. The service pays sellers 50% to 80% of the net sales volume.

What Are the New Rules When Your Employees Work from Home?

It has been a difficult transition to having staff members go from the office to working from their homes. Leaders were used to their team being all in one place and everyone knew the rules when you were at the office.

Verizon and Samsung Introduce "Most Affordable" 5G Phone for Business

The Samsung A71 5G UW launched on July 16. Starting at $649, the device is hailed as Verizon's cheapest 5G smartphone to date. The A71 5G UW boasts a 6.7-inch Super AMOLED infinity display, Quad Cameras, and a long battery life.

Employees Want to Return to a Physical Workplace

If you think all of your employees love working from home, you might be having the wrong idea. As authorities are relaxing lockdown restrictions, many employees are looking forward to returning to the office post the Covid-19. According to the latest survey from Hibob, 36% of employees prefer to work from the office. And 43% of employees would like to return to the office once or twice a week.


Here's what small business owners, many cash-strapped, want from the next GOP coronavirus bill - CNBC

Posted: 24 Jul 2020 12:11 PM PDT

Jovita Carranza, administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), speaks as Steven Mnuchin, U.S. Treasury secretary, left, listens during a House Small Business Committee hearing in Washington, D.C.

Erin Scott | Getty Images

Details of  Senate Republicans' version of a coronavirus aid bill are starting to emerge. Accountants question whether it will provide enough relief to small businesses.

GOP lawmakers expect to release their aid bill next week. The proposal is expected to call for another round of stimulus checks and an extension of the enhanced federal unemployment payments – albeit "based on approximately 70% wage replacement," according to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Small businesses – many of which are feeling the squeeze as coronavirus continues to rage – also get additional relief.

The Senate GOP bill is expected to authorize a second round of Paycheck Protection Program loans, intended for firms that are suffering from the effects of Covid-19.

"We want to have second checks for companies whose revenues are down 50% or more and need more money," Mnuchin said on CNBC Thursday morning.

Democrats, of course, have their own idea of what the next relief bill should include. Consider the Heroes Act, which passed the House in May.

Tax professionals say that while a second bite of the PPP apple would be greatly appreciated, small businesses will need more than that to stay afloat.

In particular, they want tax deductibility of any business expenses paid for with PPP proceeds.

"Essentially without deductibility, the business owner's taxable income will be higher this year, and it will create a larger tax liability at a time when every dollar counts," said Jeffrey Levine, CPA and director of advanced planning at Buckingham Wealth Partners in Long Island, N.Y.

Forgivable loans, higher taxes


A key feature of PPP loans is that borrowers may be eligible for forgiveness, provided they spend at least 60% of their proceeds on payroll costs. They may be eligible for partial forgiveness if they fall short of that threshold.

The forgiveness itself is exempt from taxes.

However, the IRS has blocked borrowers' ability to write off salary costs and other expenses covered by PPP funds. This is to prevent them from taking a so-called "double tax benefit."

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle disagree with this. Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., in fact pitched a bill that would allow for the deduction of those expenses.

Barry Melancon, CPA and CEO of the American Institute of CPAs, also asked for deductibility in a July 20 letter to Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Ca.

"PPP recipients, particularly the smallest businesses, cannot afford to be surprised with a tax bill on their PPP loan expenses next year," Melancon wrote.

Tax deductions save taxpayers money by allowing them to cut down their taxable income. Without these write-offs, entrepreneurs' income seems higher on paper than it actually is.

"Without deductibility, there's more taxable income generated by the business and it results in higher taxes," said Levine.

Simplified forgiveness

Another item accountants hope to see in the new bill is streamlined PPP loan forgiveness.

Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., introduced  the Paycheck Protection Small Business Forgiveness Act at the end of June. This measure calls for automatic forgiveness of PPP loans that are no more than $150,000.

Having the balance wiped is easier said than done. For starters, the Small Business Administration has a forgiveness application available, but it won't begin processing data from the banks until Aug. 10.

That date could be pushed out even further as Congress works through further relief legislation.

"Firms advising these businesses want to provide them with clarity on the forgiveness process," said Erik Asgeirsson, CEO of, the technology arm of the AICPA.

More from Personal Finance:
How deciding who would be eligible for next $1,200 stimulus checks could change
The $600 unemployment boost is likely ending. How you can access cash now  
These are the taxpayers who benefit most from Trump's call for a payroll tax holiday

Though the Treasury and SBA have rolled out guidance on PPP loans this spring in a periodic release of "frequently asked questions," the agencies haven't updated their FAQs in about a month.

Practitioners still have plenty of lingering questions and few ways to proceed.

"We are still waiting for 30 frequently-asked questions – which will be out after the new relief bill," said Adam Markowitz, enrolled agent at Howard L Markowitz, CPA PA, in Leesburg, Florida.

"They want to start forgiveness on Aug. 10th, but they don't want to give us the questions."

Without further clarity from lawmakers on forgiveness and deductibility related to PPP,  tax planning for small business owners remains at a standstill.

"I don't know where this leaves us as tax practitioners," Markowitz said. "We're in the spot of not knowing what to tell clients."


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