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  • Writer's pictureJohn Lim

MF 286 : More on small business loans and grants, and prioritizing sleep

Updated: Jun 16, 2022

In this episode, I continue discussing some of our experiences with small business loans and grants, and why sleep should be your number one priority (even if you can’t right now).

Moving Forward is also available on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher Radio, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and Amazon Music.

More on small loans and grants

Last week, I shared a little of the process that I’ve been going through to help my dad’s retail business by applying to some of the federal and state small business loan programs. This week, I share a little more on the process for the PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) and some of the private grants that are also available. As before, I have to reiterate that this is not intended to be financial, legal or small business advice. I’m simply sharing what my experiences have been and some general tips that may be helpful. If you are considering applying for any of these programs, please review the terms, conditions, and obligations first and consult with your business CPA, attorney or advisor. I also recommend you check out last week’s episode.

  1. Grants vs Loans: before applying, it’s important to understand exactly what you’re applying for. There are now many programs, both federal and state. You will some categorized as grants and others as loans. Know the difference before applying and what the terms and obligations are.

  2. Grants: generally, grants are funds provided by the government to aid businesses. In normal times, grants are used to encourage small business and entrepreneurship with capital. In recent weeks, both the federal and many state governments have opened up grant funds to aid businesses that have been shuttered or hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Grants usually have guidelines for what the grant should be used for (expenses, employee relief, innovation or business pivots). Unlike loans, grants are generally provided without repayment obligations but often have restrictions and guidelines – as always, check the terms and conditions before applying.

  3. Loans: similar to a bank loan, loans by the government are intended to provide immediate relief with a payment schedule and interest to pay back the loan to the government entity. There are now several federal and state loans for COVID-19 relief. Unlike traditional loans, many of these provide loan forgiveness amounts and/or low-interest rate and flexible payment schedules. As such, loans are more formal agreements between the government and the business and have short and long-term obligations. It’s important to check with these and understand them before applying. It’s also advisable to consult with a business CPA and/or attorney to make sure you understand what the obligations are and how you will meet them.

  4. The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP): The PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) is unique in that unlike other programs it is funded by the government but disseminated through banks that have a SBA program. The purpose of this loan is to provide supplemental funds for employee paychecks given that many businesses cannot operate at this time or can only operate under severely reduced conditions. Rather than apply directly through a government website or form, you apply through a bank that is a designated SBA lender. The terms and conditions are detailed and comprehensive so I suggest you read them carefully and consult with your business CPA and/or attorney or advisor.

  5. Private grants: There are also private grants run by foundations and supported through contributions from large corporate sponsors. As these are not official government programs, it is important you vet these and read through the terms and conditions carefully. Again, consult with your business CPA and/or attorney or advisor before applying. One example is the Alice (“Hello Alice”) small business platform which provides grants for small businesses. They now have a COVID-19 specific portal for businesses to apply for grants. As with any grant or loan, please review the terms and conditions and consult with your business CAP and/or attorney or advisor before applying.

  6. Consult with your business CPA and/or attorney: I’m going to sound like a broken record but it is vital that you consult with your business CPA, attorney or advisor. There are lots of programs but not all will be applicable or necessarily a good fit for your business. To understand which programs are the best fit and what the terms and obligations are, I strongly recommend that you speak with your business CPA and/or attorney or advisor before applying. At the very minimum, read and review the terms and obligations carefully before applying to any program. You will need to provide detailed information on your business including but not limited to tax ID (EIN) information, contact, financials within the last quarter or past year (or more) and other accounting-related information.

[Reminder: the tips above are not intended to be specific legal and/or accounting or financial planning advice. If you need specific assistance with any of these or other programs, please consult with an attorney, business CPA or other small business professional.]

Why you should prioritize your sleep (even if you can’t)

Last week, I shared how my sleep pattern has been off kilter. This week, it’s improved and one of the things that’s helped me prioritize it is understanding why sleep is so vital to our physical, mental and even emotional health. I’m currently reading Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker, which covers exactly what the title suggests. It is a thorough and comprehensive work that provides compelling scientific evidence for the importance of a full 8 hours of sleep per 24-hour period. I haven’t finished it yet so this is not a review but unless the last 100 pages or so is completely inconsistent with what I’ve read so far in terms of compelling arguments, writing quality and research-backed arguments, then I think it safe to say this book should be required reading for everyone.

This is also one of the scariest books I’ve read (and this is counting all the Stephen King books I’ve read recently) as it covers in excruciating detail the adverse effects that lack of sleep can have on the body and mind.

So, for your health and peace of mind, make sleep a priority, even if it’s harder now with the stress of current times. Don’t feel guilty, don’t short change it because you’re not doing yourself or others any favors by getting less than you need.

What I’m reading / read

  1. Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow (****): the biography that inspired the hit Broadway musical, Hamilton. The book is a thorough and comprehensive look at the turbulent life and career of Alexander Hamilton. If you’re a history buff or into biographies of intriguing figures then I highly recommend this one. It drags in some places and is very long but overall is an engaging and fascinating look at one of the most interesting and underappreciated figures in American history.

Books by John

  1. Check out my Amazon author profile.

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