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Free Help for Small Businesses During the Coronavirus Outbreak

Small businesses can use all the financial help they can get right now.

The COVID-19 outbreak has thrust America into what many economists believe will eventually be officially labeled a recession — and a particularly sharp one at that. Washington, D.C., has responded with several rounds of stimulus, including hundreds of billions of dollars earmarked for small businesses to keep them afloat until the economy stabilizes.

Every dollar from the CARES Act and other governmental rescue plans will help, but small business’s needs are many, extending far past straight-up money.

Corporate America has stepped up to fill some of those needs.

Here, we’ll look at myriad types of free help that small businesses can apply or sign up for—from additional funding to free tools and educational resources.

Straight-Up Cash

We recently highlighted the Small Business Relief Initiative. This program, created by GoFundMe, TurboTax maker Intuit and review site Yelp, not only helps small businesses seek crowdsourced funding, but its Small Business Relief Fund provides grants to small businesses.

It’s not the only such program out there.

The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), through the Verizon Small Business Recovery Fund, is offering grants to small businesses needing help until they’re able to return to normal operations. As part of this effort, Verizon will make a $7.5 million investment, which includes supporting businesses through its weekly streaming series #PayItForwardLIVE. Verizon will commit $10 per use of the #PayItForwardLIVE hashtag, up to $2.5 million. Businesses can read more about the initiative, as well as register for the next round of grants (opening May 14), at LISC’s website.

Facebook, through its Small Business Grants Program, is offering up to $100 million in cash grants and ad credits to businesses in several countries, including the U.S. Click the link above to learn more about the program, as well as to see if businesses in your area are eligible, and to apply.

And while Google isn’t offering cash, it is providing $340 million in free credits for Google Ads. Google is opening up this assistance to small and midsize businesses.

Free Tools and Educational Resources

A host of companies are helping in a variety of ways, from offering extended free trials to opening up free use of pro-level tools to unlocking a number of their paid resources.

Here’s a look at some of the most enticing deals:

  • Adobe (Free videoconferencing): Adobe is offering free access to Adobe Connect until July 1, 2020. Adobe Connect is a video-based productivity suite that allows companies and other organizations to web conference, deliver presentations, share desktops and perform remote training. Individuals and businesses can use Adobe Connect rooms with up to 25 participants.
  • Atlassian (Free cloud tools): Atlassian is offering up a number of its web tools for free, including its project- and issue-tracking Jira Software, document collaboration tool Confluence and Git code management software Bitbucket.
  • Cisco (Free videoconferencing): Cisco has opened up free 90-day licenses to its video and team collaboration tool Webex to current non-customers. It also has expanded the capabilities on its free version to include unlimited time usage, support for up to 100 participants and toll dial-in.
  • Hootsuite (Free social tools): Hootsuite is providing individuals in affected industries (such as restaurants and hotels) with free access to its professional-level social media management software through July 1, 2020. The offer also includes access to the company’s library of training videos.
  • Igloo (Free workplace tools): Igloo is allowing businesses to use its platform – which includes tools such as file sharing and calendars – for free through July 6, 2020.
  • Kabbage (Free gift certificate support): Business loans company Kabbage is allowing businesses free registration for Kabbage Payments, where they can get a URL to send to consumers that will allow them to buy gift certificates of between $15 and $500. Note that while Kabbage is not charging customers, the company’s partners do take a 2.5% processing charge per certificate.
  • LinkedIn (Free online educational resources): LinkedIn is providing free access to more than 14 hours of free learning content related to remote work.
  • Mailchimp (Free email services): Email marketing company Mailchimp is offering $10 million worth of free services to existing customers. It’s also providing three months of free Standard service to nonprofits and public services organizations (PSOs).
  • Moz (Free SEO courses): SEO software provider Moz is now allowing people to take its Moz Academy courses for free through May 31. These courses include lessons on topics including SEO fundamentals, page optimization, backlink audit & removal and SEO reporting.
  • SAP (Free sourcing services): SAP has opened up its Ariba Discovery sourcing software to businesses through June 30. Through Ariba Discovery, buyers can connect with 4 million suppliers in more than 190 countries. Buyers and sellers alike can sign up for this free opportunity.
  • Shopify (Free e-commerce): E-commerce company Shopify, which helps companies build online stores, is offering an extended 90-day free trial to new customers, as well as allowing customers on 14-day free trials to extend through a full 90 days.
  • WeTransfer (Free presentation tools): WeTransfer is allowing users to try out Paste Pro – a high-end version of its presentation decks-building software — for free for three months.
  • Zoho Remotely (Free communication/collaboration tools): Zoho is offering free access to its Remotely communication and collaboration apps, including its Cliq instant messaging platform, Meeting video conferencing tool, Sprints agile project management software and ShowTime engagement tool, among others.

All the Help You Can Use

Chances are, you can use every dime you can scrape up, and every free tool you can get your hands on to keep your business running as smoothly as possible until things return to something resembling normal. McManamon & Co., which serves small and midsized businesses, delivers numerous offerings — including tax help, accounting services and consulting — to help you come out OK on the other side.

Don’t waste another minute. Give us a call at 440.892.9088 or contact us online today.

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