As the deadline of December 31 for stimulus benefits and small businesses draws closer, the Small Business Administration (SBA) has released more clarifying information. Economic Injury and Disaster Loan (EIDL) applications and Targeted Advance applications still have to be in by December 31, but the SBA will continue to review applications after the deadline, until the funds are exhausted. In contrast, the Supplemental Targeted Advance applications will not continue to be processed after the December 31 deadline, for "legal reasons." The SBA is "strongly suggesting" business owners get these applications in by December 10. If you already have an EIDL loan and are looking for an increase, you may request one up to two years after the original loan date. However, I recommend applying sooner rather than later since this incentive will end once funds are exhausted. If you would like your application to be reconsidered or want to file an appeal it you were denied, do so before December 31 or no later than six months after being declined and no later than 30 days after a reconsideration decision for appeals. Before going through either of these processes, make sure funding has not run out.

As the stimulus benefits are dwindling, I encourage small-business owners and entrepreneurs to stay tuned for what other opportunities may be lingering. For example, in the infrastructure bill that was just passed. Not only will construction companies and others directly involved in that sector benefit from increased jobs and contracts, but other sectors will benefit as well. Think about all the dominoes. Staffing agencies will be called on more to provide skilled workers, more food trucks will be needed on job sites, IT consultants will be needed to be brought in, etc. Where does your business fit in? How can your business pivot to take advantage of this opportunity if there is not a clear path to do so? Could your business use some upgrades? Energy efficiency upgrades will also be funded along with manufacturing modernization. Considering the current hiring crisis, the new bill has also allocated funds to grants that small businesses can access for workforce training.

If you are concerned about how your business is going to handle an increase in demand, don't forget the other benefits the SBA has to offer. With the SBA 7(a) program, you can get working capital and equipment loans up to $5 million. Better yet, you can get a loan for under $350,000 and not have to put a lien on your primary residence. SBA 7(a) loans are also a great tool you can utilize to hire more workers, without taking a substantial chunk out of your cash flow.

Even since the beginning of the pandemic, small-business owners have become increasingly tuned in to the SBA and other government programs. My hope is that this will continue to be the case even though benefits are ending. The SBA has so many other resources, programs, grants, and opportunities for small-business owners that are just waiting to be taken advantage of.