Proof is a resource center, incubator, and accelerator program for Chattanooga's food and beverage community focused on growing, supporting, and diversifying our local scene. We hope to serve you in both the short and long term as we all adjust with creativity and innovation amidst uncertainty.
Dear Food & Beverage Colleagues, With each passing day, we are getting more details on the timeline recommendations, actual numbers on the economic fallout, and data on the true scope and impact of this evolving public health crisis on our nation and our industry. Whether you’ve been on high alert since January or early March, there’s now no question that all of us are confronting a severe disruption to our existing business models. Unfortunately what we all hoped would be a weeks-long shut down is extending and becoming more challenging as the weeks turn into months. With little end to the uncertainty insight, it is important as owners and industry leaders that we shift our energy and focus to developing strategic long term plans for our companies. What does this mean? We’ve all reacted and adjusted in different ways. Some of you have pivoted to provide provisions to-go, while others have made the tough decision to close your doors for now. To best prepare for what lies ahead, we are encouraging all of you to consider how best to protect your business and plan for your reopening when the time comes. As some of you know, we’re industry veterans who have taught a Consumer Goods Accelerator program through our partner Co.Lab for the last two years. When we decided to expand the program into Proof this past fall we had no idea how the needs of our community would evolve. Our team is working hard to sift through the relevant information and provide you with the best tools available which you'll see at the end of this newsletter. That said, we aren't lawyers, doctors, or accountants so you know...take this with a grain of salt. All the best from our crew to yours, Michael Robinson, Mia Littlejohn, Toby Darling, and Kaleena Goldsworthy
Here are some things to think about right now: 1. Stop the busy work, endless scrolling, and secure capital immediately...ASAP! Pull an all nighter if you have to...just get it done!
Complete the SBA disaster relief loan application ASAP. Use this guide to find out what information and documents you’ll need to gather before you sit down to do the application. Once you have the necessary documents gathered, the application only takes about 30 minutes to complete.
We strongly recommend you request the up to $10K* cash advance (*amount based on the number of employees you have) as it is our understanding this will convert to a forgivable loan and is the fastest way to infuse your bank account with some resources. These funds are limited and will likely run out. Fill out the application here.
Ask your bank for an immediate Line of Credit or expansion of a line of credit. (To see what your bank is doing / offering during this pandemic, please visit this site).
Stay up to date with the City of Chattanooga’s COVID-19 Small Business Stabilization Fund (The target date to open applications is April 14th. In the meantime, you can request more information and express interest here).
Share the funds and resources available for your team of current or former employees. We rounded them up in a blogpost under RESOURCES on our website (proofincubator.com) here.
This is a great step-by-step guide for small businesses navigating the financial tools available from the law firm of Autumn Witt Boyd HERE.
Here is a helpful list of some of the documents you should prepare if you are seeking funding from any sources, especially the stimulus package.
2. Reduce overhead and reserve cash-on-hand.
Furlough any remaining staff that is non-essential, unemployment is now $600 a month providing an actual livable wage. https://www.tn.gov/workforce/unemployment/apply-for-benefits.html
Apply for unemployment yourself. Sole-proprietorship and self-employed owners will qualify to apply as of April 10th.
Coordinate with your landlord or mortgage lender to defer payments and reserve your cash. Here’s a helpful article about what to consider and review as you prepare for this conversation. And another one about how to talk to your landlord. The James Beard Foundation is hosting a free webinar specifically about options for restaurants seeking rent abatement on Monday. Register HERE.
Suspend all monthly recurring expenses including but not limited to linen services, trash, POS, pest control, music subscriptions etc.
Prioritize your vendors: negotiate credit terms or payment plans with large vendors and prioritize small vendors that need cash to stay afloat.