Better Business Bureau

MISSOULA - While many businesses in Montana have been forced to close amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Better Business Bureau is doing what they can to help businesses across Montana.

The BBB has launched a new website to break down what business owners need to know during this stressful time. 

Missoula County is one of the counties in Montana that has extended their mandated closures of certain non-essential businesses until April 15. Missoula County has also added tattoo shops, beauty salons and massage businesses to the list of businesses mandated to close during this pandemic.

"Everybody's concerned about keeping their lights on, keeping their open signs flipped if they're able in whatever capacity that means," said Hannah Stiff, BBB Montana state director. "Whether that's offering services online or a drive through option, people just wanna know how to make that happen, so we are trying to address that need first and foremost at the Better Business Bureau."

Some recommendations for businesses on the new BBB website include involving employees and encouraging them to do what is necessary to safeguard their health and the health of the surrounding community. Also make sure to engage with your customers either through social media or email to express transparency. Finally, make sure to stay informed with the latest updates regarding the coronavirus pandemic yourself.

With mandated closures throughout Montana and so many people filing for unemployment that the Montana Department of Labor website crashed for a short period of time, it is best to prepare now rather than later.

"Even if at this very moment in time your business does not need help, if you were to look 3 months, 6 months, 9 months down the road and your funding streams continue to dwindle or dry up completely, if you need help you need to be filing for a loan from from the small business administration today," said Stiff.

The Small Business Administration is offering low interest federal disaster loans that can be used to pay fixed debts, pay roll, accounts payable and any other bill that could have been paid if this pandemic did not happen. There is no cost to apply for these loans and collateral is not required for loans of $25,000 and below.

The BBB is also offering free webinars for business owners as well here.

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