Financial Relief for Your Troubled Small Business Clients

A. Thomas DeWoskin

By A. Thomas DeWoskin



It’s no secret that many small businesses are facing financial troubles these days, not only because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but also because of the rapid and unpredictable twists and turns of the current economy. This article will discuss, in two parts, the various ways in which a financially troubled business can seek financial relief, ranging from informal negotiations and state statutory remedies to filing a Chapter 11 reorganization bankruptcy case, so that attorneys can provide general assistance to their small business clients, or refer them to an insolvency attorney if appropriate.

Part I: Negotiations and State Statutory Remedies

Informal Workouts

If a debtor is on good terms with its creditors, especially its primary lenders, it may be able to earn itself out of its financial troubles. The secured creditors, of course, must be treated with full respect for their security interests in the assets of the debtor. Unsecured suppliers of critical goods and services also must be treated with care, as their cooperation may be needed at some point in the future.

It is often useful for a debtor to obtain an appraisal of its assets, both real and personal, from well-respected appraisers experienced in their fields. The appraisal should value the assets at three levels: forced liquidation value, orderly liquidation value, and fair market value. These values will enable the debtor to intelligently discuss the likelihood of collection in different situations.

Another useful action would be to hire a consultant. Sometimes business owners cannot see opportunities for improvement which are right in front of them, simply because they think that the current practice works well. The consultant can help the owner review the company’s operating procedures, cash flow procedures and pricing structure to look for opportunities to increase profitability.

The consultant also could prepare projections of future profitability for the company, based upon the opportunities which are discovered. Armed with the collateral valuations and projections, the owner can show the company’s creditors a plan for solving its problems.[1] That is much more effective than simply asking for more time or engaging in stalling tactics.

Statutory Remedies

1. Assignments for the Benefit of Creditors

Continue reading »

CDC Temporary Halt in Residential Evictions to Prevent the Further Spread of COVID-19

Brian Weinstock

By Brian Weinstock



On March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law.  This law provided different types of relief to Americans and business entities as a result of financial damage caused COVID-19.  The CARES Act prohibits the filing of eviction lawsuits by a landlord against a tenant to recover possession for nonpayment of rent if the dwelling is a “covered property” as that term is defined in the CARES Act.  Covered properties include a covered housing program (as defined in section 41411(a) of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994), the rural housing voucher program under section 542 of the Housing Act of 1949, federally backed mortgage loans and federally backed multifamily mortgage loans.  After the CARES Act was signed into law, this meant landlords who owned residential properties that were not covered by the two Acts mentioned and were not backed by federal mortgages could proceed with filing eviction lawsuits to evict tenants solely for not paying rent, which typically requires the landlord to state under oath through an affidavit or verified petition that the property they own is not a covered property under the CARES Act.

On September 4, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), announced the issuance of a CDC Order under Section 361 of the Public Health Service Act (PHSA) to temporarily halt residential evictions to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.  Continue reading »

COVID-19 Vaccines and the Workforce – Mandatory or Encouraged?

Ruth Binger

By Ruth Binger



Getting back to normal in the next year or so may be impossible without the widespread use of COVID-19 vaccines. Although authorities do not anticipate the vaccines will be widely available until Spring 2021, employers should be considering whether to mandate or merely encourage vaccinations in the workforce.

Currently there is no definitive answer regarding mandatory vaccinations, and your plan will depend on many variables. Because this is the first pandemic in our memory and it is all new to us, consider forming a committee to monitor the status of laws, regulations, and guidance from various agencies.

Your business may be one of the lucky ones that navigated the pandemic without causing a loss of morale or culture, operating safely by working remotely, social distancing, wearing masks, and following CDC requirements. If so, setting aside all other factors, you may simply want to encourage vaccinations for the first few months that they are available, especially given potential concerns about the safety and efficacy of the vaccines and the ever-changing laws. You could do this by training and educating employees as to the efficacy of the vaccine, encouraging participation, and offering the vaccine for free (if not covered by insurance) at the workplace during work hours. Continue reading »

Accumulating Cash and Improving Your Business’ Cash Flow

A. Thomas DeWoskin

By A. Thomas DeWoskin



Part 2 of a 5-part series: Options for Small Business Owners in Financial Distress

turbulenceCash is how your business likely will get through its difficulties. Simply put, obtain as much cash as you can, and spend it sparingly.

In Part 1 of this five-part series on options for small business owners in financial distress, I suggested some ideas about improving the operation of your small business in order to survive different types of disasters. In Part 2, I’ll share some thoughts on improving your cash position and cash flow.

First, look at your business as a source of cash.

  • Account receivables: Contact your customers with outstanding account receivables and encourage them to make payment. Provide discounts for prompt payment and charge interest on past due amounts if you can.
  • Line of credit: If you have unused room on a line of credit, draw on it now while you still can. If things get bad enough, your lender might freeze your line and cut off further draws.
  • Business loan: If you need to approach a lender for a new loan or an increase in an existing one, do your homework. No lender is going to give you money just because you ask for it.
  • Business plan: Prepare a business plan or update your current plan to reflect current conditions. You may need help from your accountant, attorney, consultant or similar outside sources in order to do so. Your plan may include both a “needs” list and a “wants” list.
  • How much? Determine how much money you need to implement your plan whether your business plan is to simply tread water, grow, or pivot in another direction. Break it down so your potential lender understands how it is going to save your business.
  • How to pay it back? Once you have a rough number, consider how you’re going to repay it. Your business’ survival depends in part on its ability to pay its debts. Consider both the amount and duration of the likely payments.
  • Avoid “hard money” lenders: When looking for lenders, be very careful to avoid “hard money” lenders and their draconian interest rates and repayment schedules. These can include factoring companies who purchase your receivables, MCA lenders who say they are “purchasing” your accounts receivable but in reality are lending against them, and other types of lenders with outrageous interest rates and impossible repayment terms.

Continue reading »

$5,000 Grants Available to Restaurants and Small Businesses in St. Louis County

Ruth Binger

By Ruth Binger



covid-19 helpIn response to the tightening of COVID-19 restrictions for restaurants and some other small businesses, St. Louis County Executive Sam Page announced $5,000 grants through the Small Business Rapid Deployment Fund.

Grants can be used for operating expenses or business costs (e.g., rent and payroll) and purchases needed to adapt to COVID-19 restrictions (e.g., heaters and tents) “incurred between April 1 and December 16, 2020 as a direct result of COVID-19.”

According to the fund’s website, restaurants and small businesses must meet the several eligibility requirements including: Continue reading »

Your Small Business: Getting Through the Economic Turbulence

A. Thomas DeWoskin

By A. Thomas DeWoskin



Part 1 of a 5-part series: Options for Small Business Owners in Financial Distress

turbulenceSuppose your small business has been doing fairly well over the last few months in spite of COVID-19 and the many other factors affecting our economy. However, you are worried about the upcoming change of seasons, additional shutdown orders, or other circumstances which might adversely affect it.

Or suppose you expect to do well over the holidays even in the face of (or because of) the pandemic, but dread your normally slow months of January, February, and March.

Or suppose you recently undertook a large project which fell apart and left you owing a ton of money.

Different situations require different responses.

Specific Event

If a specific event led to your problems, but your business is otherwise profitable, you may be able to work out of them.

Equipment Problems

Imagine that your business was doing so well that you bought additional equipment and hired additional employees in order to meet the demand.

Unfortunately, your new equipment didn’t work as promised. Rather than the promised six weeks, the new equipment took a year to get up and running smoothly. In addition to failing to fulfill all of your orders during this time, you paid employees overtime to produce as much as they could despite the distractions caused by the equipment problems. Continue reading »

Options for Small Business Owners in Financial Distress: A 5-Part Series

A. Thomas DeWoskin

By A. Thomas DeWoskin



options for business

Many small business owners are suffering financially due to the effects of COVID-19 and the unpredictable, rapidly changing economy in general. In this five-part series, we will discuss the various options available to small businesses in financial trouble, all the way from working out obligations informally to Chapter 11 reorganization to going out of business.

The series will cover the following issues:

Part 1: Your Small Business: The Economic Turbulence – Analyzing and improving your business operations

Part 2: Accumulating Cash and Improving Your Business’ Cash Flow – Analyzing and improving the business’ flow, as well as obtaining additional financing if necessary

Part 3: Non-bankruptcy solutions

Part 4: Pros and cons of various types of bankruptcy

Part 5: Getting through a bankruptcy case and coming out on the other side

Continue reading »

Updates Made to Three Main Street Loan Facilities from the Federal Reserve

Hannah E. Mudd

By Hannah E. Mudd



The Federal Reserve Board recently adjusted the terms of the Main Street Lending Program (MSLP) in an effort to focus their support on smaller businesses who continue to suffer due to the pandemic. The minimum loan size for the Main Street New Loan Facility (MSNLF), Main Street Priority Loan Facility (MSPLF), and Nonprofit Organization New Loans Facility (NONLF) have been reduced from $250,000 to $100,000. The fees on these three facilities have also been adjusted to encourage business owners to apply for these loans.

New Fee Amounts for the MSNLF, MSPLF, and NONLF

  • Transaction Fees: If the initial principal amount of the Eligible Loan is $250,000 or greater, an Eligible Lender will pay the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) a transaction fee of 100 basis points of the principal amount at the time of origination. Eligible Lenders may require Eligible Borrowers to pay this fee. No fee will be imposed if the initial principal amount is less than $250,000.
  • Origination Fees: If the initial principal amount of the loan is $250,000 or greater, an Eligible Borrower will pay an Eligible Lender an origination fee of up to 100 basis points of the principal amount at the time of origination. If the initial principal amount is less than $250,000, the origination fee will be up to 200 basis points of the principal amount at the time of origination.
  • Servicing Fees: If the initial principal amount of the loan is $250,000 or greater, the SPV will pay Eligible Lenders 25 basis points of the principal amount of its participation in the Eligible Loan per annum. If the initial principal amount is less than $250,000 the SPV will pay 50 basis points of the principal amount of its participation in the loan per annum.

PPP Loan Considerations Continue reading »

What is The Best Franchise Model For You?

Ruth Binger

By Ruth Binger



franchiseToday, approximately 35 percent of franchises are owned solely or co-owned by women and that percentage is steadily increasing. Women’s superior relationship skills shine in service businesses and women gravitate toward more female oriented franchise models such as hair salons, weight loss centers, flower shops, cosmetic companies, etc. Driven by the desire to start a small business in order to create more flexibility and control over their time and to be their own boss, the franchising model is an exciting lure. Caution, however, speed bumps abound. Your entrepreneurial zeal should be tempered with a reality knowledge check which includes due diligence performed by you, number crunching services performed by your accountant and perspective and legal advice provided by your attorney.

What to Expect from Franchise System

Although the franchise model is no guarantee, the model may increase your chance of staying in business. The Small Business Administration, however, has consistently found that franchises have the same success rates as independent small businesses. Businesses fail for many reasons, some of which the franchise model cannot fix.  A good franchisor should eliminate, control, or manage many of the common mistakes a starting small business makes.  At the minimum for the initial investment and recurring costs of royalty and marketing monthly fees, a franchisee should receive brand recognition (trademarks, advertising and promotion), quality control, site selection and opening support, continuing training and operational guidance, stability, and value for the investment.

Continue reading »

Department of Labor’s Updated Regulations for FFCRA

Lauren L. Wood

By Lauren L. Wood



The Department of Labor (DOL) published new guidelines on September 16, 2020 that revise and clarify portions of the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (FFCRA). The new guidelines were issued following a ruling by a New York District Court that declared certain previously issued regulations invalid. These updated regulations relate to the following:

  • The requirement of “work availability,”
  • The requirement of employer approval for FFCRA leave to be intermittent,
  • The definition of “health care provider,” and
  • Requirements for notice and documentation.

The new regulations went into effect at the time they were published and will remain in effect until December 31, 2020 when the FFCRA is set to expire.

Work Availability Requirement

The DOL clarified that the work availability requirement applies to all qualifying reasons to take leave under the FFCRA. Thus, the leave may only be taken if the employer has work for the employee. The qualifying reason must be the actual reason the employee is unable to work, rather than not having work to do regardless of whether the qualifying reason occurs. Previously, the work availability requirement was only explicitly applicable to three of the six possible qualifying reasons for leave.

Intermittent Leave Requires Employer Approval Continue reading »