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  • Writer's pictureMark Harai

7.5 million Americans lost their extended unemployment benefits in September. The question remains, how will this impact the labor shortage plaguing the majority of small businesses? Fortunately, we don't have to wait to find out. Twenty-two states have ended their employment benefits early, and the numbers are in.

Let's start with the bad news, in these twenty-two states, consumer spending dropped. This is bad for local businesses and couldn't come at a worse time. A new research paper from Harvard University found that these twenty-two states experienced an average of 20% decrease in week-over-week consumer spending, compared to states that kept benefits in place.

Eliminated Benefits will mean millions of Americans will finally be available to work. Right?

You wouldn't be alone in this thought process. Although, the data from this study shows that only 4.4% more workers in those early-out states gained employment compared to their colleagues in states that kept benefits in place. For every eight workers that lost benefits in the early out states, only one went on to gain employment.

What does this mean for my business?

Well, for starters, it means weathering the storm a little longer. Even though 7.5 million Americans lose a significant portion of income, we shouldn't expect a flood of applicants after September 6th. Potential employees re-entering the workforce are demanding more than ever before, and small businesses often find themselves unable to keep up.

It also means being prepared to weather a potential decrease in income due to consumer spending declines (approximately 20%).

What can be done?

Fortunately, Congress has released and/or renewed many programs to offset the catastrophic effects Covid-19 is having on small businesses.

All employers qualify for up to $26,000 per employee of emergency relief even if their business took advantage of the PPP program or other emergency relief programs.

In partnership with Mark Harai, Growth Management Group has developed software to help businesses find out precisely what emergency relief they qualify for and quickly get the money into their hands, helping businesses all across America.

Get the help your business needs!

Up to $5,000 for Every Employee You had 2017-2020

Up to $21,000 for Every Employee You have in 2021

Up to $2,400 for Every Employee You hire

Up to $150,000 for Every Commercial Building You Own

See What Your Business Qualifies For Now

Four million people woke up last month and decided it would be their last day of work. If you're like most small business owners I talk to, you've had almost zero of those respond to your hiring efforts.

Where did they all go after they quit?

This question is puzzling for most of my colleagues because the answer is: Nowhere. Historically people quit their job when they get a better offer or when life circumstances change when they move when something big happens. People are largely burnt out and don't know what they want to do next. The one thing they're sure of is, they don't want to do what they've been doing. And the morning, they wake up and realize that they can't get out quickly enough. There's no pay raise, promotion, or schedule change that's saving them because they've been gone for a long time. The pandemic has shifted the way we look at everything. While large organizations squabble over their remote work arrangements and figure out how to "get productivity back," they fail to realize their employees have slowly disconnected from the vision, the purpose and lost all desire to sit through another zoom meeting.

What is it they're looking for?

Another tricky question because I don't think they know. Every month millions are quitting their jobs, but the labor force number continues to show negative growth. Many Americans can afford to take a break, and they are.

How do I get them to work for me?

I said I don't think they know. But I think deep down you know what they want. You just have to take a moment to remember it. Think about the first team you ever had. Likely you worked them too many hours for too little pay, and yet they soldiered for you like few you've ever seen before or since. Why is that? How did you run your business differently than you do today? These are deep questions you need to take time to ask yourself, but the good news is, once you figure it out, you can light a fire that will be nothing short of contagious.

Why small businesses are winning the race?

Small business owners have spent much of the last decade trying to compete with large companies. Bean bag work environments, stand-up meetings, all-you-can-eat cereal bars, company outings (admit it, you've tried a few of these). Because we've seen all the big companies steal away great talent, and this seemed like the obvious reasons. Copying may have worked a few years ago, but now that people are mass leaving large companies, it's time for small businesses to remember what makes us different. A vision, and passion, that people can connect with locally. Something they can be a part of. A place where they can see actual improvement take place before their eyes. They can see growth, not just on a chart in a zoom call, but because they see foot traffic increase and shipments going out. They want to be a part of something that matters. And what could matter more than the small business that's bringing normality back to their home town! If you haven't figured it out yet … your next employee isn't looking at your job page. They are one of your customers. You need to impress every one of your customers so much that it occurs to them that they might want to work for you. You (and your team) need to share the vision of what you're doing as an organization, where you are going, what your dreams are so that your CUSTOMER makes the connection and says: I want to be the person who does that.

How do I pay for my new staff?

One of the only positive things to come out of the pandemic is a flood of new cash flow incentives for small and mid-sized businesses. Most companies don't know where to start, maybe you took advantage of the PPP program, but you wouldn't know where to look beyond that. Using software that helps find all of these programs to stay focused on growing your business is key.

Get cash flow for all the employees that have worked for you in the past, the ones that work for you today, and the ones that will join your team soon.

Get the help your business needs!

Up to $5,000 for Every Employee You had 2017-2020

Up to $21,000 for Every Employee You have in 2021

Up to $2,400 for Every Employee You hire

Up to $150,000 for Every Commercial Building You Own

See What Your Business Qualifies For Now

Through new laws passed by Congress and the quick action on the part of Mark Harai, a local business owner, thousands of businesses in Colorado are about to get the lifeline they need to come out the other side of the pandemic intact.

The Federal Government has been encouraging businesses to take advantage of one of the largest tax credits created by passing new law; the Employee Retention Tax Credit.

This credit technically already existed for declared disaster areas throughout the U.S. In March 2020, the CARES Act assimilated the ERC into its relief package specifically for COVID. The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), signed in March of this year, expanded the credit further. To date, over 30,000 businesses have claimed more than $1 billion in ERC. Still, the administration wants to increase awareness of the program and said the Treasury Department would release further guidance about the ERC this week. What do you need to know?

For 2020 the ERC provides a refundable tax credit of 50% of up to $10,000 in qualified wages paid per employee for the year. That means eligible businesses can claim up to $5,000 per employee for last year. Previous to ARPA, if you took a Paycheck Protection Plan (PPP) loan, you could not receive ERC. That is no longer the case. You can now take both. You have to be careful how you determine what wages you will allocate to each.

ARPA expanded the ERC, making almost every employer eligible. It also extended ERC through the end of 2021 and increased the credit dramatically. For 2021, the ERC provides a refundable tax credit up to 70% of up to $10,000 in qualified wages paid per employee per quarter. This brings the total annual amount of the credit to $28,000 per employee for 2021. That is more than five times the credit!

How do you get the money?

The tax credit initially is applied against employment taxes for the business, offsetting most if not all liability in employment tax. What happens if your credit is more than you owe in employment taxes? The IRS sends you a check back for the difference! You can even apply for an advance on the ERC. Are you eligible?

Eligibility for 2020 and 2021 is different. For 2020, businesses must have either experienced a full or partial shutdown of operations during the year because of COVID OR had a 50% or more decline in gross receipts in any quarter. You do not have to have experienced both of these qualifications but rather one or the other to qualify.

For 2021, businesses must have either experienced a full or partial shutdown or a more than 20% decline in gross receipts in any quarter.

The devil is in the details… What does full or partial shutdown mean? How many quarters do I need to have seen a decline? What if I was only shut down for a few days or hours were cut? Does that qualify? What if I took PPP in 2020 or 2021? What if I have over 500 employees?

“It’s very complicated, even though it’s very favorable,” said Mark Steber, chief tax officer at Jackson Hewitt Tax Services. “Do not wade into this program without some competent help.”

Mark Harai has been appointed the local ERC Expediter for Colorado. They work along with Growth Management Group, which has been working for clients to claim tax credits for over 19 years. As experts in the Employee Retention Tax Credit, they help you determine the best way to compile your credit along with PPP loans or other incentives your company may have received or be eligible for.

Below is a quick online tool they have developed to determine your eligibility and track your credits throughout the year. You can check now by using the calculator button below. You can also reach Mark Harai directly via email at

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