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  • Work On Your Business When You Can’t Work In Your Business

    Strategies to Help Your Business in the Wake of Social Distancing

    The country recommended people stay in their homes; airlines are grounding flights, the state has implemented shutdowns on schools and entire industries.  Your customers are being told to only leave for necessities; your employees are working from home, and you’re looking around an expanse of open space in what used to be a bustling business.  What do you do when you can no longer function as the business you’ve always been? Use this time to work on your business, not in it. 

    • Update your skillset – Have you always wanted to learn photography to better market your products?  Or maybe you need help organizing your information. Or you’ve always wanted to perfect your bread making.  Maybe you need a refresher in Quickbooks or to learn how to set up and update your website so you don’t have to hire it out. Heck, maybe you’ve wanted to pick back up the guitar.  You’ve got time on your hands, it’s the perfect excuse to learn a new skill
    • Tackle that project you’ve been avoiding.  We all have projects that we have been procrastinating about that we mean to do.  They may seem to be too much time, energy or they will be too disruptive to business. Well, now that you’re out of excuses, it might be the perfect time to do it.  Think of how good you’ll feel when it’s done. And it could be a nice distraction.
      • Update your website
      • Launch an e-commerce site
      • Reorganize your office or store layout
      • Upgrade computer systems
    • Review resources – Check out what resources may be available to you.  Maybe there are grants or opportunities available to you.  We’ve compiled a list of business resources, grants, articles and information for you.  Look it over and see what might work for you. Update the Chamber with your plans and concerns.  Help us know where you’re struggling and what assistance you need. We can advocate for you and your business and point you to resources or just serve as a sounding board. Attend virtual training and networking events offered.
    • Find a Mentor – It’s nice to get the perspective of someone who’s been there.  And while you’ll probably be bereft of finding someone who’s gone through this exactly; you can certainly find someone who has weathered storms before.  
    • How to Find a Mentor
    • Get a Different Perspective  – Look at your company as if it was someone else’s.  What advice would you give them? How does your customer see your business?  What suggestions might they have for you? If you were to start all over; would you do anything differently?  Are there things that you are doing that don’t provide value? Are their things that could be added that would create value?
    • Speak up  – Keep communications with your customers and supporters and other businesses.  
      • Let your customers know how they can support you during this time.  Continue to post to your social media and send out e-newsletters. They want to hear from you.  
      • Communicate with other businesses. Check-in with your peer group.  See what other people are doing, communicate and collaborate. Network and connect through phone, e-mail or online business groups and virtual meet-ups.  Don’t let the isolation bear down on you. It’s nice to reconnect and realize that other businesses are facing the same challenges you are. Use telecommunication resources like Zoom, Facetime, GoogleHangouts  or even just call them on the phone.  
    • Collaborate and Share Resources – Look for collaborations.  Are there ways you can partner with other businesses and pool resources? Could you barter services during this time?  Maybe you have a knack for accounting or a flair for design that another business may be lacking but they could provide you with marketing or technical support.
      • ​Some local businesses that have done this already include:
        • SuperATV - creating their "Clearly Safer Personal Shields" to help protect employees from harmful germs that get passed from in person interactions.
        • Little Golden Fox - making cloth face masks and face mask kits for individuals.
        • Royer Corporation - creating protective face shields for healthcare workers.
    • Get creative – Are there other ways that you can provide value to your customers?  Can you offer services or inventory in a different way? Could you offer online training or sales, virtual updates, delivery options, meetups or classes?   Now is the time to step out and try something different. You’ve got nothing to lose and could potentially have a lot to gain. Some local businesses have also started live streaming inventory sales, be creative and inventive during this time.
    • Support Others  – What will you have wished that you had done with this time looking back?  Are there opportunities that you can support or offer your time to organizing?  Everyone is going to be feeling the effects of this. Reach out to your local nonprofit or check-in with at-risk populations in your community if you have something to offer.  At the very least use your platform to share what others are doing.  
    • Breathe – Things are tough now, but nothing is permanent. Take a step back sometimes.  It can be overwhelming and scary; so much uncertainty. Take some time away from the business.  Connect with family and friends. Reconnect with nature. Meditate. Get some rest. Take care of yourself and your body.  Know that you are doing everything you can and allow that somethings that are outside your control.  

    Most importantly, know that you are not alone; everyone is feeling uncertain.  No one knows what the future holds. Prepare as much as you can so that when it does bounce back; you’ll be ready, stronger than ever. 

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