Exploring Your Options: Where To Find Crucial Information
Today I send this message as a bit of a Captain Obvious.
As complex as this challenge is, at the highest level it’s about two things: Taking care of yourself and taking care of your business. While the devil is (always) in the details, the simple facts remain.
First, I lead with the hopes that you are all healthy and practicing all the appropriate protocol to stay healthy (and, in so doing, keeping others healthy too!). There are some encouraging signs that suggest the social distancing strategy is working; now is not the time to relax if we want to put this behind us as soon as possible.
Second, the Chamber team also cares about your business’s health. And, I want to be sure you are fully aware of all the opportunities that are available for help. I have heard from many businesses that are simply unaware of the programs that are out there; I have been hearing from many businesses that remain confused about what programs apply to them; and I have heard from many businesses that simply can’t keep up with the evolving opportunities due to their need to stay laser focused on their business.
So I want to make this really simple for everyone and encourage you to follow these TWO STEPS:
- Review our website (www.lancasterchamber.com) for the latest updates on any and all of the programming, regulations and opportunities. We update the site on a very regular basis and denote those updates to ensure you are kept current. I promise you that if you take 15 MINUTES to review our site, you will have a much better idea of what programs are out there and what programs apply to your business. And, rest assured, the offerings, regulations and opportunities are changing on a regular basis, so please visit the site regularly (i.e., Did you know there are now new protocols for cleaning buildings in excess of 50,000 square feet, effective yesterday?....these types of guidelines and programs are continuously changing to keep up with best practices and government response); and,
- Talk with your Accountant and/or Banker. We are extremely fortunate in Lancaster County to have tremendous accountants and bankers, and they have been doing a great job at staying abreast of the myriad of programs/opportunities for business. Please do not ignore this resource as a key piece in evaluating your options.
That’s it. Two steps to secure the information you need and chart your course for business continuity.
Rest assured, the Chamber Team is here to help you, as well. So please feel free to continue to send any and all questions to Heather Valudes, Community Impact Director, at email@example.com. In addition, SCORE, ASSETS and the Small Business Development Center are also equipped to help with your questions.
And, in addition to answering your questions, please know the Chamber continues to offer relevant webinars (all of which are recorded and housed on our website, under section 3); provide value-added products designed to save you money; and advocate on behalf of the private sector as local, state and federal governments explore options to help.
To that end, as part of our commitment to stay informed and hear first hand what’s impacting you, we will be offering “Office Hours with the Chamber” every Thursday afternoon from 3:30-4:30pm. This is a first-come, first-serve opportunity for businesses to join myself, Heather Valudes (Community Impact Director) and Tom Wallace (Business Development Director) to hear what is impacting you the most and to share the latest updates from the Chamber. You can register by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
So, again, let me be Captain Obvious: First, we hope your physical health is a priority; and, Second, we want to do all we can to help ensure your business health. It’s what we are here for.
Finally, during these very challenging times, we also want to provide you with inspiration.
While we all struggle to come-to-grips with our new (and hopefully, short-term) normal, there is no mistaking the disruption that COVID-19 is causing in our personal and professional lives. And, for many, that disruption is distressing.
Yet, and what should be of no surprise to those that know Lancaster County, there are signs of hope, caring and generosity all over the place that can leave us inspired.
-There are companies like Electron Energy Corporation, Dentech, Stauffer’s Compressor and Machine, Scarlet Runner Caterer, Strasburg Rail Road, Shumaker PTD, the Commons Company and MANY others that have risen to the occasion by redeploying staff and/or resources to address critical needs in our community, from personal protective equipment (PPE) to food scarcity and everything in between;
-There are emergent fundraising initiatives like EnCourage Lancaster to help support small businesses in our City; Lancaster Cares for the delivery of critical human service needs to those impacted the most; Lanc.Care promoting the sale of gift certificates at local restaurants and shops; Lancaster Masks a start-up initiative coordinating the sewing of masks for our Lancastrians in need; and Operation Emerald for critically-needed PPE needs for our first responders; and,
-There’s innovation in generosity such as a local Girl Scout Troop that sold more than 600 boxes of cookies, all of which were donated to our front-line medical workers; or the win-win initiative by Domestic Violence Services of Lancaster County wherein people are asked to donate money to cover the cost of a meal for their residents which, in turn, was spent at a local restaurant; or the free meditations offered daily by Work Wisdom to help people kick-start their day.
We as a community are facing this challenge head on. Although we are still in the middle of the hardship, Lancaster is showing it's true colors--of collaboration, of persistence, of authenticity, and of innovation. While we continue forging ahead, let's remember that we're in this together--and together we will come out on the other side.
Meanwhile, stay healthy, stay focused & THINK LOCAL!
Tom Baldrige, President & CEO of the Lancaster Chamber