In late April, the Chamber’s COVID-19 Recovery Period began by focusing on how we can continue to serve our members and prepare to face the challenges and new opportunities ahead. The nature of our work is changing in response to this pandemic and we are reshaping our team’s efforts to directly address your needs.
To focus our time and resources most effectively, we surveyed our members and asked about ways that we could continue assisting them during this difficult time. Below are highlights of what our Members (responding to the survey) told us to help prepare us for their Recovery Period needs.
Question 1 | What is your biggest concern with reopening?
Getting customers back, working safely and keeping the virus from spreading are Members’ top concerns with reopening.
Opportunity | Safety is Success for All of Us
Remember, working safely matters. It all begins with your safety for employees and it carries through to the customer. Customers will do business where they feel safe. Safety keeps the virus from spreading too.
Question 2 | What is your biggest need right now?
Obtaining funding, creating demand for products and services (economy to open back up), and getting trusted guidance (with reliable information) are our Members’ biggest needs right now.
Opportunity | Stay Connected to Us
Remember to utilize the Chamber’s COVID-19 Resources for Business & Employers web page for up-to-date funding information. You can also see what other members are doing for creative entrepreneurism by following our #WeMeanBusiness posts in the Chamber’s social media. This social media campaign focuses on our members doing business now and helps promote them. Be sure to stay connected to the Chamber via the online newsletter, blog, podcast and online video platform as well as weekly eNews (Monday Memo and Thursday Calendar at a Glance) for guidance and information you need to know.
Question 3 | Planning for the Recovery Period begins before the crisis ends. Think about what that process will look like for you. What can we do to support you as you prepare?
Creating awareness of reopening, helping with marketing and networking, communicating up-to-date safety guidelines, and developing guidelines to reopen (practicing workplace readiness essentials) are what our Members need for support as they prepare to move forward.
Opportunity | Promote Your Business with Us
Remember to participate with the Chamber’s #WeMeanBusiness social media campaign once you are open for business so we can help promote how to do business with you. Also visit our Events Calendar often to sign up and participate with the Chamber’s online webinars that help you network and learn while events are rescheduled that were postponed. Visit Chamber News and Member News and follow us on social media to keep informed about guidelines and other information being released to help you prepare and reopen.
Question 4 | What resources could we provide or direct you to right now that would be most helpful to your business?
Members told us the following resources would be most helpful to their business: Sample small business recovery plans; example policies for employees returning back to work; updates on COVID-19 resources for small businesses; best practices of what other businesses are doing to get back to work; help with understanding how to use PPP funds; updated facts around stimulus packages; guidelines for event venues; communicating the phases and what to do for Governor’s reopening plan; help with social media marketing; how to set up Google My Business; and online promotion.
Opportunity | Explore Resources We Discover for You
Remember, we are constantly researching new content and developing ways to deliver it to our members in our communications channels. Explore resources we provide to you to find what you need. In addition to the resource ideas mentioned above, please let us hear from you when you need help, have a question or just need somebody to talk to.
Question 5 | What topics would you like to learn more about for potential webinars, digital content and other content?
Here are topics that Members would like to learn more about:
- Marketing Strategies for Small Business
- Affordable Advertising Opportunities
- Social Media Training: Videos for Advertising, How to Use LinkedIn, Website Development
- eCommerce Training (Rules and Regulations)
- Ideas for Safety and Safety Protocols
- Functioning in Ambiguity
- What’s Working for Other Businesses Like Mine
- How to Update Resumes
- How to Apply for Grants
- How to Improve Technology and Support of My Business
- Stress Management
- How to Protect Staff (Employees) during Reopening
- Sterilization and Sanitation Processes that Work
- How to Social Distance
- Trends in Northwest Arkansas
- Unemployment Benefits for Self-Employed
- FLSA and FMLA as Applied to Current Work
- Environment (Work-from-Home)
- Financial Planning
- Economic Trends in Real Time
Opportunity | Learn Something New with Us
Remember, there is always something new to learn and we are working hard to identify what you need to know, develop content and deliver it to you through our channels. We are also always looking for Member subject matter experts (SMEs) who can partner with us in creating and presenting relevant and necessary topics like those that Members called out in the survey.
Question 6 | How would you like to be engaged with us right now?
Members indicated that they would like to be engaged by the Chamber in ranking order: Regular Email updates (Monday Memo and Thursday Calendar at a Glance eNews and Messages from the President/CEO); Social Media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram); Webinars and Video Conference Calls.
Opportunity | Engage with Us
Remember, engagement is a two-way street. We are fortunate that our Members are very highly engaged with us. Open rates for our eNews weekly emails range on average from 25-30 percent, very high for a chamber of commerce. If you have not opted-in to receive our emails, please do it now so we can keep in touch with you quickly as things change fast. Let us help you promote your business in our social media channels so we can help you reach more people with our sizeable audience. Sign up and participate with our featured webinars. And if you need a face-to-face meeting via video conference calls, we can do that.
Question 7 | Have you applied for or are you utilizing any stimulus packages available?
Members responding to this survey question (160 responses) indicated that 51 percent have applied for federal programs; 44 percent did not apply or did not qualify; 39 percent of those that applied for funding disclosed it was for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP); 11 percent of those that applied for funding disclosed that it was for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL).
Opportunity | Know Your Options & Requirements
Remember, we have a web resource page devoted to keeping you updated on stimulus packages. However, if you need help and would like to talk to one of our staff members with expertise, call us. If you have questions, we’ll help you find answers if we don’t know them. That’s important in knowing your options and understanding requirements for receiving and spending funds.