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Pivoting to Online Sales and Marketing with Joe and Liam

As more and more businesses are allowed to open across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Joe Casabona and Liam Dempsey discuss how businesses have pivoted their business operations to online and ecommerce. As web focused professionals, Joe and Liam share ideas and tips to help businesses get online, and offer a few local examples of businesses which have successfully implemented a change.

Notes:

VIA DAILY LOCAL: Chester County on target to transition to ‘green’ later this month

Ecommerce Solutions

Newsletter Tools

Marketing Reading

Chester County examples

Previous Episode Mentions

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Business Strategy Roadmapping with John Tooher

A business owner and strategy consultant, John Tooher has his finger on the pulse of the business community in greater Philadelphia. John is the owner of HeadRoom, a small business accelerator based in Media and Wayne, Pennsylvania. Over 90 businesses use the HeadRoom office facilities to run and grow their business. John spends most of his time helping companies of all sizes to create strategic roadmaps for their business.

Links

Notes

How is HeadRoom different from other coworking places?

  • Not a coworking space – but a place for folks who want to have an office with a door.
  • HeadRoom encourages an open door policy, but it’s optional, providing a series of offices and conference rooms.
  • In light of COVID-19, people at HeadRoom can self-isolate themselves in their own offices.

What effect is COVID-19 having on small businesses?

  • Certainly there have been some real challenges for retail businesses.
  • It’s been pleasantly surprising how many companies were able to pivot – mostly by focusing their offerings on services that can be safely delivered online.
  • An overall trend towards online, internet-based working has made it possible for business to keep the ball rolling – perhaps not performing at the same high levels, but surviving as a business.
  • Until recently, businesses were generally able to get along, but for many of those businesses to survive, lock-down regulations need to be relaxed in June, with all systems go July 1.
  • John’s own office space business – HeadRoom – has dropped by 50%.
  • Happily, that drop has coincided with a big upswing in the amount of strategy work he’s been doing with clients.

How can a business roadmap help a business survive a COVID-19 economy?

  • A roadmap is very important, especially in the current business environment, as that roadmap provides a “North Star” for the business.
  • “If you have a plan, it’s easier to get somewhere than without one.”
  • The business with the plan has a lot more potential opportunity.

What does a roadmap process look like for a business?

  • “You’ve got to be totally honest with yourself.”
  • The hardest part of strategic roadmapping is figuring out where the business is today. Look at everything.
  • Don’t try to solve the problems – just write them down!
  • Then, decide where the business should be going.
  • Write down where the business is today, and work to explore what’s having the most impact.
  • A situation analysis should be a full day’s work.
  • Write down everything with an impact and rate them – based on the most likely items, and the most impactful.
  • Then write statements that address on these items, with that list of statement of issues and opportunities becomes the strategic objectives.
  • Then, assign dates for actioning the list, allowing for 12-24 months to complete the work.

As lock-downs are relaxed, what advice do you have for businesses as they prepare to reopen?

  • “Have a plan.” Do think about it – don’t just open your doors and hope.
  • Ask important questions about planning and timing: What am I going to do for the first month? What am I going to do for the first three months?
  • Explain the business plan to customers, staff, vendors, etc. to ensure that everyone understands how the business will work to keep everyone safe.
  • LINK: Lisa Van Ess episode

How has HeadRoom prepared to reopen and how has it shared those preparations with customers?

  • HeadRoom has spent a lot of time and effort ensuring that it has sufficient cleaning supplies for its offices.
  • The company has established social distancing and safety guidelines (for example, around when and where masks need to be worn).
  • The infographic that HeadRoom produced and shared with its community has proven very effective.
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Leadership in Human Resources with Lisa Van Ess

Human resources departments have the difficult job of helping employees navigate through a lot of change right now: working from home, changing processes, potential furloughs, and more. Luckily, Lisa Van Ess, Vice President of People & Culture at Magic Hat Consulting is here to help.

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Main Street Preservation Grants with Marian Moskowitz

The Chester Countys Commissioners set up a $5M fund to establish the Main Street Preservation program. This program allows for grants of up to $25,000 for the county’s small businesses and agriculture enterprises impacted by COVID-19. Here to talk about it with us today is Marian Moskowitz, a recently elected Chester County Commissioner, Chair of the Board of Commissioners, and Chair of the Economic Development Council.

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Social Media Marketing with Marty McDonald

With all of Pennsylvania still under stay at home orders, businesses pivoting to online has been crucial to staying in business. Marty McDonald runs a full service Digital Media Agency in West Chester, and has been helping his clients weather the storm with digital marketing services. In this episode, he offers some great advice to businesses looking to grow their online presence.

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How Insurance Can Protect You in a Pandemic with Austin Morris, Jr.

Austin Morris, Jr. is an insurance broker that really knows his stuff! And in this episode, he’s going to run through all sorts of different insurance policies you have or should have, and how they might be able to protect you from some losses during COVID-19. He makes it clear that policies are pretty clear when it comes to viruses, but that doesn’t means there’s nothing you can do. (And no, Austin is not an attorney and is not offering specific advice or counsel.)

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Handling Tech while Working Remotely with Erik Gudmundson

Erik Gudmundson is the VP of Business Development at Pegasus Technologies, a company that provides an IT department to businesses which don’t have their own. As most of the workforce is now at home, Erik provides some great information on how to do that effectively, what to think about, and how to stay safe.

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Getting Economic Assistance with Michael Grigalonis

Businesses all over the country are being impacted by COVID-19 and the stay at home orders issued by most states. Local, State, and Federal governments have tried to mitigate the damage with economic assistance in the form of funding. To learn a bit more about how Chester County business can get economic help, we’re talking to Michael Grigalonis, Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President, Chester County Economic Development Center.

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Start Local: Helping Business in the Greater Philly Area

Start Local is focused on helping businesses in Chester County, PA, and the greater Philly area as they try to navigate through the COVID-19 economy. Our aim is to help you learn where you can get help, to share stories of businesses which have successfully pivoted, and to document the real challenges these local businesses are facing.