In a time of drastic change not just locally, but around the world, businesses are being asked to look at how they can do things differently.
With many people discovering they have some free time due to closures, there is an opportunity to explore adapting your business model to improve your digital footprint and look at unique ways to become more resilient; but remember you don't have to do it alone. The team at Chatham-Kent Economic Development and the Small Business Centre are here to help businesses to discover opportunities to continue operations through work-from-home and innovative business models.
Since the fall of 2019, the Small Business Centre has been offering enhanced resources to businesses thanks to the Digital Service Squad. Moving forward, the centre is continuing to offer businesses help to explore tools such as:
- Online commerce
- Live streaming
- Pay-wall content
Economic Development is also working with partners such as WEtech Alliance, the OBIAA, and Digital Main Street to provide online training.
“Thursday we ran a session on Search Engine Optimization presented by the Small Business Centre. The session was recorded and will be posted on our website,” said Taylor Hughes, Chatham-Kent Economic Development Officer. “Coming up April 7, 2020 is an online webinar regarding Website Building for Beginners Boot Camp presented by Digital Main Street. WEtech Alliance is also providing teleconference and web-chat services for small businesses to help them scale up their digital presence. ”
Hughes added, “The key for us is to help business owners make the connections they need to resources. Whether it’s through our website where we have the latest information about COVID-19 Business Resources, through online training, or by reminding people they can pick up the phone and call us. We’re here to help.”
The Small Business Centre provides a variety of services including helping you with your business plan, helping you understand your options for online tools, and answering a wide variety of questions to help you plan, start, and grow your business.
“We're here to brainstorm if you just want to run through an idea and get some honest business feedback about the direction you’re thinking about going,” said Matt Reaume, Chatham-Kent Economic Development Officer. “We’ll ask questions and offer a fresh set of eyes, not to break down an idea, but rather to make sure that you’ve looked at it from different angles and so that you can make a solid plan that will work.”
There is no doubt that COVID-19 has stopped many businesses right in the midst of an economic boom and left some scrambling to make sense of what to do next. Knowing this, now is an important time to look at resources that are being made available to help.
Another example is the Canadian-based Shopify who has made available free online Shopify Academy training courses to help businesses build and grow a profitable online retail store. The topics, which are found at https://www.shopify.ca/academy, include starting your online store, promoting it via social media, photography, and more.
“I don’t want to downplay the impact that the global pandemic has had on business, the reality is that it’s making life hard for a lot of people and we see that. What I want to do is reiterate that business owners don’t need to face the challenges alone,” said Jamie Rainbird, Manager of Economic Development. “We won’t be able to solve all of the problems that come our way, but we can certainly talk to business owners about how to help them and work together as a team to try and find solutions.”
For more information about Chatham-Kent Economic Development and the Small Business Centre, please visit them at www.investck.ca or call 519-351-7700.
Chatham-Kent business and community: together we are strong!
Marketing and Communications Officer
Economic Development Services, Community Development
Municipality of Chatham-Kent
124 Thames Street, Chatham, ON N7M 5K8