Business Retention and Expansion: Thriving Through COVID-19 and Beyond

Aug 2, 2020 | News, Newsletter

Erik Collins
Montgomery County, Ohio

 

 

COVID-19 has spawned concern for the health of communities and anxiety for the future of local businesses. Amidst the uncertainty, area organizations look to economic development leaders.

Here are five ways we’ve learned to activate commitment to the business community in these trying times:

  1. Keep a Pulse on Your Companies
    Proactively sparking conversation with businesses in your community showcases your dedication to keeping them in business. 

    During COVID-19, our five-county initiative BusinessFirst! reached out to local businesses rather than waiting for them to call us. Our team connected them with 100+ community resource partners in our professional network.

  1. Understand the Difference Between Surviving and Thriving
    Most company leaders have everyday concerns keeping them awake at night. Insert a global pandemic into the mix, and new challenges emerge. 

    When speaking with local business leaders on how you can offer support, help them determine how to shift operations through active listening. Don’t miss the chance to pinpoint system gaps magnified by the crisis and connect them to resources that will make old processes flow differently, or be replaced by new offerings.

  1. Minimize Information Overload
    Throughout COVID-19, most brands have shared their stance on the pandemic. These messages have filled our inboxes, leaving no room for content we actually need

    Montgomery County Economic Development searched for opportunities to share information without overwhelming local businesses. By combining our communications throughout COVID-19, we have ensured companies receive necessary resources from one location so they efficiently keep doing business.

  1. Personalize Virtual Opportunities
    Zoom, Skype, and Google Meetings are thriving during the pandemic because they provide a sense of connection from any location. Our team has used these channels along with other personalized tools. 

    Personalizing virtual meetings makes a world of difference to businesses. From phone calls, tailored informational emails and online business forums, efforts in Centerville touched approximately 100 companies. We made regular updates to the community website and social media, with answers to frequently asked questions as well as local restaurants open for carryout.

  1. Celebrate Local Achievements
    “Recognize all major stakeholders including the business, resource partners that support your BR&E program and frontline Economic Development Professionals.”
    –  Laith Wardi, ExecutivePulse

Local governments and businesses have been on the job to support our neighbors, including:

  • The REOPEN Downtown Dayton Grant —a collaborative effort between Reopen Dayton, CareSource Foundation, Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Dayton Partnership—provided $700,000 in immediate relief for locally owned restaurants, retailers and other personal service businesses.
  • The City of Kettering granted three-year, zero interest micro-loans for retail and service businesses with 25 employees or less.
  • The City of Springboro and Springboro Chamber of Commerce organized an emergency stimulus program, sharing up to $5,000 in gift card purchases for locally-owned businesses.

COVID-19 has brought our community together in ways we couldn’t fathom six months ago—even after 2019’s tornadoes. Looking ahead, let’s remain realistic and remember where we can add value to local business partners. Connection, collaboration and innovation build a strong bridge to the future.

Capitalizing on rural corporate site location opportunities

Rural communities are prime targets for companies considering a corporate site location project. Rural areas in the U.S. cover 97 % of the nation’s land area but contain 19.3 % of the population who are more likely to own a single family home, are older and less likely to hold a bachelor’s degree or be in poverty than their urban counters.

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AEP Names Wells Vice President, Sales, Economic and Business Development

American Electric Power (Nasdaq: AEP) has promoted Timothy J. Wells to vice president, Sales, Economic and Business Development, effective Nov. 2, 2020. Wells replaces Mark James who retired last month.

Wells, 55, will lead AEP’s efforts to attract new commercial and industrial customers to its service territory and help existing customers take advantage of AEP’s growing menu of business consultation services. AEP has unique expertise in the energy field and has become a trusted energy advisor to many of its larger customers. Wells will be responsible for leading growth in services that fall outside of the distribution and transmission of electricity, in addition to helping communities bring new jobs to their local economies.

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