Since COVID-19 became an international pandemic, people all over the world are left to figure out how to keep moving forward. For many, business has come to a dramatic halt. But several business owners are coming up with their own ways to help other businesses.
Rayzist Photomask, Headquartered in Vista, California, sent a letter to customers via email. According to Rayzist owner, Randy Willis, the company will be offering a virtual trade show on Tuesday, March 24th at 10 a.m. (PST) to provide training to customers and prospects all over the world. The idea for this initiative sprung from the cancellations of trade shows and events. The company’s goal is to answer questions, go through demonstrations on equipment and the sandcarving process that they would normally offer at show. It will also cover producing photoresist stencils, application, and painting techniques.
“Our customers are the heart of our company,” writes Willis. “I am personally praying for each of our customer’s families and businesses to strive through this current situation in our country.”
On the eastern side of the U.S., owner Amanda VanPelt of Saratoga Custom Engraving, based in Saratoga Springs, New York, came up with an idea to support friends and businesses in her community.
“We have a tight-knit community around here – businesses are constantly supporting each other, so I thought it was a good opportunity to come up with some sort of way we can work together,” VanPelt explains. “The initial idea is to work together to create a fun design or just simply use your logo on a product(s) of your choosing, promote and sell the items to your customer base to raise money.”
On March 17th, VanPelt posted a call-out on social media for businesses, such as restaurants, hair salons, musicians, tattoo shops, and anyone else who is impacted by the shutdown. Her company will work with others to create fundraising and promotional-style products that end users can purchase.
“At this point, I am trying to gage interest while I work out the logistics,” VanPelt states. She urges businesses to email firstname.lastname@example.org or send her a message on Facebook or Instagram. The profits from the fundraising will be shared between VanPelt and the business she works with on a specific project, according to VanPelt.
In the Midwest, Cedar Falls Laser Engraving has dedicated a section of its site, dubbed #CedarValleyStrong, to support other businesses local to Cedar Falls, Iowa. Heath Wilken, owner of Cedar Falls Laser Engraving, says he wants to combat the decline in visitors to local businesses by promoting ordering food to go, shopping online, and purchasing gift cards for use at a later date.
Wilken states, “Cash flow is the lifeblood of our local businesses. #CedarValleyStrong is a movement to buy gift cards and/or online items that can either be picked up or delivered now in the Cedar Valley area.”
Wilken’s website features FAQs about the campaign as well as a directory split into sections, such as food, beverage, retail, professional services, and more, complete with links and specifications on how the business is currently operating.
In addition, A&E columnist Aaron Montgomery says he is working to provide extra support for businesses during this time. Montgomery and his business partner Todd Downing have launched a new Q&A series, which will serve to answer questions sent in by business owners during this time, updated daily on Our Success Group’s website. Crews and Montgomery will do their best to answer questions from shop owners about ideas to make up lost revenue, ways to keep shop doors open, and avenues to help other small-business owners. They will also discuss resources that small businesses can utilize.
Other resources include Montgomery’s most recent webinar in the Weekly Small Business Saturdays series, which focused on thriving in problematic times, as well as the Business Basics Facebook Group, where many small businesses are sharing and helping.
“We’re seeing some people get creative,” remarks Montgomery. “With coming together in the community, the theme is, let’s figure out how to get past all the commiserating and feelings of hopelessness and realize that we can do this. We will make it through this, and we will probably be stronger and more successful.”
Editor’s note: This is an ongoing story. If you or your business are taking part in the cause to help others, please contact us here.