As we go through these unprecedented and rapidly changing times that are going to have a profound effect on all of us, St. Catharines Economic Development wanst to assure you that they are committed to navigating the path forward as a supportive community.
To support the business community they are currently implementing the following initiatives:
- Monitoring the situation and keeping you informed of any and all changes to the industry;
- Observing and adjusting the marketing message in response to the changing situation;
- Sustaining an active presence on social and digital platforms to share information with consumers about your state of business;
- Collaborating with industry partners to design a strategy and ensure alignment of efforts; and
- Continuing to provide exceptional service to ensure ongoing customer experience
Here are some helpful resources:
- World Health Organization’ Getting your workplace ready for COVID-19 document
- Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce offers a business guide to coping with COVID-19
- Ontario Chamber of Commerce
- Canadian Chamber of Commerce has useful information about preparing for a pandemic
- BDC has a comprehensive guide for business continuity
- Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters
- Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses for keeping you and your employees safe
How businesses can cope with COVID-19
With public health officials warning people to avoid large crowds to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus and COVID-19 businesses can expect to face some challenges as we work our way through this evolving situation.
Here is some advice from the St. Catharines Enterprise Centre that businesses can use to help adapt to this challenging situation.
- Look after your employees
They are your biggest asset so it makes sense to support them in any way that you can and help them to navigate applications for employment insurance claims if required.
- Review your health and safety protocols
Enhance already careful sanitizing and cleaning measures and increase frequency. Instruct staff to stay home if they have even minor symptoms (cough, fever, sore throat, or generally feeling unwell).
- Communicate with your customers
Step up your communications with your customers. Keep them informed of any operational changes that you make, remind them of your hours of operation, and offer to help them. Be a trusted and helpful resource for your customers.
- Check your financials
Have conversations with landlords, creditors, suppliers and others about what options are available.
What adjustments can you make to adapt your services to the needs of your customers? Can you offer online shopping? Is free delivery or in-store / curbside pickup an option? Can you meet online instead of in person? Small changes can make a big difference and help keep your business going.Gift cards are a great way for you to keep generating revenue now when volume is down and gives the customer something to use when regular business practises resume.
- Watch your marketing
While it’s important to adapt marketing campaigns to this ever-evolving situation, avoid unreasonable and unsustainable offers to attract immediate sales and customers for a short-term gain. It is still important to focus on the future and stay the course.Participate in shop local and shop small campaigns such as #ShopSTC. Make an effort to support other small businesses. Can you make purchases from your neighbouring businesses? Can you offer sensible joint promotions?
- Revisit your business plan
Use downtime to make your business better. Take a look at the things you’ve been putting off, such as improving your CRM system, updating your website and developing a far-reaching online ad campaign. Planning now means you’ll be ready to go when things stabilize.
Check back for more updates: https://www.investinstc.ca/site/blog/2020/03/16/covid-19-resources-for-businesses