Business Resources for COVID-19 Impact

Business Resources for COVID-19 Impact
updated 4.1.2020 730am

WHAT PROGRAM CAN I USE RIGHT NOW?

CARES Act – US Chamber

Small Business Owners Guide to the CARES Act final

 

MN CHAMBER/DEED WEBINAR for STAYATHOME Ex. Order 30 minutes

EXECUTIVE ORDERS from Governor Walz 3.25.2020

CRITICAL SECTOR WORKER EXEMPTION GUIDANCE updated list 3/27/2020

MN CHAMBER COVID 19 TOOLKIT

SBA Disaster Loan Website has been updated

WEBINAR For SBA Disaster Loan

If you have employees who CAN work from HOME, they SHOULD work from home, whether your industry/work is deemed critical or not.

https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/Information/Index

Updates on Governor Walz’s Executive Orders

Still Open: Facilities

  • Frequent and deeper cleaning of the office and home.
  • Social Distancing guidelines should be followed.
  • Minimize the opportunity for face to face, hand to surface contact.
  • basics: wash your hands, don’t touch your face.

People

  • Keep communicating with your customers, and stay active on social media. Let your customers know that you are open for business, or remind them how you can help. Let them know what you are doing to protect their health as well.
  • Keep communicating with your team as well. They need your leadership and certainty.
  • Finalize work strategies and protocols should you need folks to work from home, or make changes to staffing. There are a number of great tools out there that can maximize productivity, and cloud storage like GoogleDrive, Dropbox, and Microsoft OneDrive are increasingly cost effective.
  • If you are in retail or service or another public facing business, what can you do to protect both your customer base and your employees? Leverage technology and easy pick-up or delivery, for example. • How will you handle travel?
  • For meetings with large groups, consider moving online. You can still get the work done, and it may actually save you time. Zoom, GoToMeetings, Microsoft Teams are all great tools for this.
  • if you have employees being laid off, they should go here to apply for unemployment 
    Anyone who has paid into Unemployment Insurance (MN UI) is eligible to receive benefits

thinkLOCAL

Stay informed and look for information from reliable and trusted sources, including:

 

Something From Mary – March 2020

It’s the Final Countdown

Nope. Not the Europe Song from the 80’s. Good guess though… I appreciate your enthusiasm for 80’s music!

It’s here. We have some dates for upcoming information sessions, we have a contractor identified as the low bidder for the project, some businesses have made upgrades to their secondary entrances; Yes- Main Street 2020 is here.

#TheBigDig   #TheMainEvent   #MainStreet2020

This is what everyone has prepared for, the season of unknowns, the season we go from busy Main Street/Highway 15 traffic to no traffic, the season also known as road construction, but wait… it’s happening here, not to someone else.

This is our community being affected. Our local business owners planning for lower revenues. Our friends, neighbors, and family members who will likely have anxiety or stress because of what we don’t know.

HOW CAN WE ALL HELP?
The MOST important piece of this, is to STILL go to these businesses.
Be positive about the adjustments, be positive to others when talking about the project.

What isn’t important: parking somewhere different, walking a little farther than we are used to.

What is important: keeping our local businesses open throughout and after construction, sending encouragement messages, sharing positive ideas.

You may or may not know I had back surgery six years ago. Oh boy, that was hard. Before surgery, I could literally be stopped mid step by agonizing nerve pain that simply cannot be described. It was clear the only way to alleviate the constant pain, the spirals of agony, was to have surgery. I had surgery in early March, the onset of spring. I was in the hospital for 4 days, then my family and I were trained on how I should walk, sit, lay down, and get into a vehicle, before I could leave the hospital. Then, I was home, for six weeks, without going outside. Nope, ice was dangerous. I followed every rule and guideline they prepared me with. (there was a 1.5”  book they gave me) The biggest rules were not to bend-lift-twist… for 3 months. Think about this the next time you sit in a chair, lay down in bed or use the bathroom. This time comes back to me frequently when I talk about this Main Street Project. It was hard. It hurt. I was surrounded by positive people who came to sit, or lay down, or walk with me in my house. (the house laps are another conversation) and then… I could leave the house! Then I could move freely when the ice was gone, then I could walk longer. Soon, I was able to go back to work, and finally, after three hard months, I could bend-lift-twist. It was slow, but I was stronger, better, faster, and pain-free.

So my analogy is this…. like surgery, the project is necessary to maintain our services at a high level of reliability. It will have some pain associated with it, but when the road is re-opened, it will be completed and done for many years, it will work better for all of us, and we’ll take it for granted within no time. A year from now we’ll be smiling that it is done, and six years from now, we’ll be so grateful we had it done when we did.

Yes, I had some sad days, and frustrating days, this project will too, but I can GUARANTEE you, if you put on a smile, and share a kind word or gesture with someone who is going through this project directly affected on Main Street, it will make a difference, and make it an easier road to the finish line. And soon, like Willie Nelson sings, we’ll be “On the Road Again!”

Be watching for many updates to come by visiting our website www.explorehutchinson.com and click on the Main Street 2020 icon.

 

February 2020 – Something From Mary!

Networking Is For Everyone

Have you seen the invitations for Business Connection or Business After Hours, and thought… my couch is calling me, or hmmmmm, I’ll have a headache that day?

Perhaps you even registered, but then decided last minute not to attend. (Which by the way, leaves someone hanging with extra food and costs-ooops!)

I want to give you some insight into these events. Here are questions I hear from people.

 “What’s the difference between Business Connection and Business After Hours?
Business Connection is the first Friday of the month from 7-8am. It is a structured hour with time to learn about the business as well as an opportunity for each attendee to introduce themselves and share a tiny piece of their business. It might be one of our financial institutions sharing new rates for home loans, or “it’s not clean until it’s Patty Clean” from Divine Clean and a reminder of spring cleaning projects.
Business After Hours is from 4-6pm on the second Thursday of the month and is an open house, usually with a tour of some kind.
Both events provide food, and information about the business. Both give you a sense of the business and their work.

“I have plenty of business.”
Great, right now you do. You might be in over your head today, but what about this summer? Reminding people of your mere existence is important in the business world. Add some padding to relationships which you will need in the future. Being at a networking event shows you are involved in the business community. I think of Renee and Jon Hantge who have talked about being part of events simply to remind people they have Tri-County Water, and perhaps you’ll remember to order the softener salt you need. Or, next week your neighbor calls and says their water softener died….. they ask you who should they call? You’ll think of Jon and Renee since you just saw them. BOOM. I see this happen ALL THE TIME.

“Oh, I know what that business does.”
Do you really? Did you know they have a new product line they are making which uses the newest technology? Do you know who they just hired as manager? Did you realize they just renovated half their building? Have you been to their location to see them make product? Too many times we all make assumptions about what we do or don’t know about a business or business person. Did you know Jay Malone of Jay Malone Motors sleeps very little, and works in the wee wee hours of the night, because of his heart for his employees and customers? If you attended Business Connection you learned that tidbit. We meet people where they work and experience their passion.
This is building relationships.

“It’s so early in the morning.”
Yep, the best part of waking up is with a bunch of business people enjoying coffee, juice and breakfast…together. (I tried to make this work in my head as a coffee jingle.) Once 8am hits, we’re done and you are off to the races, ready to make the day bright and productive. Besides…. Seeing so many smiling faces is a huge day maker. And you’re actually probably already awake, and out of bed. Several of our Business Connection attendees cannot make the afternoon events due to work schedules, and they comment frequently about the morning being such a great option for them.

“I have to drop my kids off at practice.”
Supporting your kids and your family is VERY important. But if you are dropping them off, you may be just waiting in the car. Come to Business After Hours as it is an open house format. It isn’t structured like Business Connection in the mornings. Come when you can, leave when you need to. And if your child has a game or you need to be out of town… then attend the morning events. Heidi Arndt of Vivid Image usually needs to pick up her kids by a certain time each night. She comes early, and is able to accommodate her daycare time.

“I am not the owner of the business.”
And that matters….why? You are important to the work of your organization. ANY employee of ANY Chamber Member Business is welcome to attend. This is about growing your business, growing your network. Bo Young of American Family Insurance keeps saying, “Your network is your net worth.” Ooo, so good Bo! What happens to you if the owner/manager/president/supervisor leaves? What will you do? Having a network of options to lean on is extremely important.

“Why do businesses host either of these events?”
One. They are PROUD of their work and WHO does the work. I love to listen to people who are passionate about their work. Usually I tell people I could listen all day to someone who loves to make paperclips, passion is key.
Two. What a great way to share what you do and/or make. Educating the public and other business people is rewarding as is making B2B connections. Business to Business work happens frequently in Hutchinson. You may just make a connection attending and learning what a business offers, OR, what you can offer them.

“I don’t know anyone” or “I’m kinda shy.”
Time to consider what one “hello” can do for your business. We have MANY business people attend without a plus-one with them. MANY. You don’t have to worry about being a wall flower/shy type. We don’t bite. We really don’t. You are likely to know someone and if not, you will meet people. Mackenna Koehler from RAM Buildings frequently attends and has met people without having known people previously, and you know what? She meets someone new every month.

I am personally inviting YOU to attend something new and out of the box for yourself and your team. Join us on Friday, February 7th from 7-8am for Business Connection at St Anastasia’s, and/or Thursday, February 13th any time from 4-6pm for Business After Hours at the newly remodeled Edina Realty. Watch your inbox for invitations or send me a note to be added to the list.

January 2020 – Something from Mary!

We are sliding into the new decade- the roaring twenties are back!

The new year, and in this case decade, always brings me to a place to contemplate ‘what did we do well and what could we have done better.’ Do you do this?

I have a couple of tools you might consider for your own analysis.

I learned from Steve Gasser, “Keep Stop Start” and have found this to be a great way to review aspects of a business. Will we keep or start doing this program? Do we need to start a program?

It is also an easy language for everyone to use in your business. It may seem simple, but we have found it to be very effective as staff evaluates programs, events, and services. Using it for specific products or product lines, service lines, territories or regions…. It has a host of opportunities for your specific industry.

Keep Stop Start also functions as a communication device when speaking with employees during evaluations or difficult conversations.

Now, you could SWOT it around. SWOT analysis goes deeper than Keep Stop Start. SWOT stands for Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities and Threats.

Strengths and Weakness are considered internal to the organization, while Opportunities and Threats are external. In an easy four-square-grid you and your team can map out and work through a SWOT analysis. You can do SWOT for several programs, services, products and then overlay the results to see what the common denominators are.

Again, a SWOT session is more in-depth; depending on what you are examining, you may find it helpful or more of a hindrance. Use what works best for you.

Engaging key stake holders…. Employees, into this conversation will do a couple of things. One: value add. Employees who are asked for their input are more engaged, and when they feel valued, they tend to stay.

Two: Many times, managers and owners do not know the ins and outs of a machine, program, or service like someone utilizing it on a regular basis. As a business owner or manager, ask those front-line workers what is and isn’t working. You will learn A LOT, and potentially save money, time, or customers by incorporating your staff in these conversations. Even if you are the owner and manager AND an operator…. Ask employees anyway. You may be very surprised at the responses you get.

If you have never done anything like this before with employees, here’s an idea for you. Along the left side of a post-it note, write Keep Stop Start, and hand it to your employee(s). Ask them to return that to you in two days with one thing they think your company should keep doing, one thing they think you should stop all together, and another thing that should be started. Give them time to think about it. You may find it to be VERY revealing, a great way to start conversations about the work environment, AND crazy enough, make your production increase as you find what is working and what might not be.

These are commonly used tools in all areas of business and you can feel confident in trying them with your business.

I pray you have a blessed 2020. Cheers to the New Year!

December 2019 – Something from Mary!

Change.

Yep…. We all have a relationship with this six-letter word; change.

Some people are open and welcoming to change: the beauty of the oncoming season, the newness of something novel, the opportunity to ride life’s rollercoaster.

Some people are completely opposite. They resist change in every way, shape, and form. Sometimes kicking and screaming, you’ve seen it. People’s perspective of change can make it feel unjust, unnecessary, or irrelevant.

I’ve heard it said before, and I say it myself, “people like to be part of change, but they don’t like when change happens to them.” There is a lot of truth to this.

In this season of change, here’s what it looks like for the chamber.

A new year coming up with a very large community project coming in 2020. The Main Street 2020 project lends itself to new ideas and opportunities* to help our businesses, but also will affect other programs and events which have been part of the chamber for a very long time.

*I like to consider challenges as opportunities. Upgrade. Improve. Shift.

But then came along a new staffing structure for the chamber. I’ve had the honor to work with incredible humans over the years, but it is now time to shift to a new model of staffing the chamber. This came out of necessity, but also as a surprise of sorts to me. The opportunity has come about…to Upgrade, Improve, and Shift. If I am going to talk the talk, I sure as heck will walk the walk.

 

Rachel Hollis, author and media mogul, recently got a wrist tattoo… ‘embrace the suck’ to remind herself of the yet undefined opportunities and blessings that come along with the suckiest of situations in life. So, if you are one of the many people who do not like change, this may be helpful. Or, you like to also complain, so my idea is stupid, has no merit, and was a waste of time.

But yet, here’s my hope for YOU:

The next time you find yourself amid the opportunities/challenges/changes of life, embrace the suck, hold your head up and walk through it. Right straight through it.

May the events of this past decade help you float into a fabulous 2020.

November 2019 – Something from Mary!

You get out of it what you put into it.

Much like your gym membership, your results from the chamber depend on if you USE the membership.

The Hutchinson Chamber has 330 members. Of these 330 businesses run by smart, respectable people, at least half just pay the invoice and let ‘er ride.

BUT,

WHAT IF YOU…….

  • Updated your webpage on our website

(Yes, as a chamber member you have a webpage on our website!)

  • Posted job openings on our website…. Included in your membership, through your webpage!
  • Posted your sales, events, press releases to your webpage
  • Brought in brochures and business cards for us to share with new residents and Visitors
  • Attended just one networking event, such as Business Connection in the morning or Business After Hours in the afternoon/early evening

You could Possibly……

  • Reach someone new who is searching online for your service or product
  • Show up quicker on a google search because of this listing.
  • Have a position filled because someone saw your listing on the website
  • Bring in new revenue from a new customer who just didn’t realize what you do or have
  • Provide the one thing that brings someone to Hutchinson feeling confident in their decision because they know you are here
  • Start a new business relationship with someone you met while networking and sharing your story

 

Or not.

You get out of it, what you put into it.

Everything I listed above is available to all chamber members, without additional costs or fees.

If you haven’t, perhaps you should let us know you’d like to know just one more thing about your membership, because ….. membership has its privileges.

10am-4pm Monday through Friday 320-587-5252 Give us a jingle, or email us at info@explorehutchinson.com

October 2019 – Something from Mary!

 

Here’s an Idea:

Let’s not wait until January 2nd to make changes, get in gear, or start something new.

Three months are left of 2019.

Chamber President Mary Hodson

Chamber President Mary Hodson

THREE MONTHS. 92 DAYS.

Let’s make them count by focusing on our updates now, starting today, October 1st.

So many times our tendency is to say “I’ll do that next week,” “I’ll start on Monday,” and don’t do a thing because we are too busy with the things right in front of us. These ‘things’ suck our energy away, leaving important items by the wayside.

This could be a change in diet or exercise, but it could also be an important book to read, manuals to update, or something else random, or otherwise significant. Wouldn’t it feel great to get to January 2, and say… I have that already done, or look at the progress made in three months.

I encourage you to look for three things to consider doing:

Something for you. Something that will make you feel good or better. Something that can help you achieve peace in your life.

Something at work. What have you been putting off,

or waiting for “the time”, or is really high importance but the urgency hasn’t been equally as high.

Finally, how about something for your fellow humans. Whether it is working with a community group, donation of time, talent or treasure, help for a neighbor, or a letter to a friend you haven’t communicated with for a while. Find something to help someone and/or bring them joy.

Now…. go out and make a difference, but remember, take care of you too!

September 2019 – Something From Mary!

CHANGE.

It is inevitable. Change will happen. Usually when you least expect it. Am I right?

This past month we’ve experienced change at the chamber- WELCOME JILL BARRALL as our new Membership Coordinator!

Many times change brings anxiety, frustration and opportunity. Wait, what? Opportunity?

YES friends, opportunity!

I’m telling you right now, every piece of anxiety-ridden, frustration-inducing change is an opportunity to update, improve, and evaluate your situation. And this is where I get all jacked up. The OPPORTUNITY to review what has been, what is and what could be…. The new, the improved, the innovative, the re-designed, the wholesale change, or maybe just a tweak.

As I have written here before, I hope you plan for the unexpected disaster, or the unexpected staff turn-over, but I hope for you the ability to take in the opportunity that may come from these or similar situations.

Now, let’s talk about planned change… building, growing, strategic, future minded conversations. If you want a voice, if you want to be part of the next few years of Hutchinson growth and opportunity; I am pleased to invite you to look at the Blandin Community Leadership Program. The opportunities are endless in Hutchinson, MN, and #MuchInHutch can grow substantially with your help.

I, along with Matt Jaunich, Hutchinson’s City Administrator, submitted an application for Hutchinson to be accepted into Blandin’s program. I am pleased to say we were accepted and are now in the recruitment stage of the process.

I could write another three hours about the benefits of Blandin and the incredible personal and professional opportunity it is to participate, but let’s face it, I do not have the time. Blandin can tell their story far better than I can. But here’s the quick facts:

  • Applications are being accepted through December 9th, 2019
  • All expenses are paid by Blandin Foundation
  • Retreat week is February 24-28, 2020
  • Three community workshop days follow this retreat week
  • Attendance is REQUIRED for all week and the workshops
  • Leadership Training, Personal Development and Team Building are included in the week
  • 24 people, 12 women and 12 men will be chosen to attend

If you are interested, use any of the links included in this article to go to Blandin’s website. Learn the Blandin Story- it’s pretty incredible, and look at the dates involved. If you can commit to the dates, please consider applying.

Again, you have until December 9th to apply, but that time will go quickly.

A selection committee will review all applications, and along with the Blandin Board make the final selections along with alternates for this program.

Change is good.

Change is constant.

Change is a catalyst.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” -Margaret Mead

2019 August – Something from Mary!

Hands Free, Free Time

As the Hands-Free law goes into place today, August 1st, 2019, I am thinking about the many times, we should put down our phones, not just in the vehicle while we are driving, and not just our phones need to be put down.

Gosh we live in a crazy world in which we now have an attention span that is less than a grass hopper’s. For some reason many of us need to be entertained at every curve… do you turn the channel or pick up your phone and scroll when a TV commercial comes on? Do you even realize you are doing that? Probably not.

How about today, you think intentionally about those moments of boredom-quiet-transitions between shows, waiting in line at the store, waiting for a client, and consider how you could use those fleeting moments to do something more productive…. Return a phone call, start your grocery list, make a work list of items you’d like to tackle, dust something- seriously… you can get a lot of dusting done during TV commercials, just sayin’- don’t judge. Make lunch for tomorrow, walk around the block, drink a glass of water, pick up the office or room you are in.

I say this as I am trying to be more intentional about my time. I run run run….. and then crash. I am trying to RUN less, and crash less, which leaves me with some quiet time. It’s amazing what a person can do when they are intentional about finding time for the things that matter, and removing the time wasters.

I hope you’ll do two things.

One, put your phone down while you are driving. It’s the law and by the way, I like you alive, healthy and not strapped with a heavy fine.

Two, put other distractions down and find the opportunities that you can see in front of you. You never know what great things can come from a little dusting, a quickly made list, or even sitting in your own solitude.

2019 July – Something from Mary!

thinkLOCAL… do YOU THINK LOCAL?
What a question? What does it mean to thinkLOCAL?

Before you purchase something online, or out of town, do you think about whether you can actually find it here in Hutchinson?
Do you consider the online options for local stores?
Do you ask businesses to donate to this, that, and the other thing?

Here’s food for thought:
You purchase something in Hutchinson for $100.
68% of that stays in Hutchinson. Wages, Services, Taxes, Donations.
Tax Revenue pays for FIRE, POLICE, Park & Rec, water treatment, waste water and so many services we take for granted every single day!

If you purchase that item in another community, you are giving them your money to pay for the same things in their community, not yours.

This applies to every purchase you make.

NOW, take your online ordering and switch it to online ordering for a business that has a brick and mortar in town and have it delivered to pick-up. THAT purchase and your money goes to OUR community to help pay wages, benefits and donations for your friends, family and neighbors HERE in Hutchinson.

Please consider your purchasing tendencies. What can you do to bring back some of what you spend BACK TO HUTCHINSON.

I know we can’t get everything here, but I bet there are many things you can. You can’t buy happiness, but shopping local is almost the same thing!

Join us for Crazy Days, SHOP LOCAL, SPEND LOCAL, have LOCAL FUN, and please thinkLOCAL!

To learn more about thinkLOCAL and the work of our committee, please go to our website. (link to thinkLOCAL page please)