An Open Letter to KC-Area Small Businesses from the Blue Springs ChamberDavid Cawthon
By guest contributor Lara Vermillion, IOM; President, Blue Springs Chamber of Commerce
If you belong to a chamber of commerce, you know what a great asset they can be when it’s business as usual. But in times of crisis, and especially during this COVID-19 crisis here in Kansas City, chambers are proving to be invaluable resources.
Case in point: Lara Vermillion, president of the Blue Springs Chamber of Commerce, is providing just-in-time guidance, leadership, resources and her own unmistakable and much-appreciated human connection.
Here is her open letter to her chamber members and to the KC community at large:
At this point, all of us are unsure of the full impact of the COVID-19 virus on local business, organizations, our community, the nation and for that matter, the world. At some point, however, there will most likely be more and more recovery resources available.
I strongly encourage you to start right now and regularly and closely track the impact of COVID-19 on your business or organization. That information is key to accessing aid. For example, federal aid is provided through agencies, such as the Small Business Administration, and other departments are ready to help businesses, like the Economic Development Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to name a few.
To aid your efforts, we have created a very simple tool for your business: an Excel spreadsheet for you to track the impact.
We’ve already inserted a timeline for COVID-19 thus far. We’ve separated it by month. You’ll need to add the dollar impact and description for each column. The description and dollar amounts could include issues with suppliers, customers or employees.
We’ve also added the excel formulas to the spread sheet. For now, keep track of everything possible. Make sure you keep any supporting material in a file together. You’ll need to continue to add items to the timeline. Click here for the Excel tracking sheet.
As we become aware of programs offering aid, we’ll pass them along. It may also be worthwhile at some point to combine our efforts to show a regional impact.
Economic Development Director Rob Dixon stressed that before businesses in our community made significant organizational changes, that they should get in touch with staff members of the Department of Economic Development because the DED may have resources to help. If a business starts something before they work with the DED, it may be too late.
He reiterated that we should tell our businesses not to make any drastic decisions. If you would like to get in touch with the local DED representative, please let us know and we will gladly provide an introductory email.
Division of Health and Human Services Director Dr. Randall Williams said it was important to rely on local health departments for information and to remind businesses that it was important for businesses to reach out for medical expertise and/or information from the local health department before completely closing. A complete closure may or may not be necessary.
Please keep in touch as you navigate the next few weeks and months. We care about the success of your business/organization.