We know that owning and operating a business or non-profit can be challenging, even in the best of times. Now, businesses and non-profits have had to learn and adapt to keep their doors open in the COVID-19 economy. The good news is that we are not alone, and that we can learn from the experience of others. In the hopes that we can all keep learning together, we are sharing one of our favorite resources for local businesses.
How to Learn from Podcasts
One way to learn from other businesses and non-profits, and the challenges they face, is by reading blog posts or listening to podcasts. Even if we aren’t facing the same particular challenges, there are often general lessons that we can take away from others’ experiences – good or bad.
The Start Local podcast is a great learning tool (if we do say so ourselves). Our own Liam Dempsey teamed up with Joe Casabona to launch the Start Local podcast in April 2020. The show is focused on helping local businesses in Chester County, Pennsylvania, and the greater Philadelphia area navigate the COVID-19 economy.
In order to serve as a resource for businesses and non-profits, Start Local shares stories of businesses that are successfully navigating, and documents challenges local businesses are facing. With a new guest featured each episode – from local business owners and leaders to insurance agents and craft brewers, and even locally-elected officials, and more – Start Local highlights expertise from a range of industry leaders.
What We’ve Learned
A common theme we’ve heard throughout the Start Local episodes is the importance of connecting with people – whether it’s our employees, our customers, or other folks in the industry.
Leadership in Human Resources with Lisa Van Ess
Lisa Van Ess, Vice President of People & Culture at Magic Hat Consulting, offers tips from a human resources perspective on how businesses can help their employees navigate these difficult times.
Be sincere, be transparent, be human, be vulnerable. As we continue to adapt to a COVID-19 world – working from home, changing processes, potential furloughs, and more – we must be honest with our employees about our expectations and how we will move forward. It’s important to recognize that our employees might also be struggling to adapt to COVID-19. We should check in with our employees and remind them they’re not alone.
Building Your Local Audience with Matt Medeiros
Matt Medeiros, Director of Podcaster Success at Castos, chats about how businesses can grow their local audiences, even though COVID-19 has made it hard to connect in person.
We can use various digital marketing channels to broadcast our business, and to support other businesses in the area. From podcasts and blogs to Instagram stories and Facebook groups, there are countless ways to promote our business. Using a combination of channels is a great way to repurpose content. We can also use our channels to discuss other local businesses or important local issues, sharing those pieces with relevant companies and businesses.
Starting Your Own Podcast with Kyle C. Rheiner
Kyle C. Rheiner, an insurance agent in the craft beverage industry and host of the Beer Mighty Things podcast, shares what led him to start his own podcast, and some of the challenges and rewards that have come from it.
Practicing speaking, listening, and interviewing skills can help us build and strengthen relationships. Kyle mentions that one of his goals when starting the podcast was to become a better speaker, a better listener, and a better interviewer. Podcasting has helped him achieve that goal, and those skills have helped him build relationships and make connections with clients and other industry leaders. Whether we’re producing our own podcast or not, we can always be more mindful about the ways we can better communicate with others. Good listening is a great place to start.
Creating Great Customer Experiences with Jim Adams
Jim Adams, Co-Founder and Co-Owner of Levante Brewing Company, shares how the company is managing operations while keeping customer safety a priority.
Personalize products and services to give customers an experience that they will want to experience again. Jim talks about Mercury, Levante’s delivery system, and how Levante customizes its presentation to give customers a unique experience. Something as simple as a signed note is a good way to let our customers know we care. Jim says creating good experiences – for customers, partners, and employees alike – is about talking to the people around us, finding out what they need, and working to meet those needs.
Focusing on Customer Relationships with Mark Avery
Mark Avery, owner of the KSQ Barber Lounge, opens up about how his business is managing during COVID-19 and how he’s building relationships with his customers.
Focus on building relationships with your customers. Mark emphasizes that he sees his customers as more than a way to make money. He likes to use social media to connect with clients and build personal relationships. Now that businesses have reopened, Mark has been taking extra precautions to keep his customers safe and feeling comfortable. Whether we’re doing business in person or online, it’s important to invest in our relationships with our clients and customers. If we do it right, good things will follow.
More Good Stuff
If you’re interested in learning more, we encourage you to subscribe to “Start Local Monthly”, the Start Local newsletter. This monthly newsletter will deliver the latest episodes, news, and resources right to your inbox.Let’s Learn!