CENTREVILLE, MD – As the pandemic wanes businesses across the nation are poised to re-energize and try to regain traction in what will be a new business landscape. Since March 2020 business owners have developed new ways to engage and serve customers. A vast majority of these strategies were created out of necessity at a time when customers couldn’t or were hesitant to conduct face to face transactions.
But a funny thing happened along the way – customers have gotten used to and actually enjoy things like curbside pickup and ecommerce with a more personal touch. While the pandemic has created new opportunities for businesses, other business issues like staff hiring and retention and supply chain hiccups have made doing business much more challenging.
Like their cohorts across the nation Centreville business owners are faced with heady decisions on how to best operate their businesses in this new normal. What are the keys to success in this new environment? How should businesses hire and retain staff? Do hiring bonuses work? The list of new questions is seemingly endless, and overwhelming at times.
Successfully navigating this new terrain is the subject of a new Centreville grant project, funded by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development. The grant includes two components: it funds a free business resiliency workshop, called Succeeding in the New Normal, which will be hosted on Monday, April 25th, and it provides free technical services like HR/staffing consultations, business leader coaching sessions, digital media services, graphic design and photography/videography. The workshop and technical support are available to existing Centreville businesses throughout Town, excluding home-based direct sales businesses (such as Avon, Pampered Chef, Arbonnne, etc). Businesses can participate in the workshop (offered in-person and online), request technical services or do both.
“Centreville business owners have done an incredible job pivoting to keep their businesses open and viable,” says Carol D’Agostino, Centreville Main Street Manager. “Their sheer tenacity to make substantial operational changes quickly took a lot of courage. As we continue forward while there’s no silver bullet that’s going to work for every business, what we hope to do through this grant is to offer business owners best practices and insights as well as provide additional resources,” she adds.
A workshop called Succeeding in the New Normal (In-person & Online) is set for Monday, April 25th, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Liberty Building, Second Floor Meeting Room. Presented in a panel discussion format, the workshop brings together local, regional and national speakers who will share what they are hearing in their respective fields, respond to questions, and offer best practices for moving ahead.
Serving as the workshop moderator as well as a panelist will be Centreville entrepreneur Dale Walls, a high-performance business leader coach and Founder of Lions Guide. Joining Walls as featured panelists are:
- Megan MacDonald, Chief Strategy Officer at Hello Alice, a free online platform that helps businesses launch and grow by providing access to grants and funding, networking, and services, and;
- Kimberly Prescott, Founder and President of Prescott HR, and certified as a Senior Human Resources Professional (SPHR) and SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP).
“This workshop will bring valuable insights from experts on impactful topics affecting our local businesses such as execution, leadership, funding, and human resources,” says Dale Walls. “I’m both honored to serve the Town in this capacity, and excited for the event!” he adds.
Space is limited. The in-person workshop includes lunch. Businesses can register up to two people per registration. To participate in-person, register at centrevillemdbizevent.eventbrite.com or to participate virtually visit virtualcentrevillemdbizevent.eventbrite.com. Advance questions for panelists can be emailed to [email protected].
Free Technical Services
The way the technical services component of the grant works is Centreville Main Street has purchased blocks of time from local and regional contractors. Businesses can request a variety of technical services, such as 90-minute business leader coaching sessions from Dale Walls/Lions Guide, one-hour HR/staffing consultations from Prescott HR, website audits and social media training from Rockfish Media, graphic design from Christina Lippincott, and photography/videography services from Caroline Phillips. Technical support requests will be accepted on a first come, first serve basis. Businesses will be matched with contractors until the blocks of time are maxed out.
To receive a technical services request form or to inquire about the grant, contact Carol D’Agostino at [email protected] or (410) 758-1180, ext. 17.