Small Business & Entrepreneurs

Businesses of all sectors and all geographic areas were approached for input. As expected, small businesses and entrepreneurs are at great risk.

Concerns Heard:

  • Sustaining bricks and mortar exposure post COVID-19/concern have to shut down business
  • Backlogs to incoming supply chain impacts
  • Overall reduction in sales/services, up to 90% reduction
  • Staff working on non-revenue generating projects
  • Finding ‘secure’ way to work remotely with challenging internet capacities
  • As a business to business, no outward sales with closed/non-essential clients
  • As a non-essential, closed business, challenges with providing service to clients through on-line techniques
  • Challenges to maintain staff while unable to service clients
  • Landlord not considering rent relief or working with tenant
  • Inability to compete against larger corporate stores that remain open
  • Government increase of ‘pandemic pay’ to government employed/retirement homes competes with ‘private sector’ business, difficult to market services with government ‘restriction’ on my ‘like’ business
  • Event/order cancellations directly impacting business

Sector

  • Brick & mortar business inability to pivot fast enough to new business models
  • Fear of pent up desire to ‘shop’ while with lack of supply for customer
  • Need for obtainable, accessible grants, not loans
  • Basically, newer businesses are starting from scratch
  • Government relief subsidies compete again ‘working’ wages, difficult to retain staff
  • Government restrictions to ‘one workplace’ affecting ability to retain staff
  • Continued child care closure causing staff limitation of hours to operate/work
  • Opening too soon to stop spread, fear of subsequent waves
  • Will my clients have the ability to pay for service once opened?
  • Providing safe environment for customers, working with social distancing rules
  • Client/customer ‘cautiousness’, thus, limiting overall pool of in store business
  • Private business, competing again government increase to ‘pandemic relief’ wages
  • Health and fitness business, social distancing could affect working with clients
  • Work as one municipality vs individual communities – we are Chatham-Kent
  • Encourage partnerships of big box stores to showcase/promote local small business
  • Majority of small business is not incorporated, creating personal risk
  • Particularly, in small business/entrepreneur business…not prepared & may not sustain a second wave
  • Connecting and sharing skills, not ‘mentoring’

Municipal

  • PUSH for internet in rural areas of Municipality
  • Municipality regulate fees based on revenue of business
  • Institute program to assist the tenant business directly. Deferment to landlord does not help tenant
  • Reduction of taxes, not deferment, to landlord with small business tenants – with proofed savings shared with tenant
  • Reduction in property taxes, as small business owner, residential taxes affect proprietor
  • Review/flexibility/expansion of by-laws - ie. allow more outdoor restaurant spaces to accommodate distancing
  • Utilize ONLY local businesses for municipal presentations, webinars, training tools, supplies – Chatham-Kent has ability and skills within borders – becomes full circle support
  • Provide small business grants, not loans as only adds to debt load
  • Grant match wage subsidies for private sector to compete with government funded employees
  • Emphasize Buy Local, include incentives and community awareness ‘together’, Partner on initiatives for inclusion and ‘working together’, not just during COVID-19.
  • Highlight a local business’ marketing initiatives through group partnership efforts using marketing experts/Chamber of Commerce/Service Clubs/BIA/Ec Dev/etc.
  • Provide grant/ subsidy to implement safety measures/requirements to cover incurred costs to accommodate safety rules - ie PPE – masks, sanitizer equipment, guards, distancing signs
  • Reduce/waive fees to encourage small business reopening/sustaining
  • Reduce municipal red tape
  • Use customized Chatham-Kent solutions, not big city ie. Toronto – once size does not fit all
  • Institute long term reduced energy costs/time of day for small business and homes (as affects home-based businesses)
  • Implement and provide on-line training and assistance for e-commerce for ‘pivoting’ companies
  • Create one stop shop site – ie an ‘Amazon/Wayfair’ for Chatham-Kent services and supplies
  • Urge for business discounts for not utilizing utilities while business closed ie. Internet, phone
  • Local Public Health be more visible/vocal to assist ‘what safe means in my business’
  • Municipality must cut costs, may mean people, services, ownership
  • Incorporate tax exemptions for camps owned by religious organizations
  • Promote, rather than duplicate, private business and organizations delivery programs and services
  • Rent, rent, rent programs
  • Create safe, one-way, foot traffic in core areas
  • Community confidence initiatives to shop in person – not all business should be on-line, ‘experience’ shopping is necessary
  • Economic Development staff to implement/continue a Triage Program to identify crisis sensitive businesses in need of assistance.