Guiding Small Businesses in Tough Times – NWMEF is Here for You

Here’s a snippet of what Keli Morris of Northwest Missouri Enterprise Facilitation has been working on recently for struggling small businesses in our rural area.  Although she has been working from home, she has been busier than ever finding and delivering solutions for her clients via email, virtual meetings, phone and text messages. She has spent hours narrowing down the best resources available for these businesses through webinars and online contacts.  From the ever changing loan/forgivable loan options to unemployment options for the self-employed, she is trying to soak in as much as she can, in order to share this information with those who call for help.

Keli says, “We do have some clients that have been approved and received some funding already. It has been interesting to see some of our businesses pivot and change their business models to survive these times. I believe that those who have been able to do so have a fighting chance to come out on the other side of this current shutdown. I am not aware of anyone that has permanently closed their doors yet, but I do anticipate we might see some of that in the weeks to come.”

Economic experts everywhere are concerned about the impact of COVID 19 on small businesses. But small businesses in rural areas typically struggle more than their city counterparts in high traffic areas. Keli says, “I believe that our local business owners are still in hunker-down mode, and this is just the beginning of a time of panic for them. But I have had some heart-wrenching conversations.  It is just overwhelming to hear from so many as they struggle with this. The situation has been especially tough on the hairdressers, massage therapists, nail technicians and other service businesses (EVERYONE really)! It’s hard for them to suddenly have to consider a 180 degree turnabout, or a change in the way they might have to do business in order to have income coming in.  I am impressed, though, with the variety of strategies some of them have come up with. As just one example, some have tried selling gift cards for their clients to use later.”

Keli tells of an exciting opportunity she is offering: “I partnered with Grow with Google and offered a series of workshops with two remaining.  If you would like to take advantage of those, call me right away for the registration information. These are: 4/21 Using Data to Drive Business Growth 10 am and 4/28 Digital Skills for Everyday Tasks 10 am. Feel free to participate or to pass this information on to anyone you think might be interested.”

Keli encourages all struggling small businesses in our area to contact her for confidential business coaching, provided free of charge by nonprofit organization Northwest Missouri Enterprise Facilitation. Contact her at 816-262-9400 or at facilitator@nwmef.org. To learn more about Northwest Missouri Enterprise Facilitation, go to the web at www.nwmef.org.

If you are interested in starting or retaining your own business, Northwest Missouri Enterprise Facilitation (NWMEF) can help. NWMEF is an economic development project which serves six counties including Andrew, Atchison, Gentry, Holt, Nodaway and Worth. Services are offered free and are strictly confidential. NWMEF is a not-for-profit organization. The Resource Board is comprised of more than 70 volunteer board members from each county as well as regional representation. Certain project costs have been underwritten by the Missouri Department of Economic Development, Neighborhood Assistance Programs.