The power of good associations: Let's thank those helping our businesses survive the pandemic

When COVID first stepped foot into America and began sweeping through our country, I think all of us were reeling. What is this? How bad is it? Is it as deadly as China’s numbers or Italy’s? How contagious is it? How is it spread?

When the NBA and March Madness shut down on short notice, things got real in a hurry. This is a big deal!

During those foggy first days, as everyone was shouting at each other and pointing fingers, one of the things that impressed me most as a business owner was the response of local, state, and national associations.

As the Co-Owner of Paragon Landscape, Inc., in Northeast Indiana, I would like to give props to a few of the associations and government sources who came through big time with great information for us. They are helping us turn on lights and pierce the mist, so we can attempt to define the shape of this monster. They have played a big role in helping us “pivot” our business in these trying times.

Nationally:

NFIB (the National Federation of Independent Business Owners)

NALP (the National Association of Landscape Professionals)

At the state level:

INLA (the Indiana Nursery and Landscape Association)

IPLLA (Indiana Professional Lawn and Landscape Association)

The Purdue Extension Service

Governor Holcombe’s press release emails

And locally:

Jim Banks’ information emails

Greater Fort Wayne (What a great organization this has been for our community! And in these COVID times, their timely aggregation of Governor Holcombe’s press releases has been very helpful).

In addition, our payroll company, and even our Christmas Décor franchise, have proven to be valuable allies.

I’m sure each business has a set of associations and professional services to which they are connected. Every year I wonder, “Are they worth the cost?” I look at the invoice for these associations and think, “I’m too busy to take advantage of what these organizations have to offer. Should I sign up again this year?” Every week, I delete communications from these sources after a quick glance, and wonder, “Should I unsubscribe?”

This year?

Their value is clear. My attention is tuned in.

At first, I read their emails almost word for word. As they have become more redundant, I hunt eagerly for new information. I click on their helpful links and consume their data and print their posters. I am deeply grateful for their clear communication, timely information, safety insights, clarification of new Federal laws, tweaks to OSHA requirements, State ordinances, and labor law adjustments. I’m thankful for their lists of best practices, and I welcome assistance navigating the sweeping changes that have been made to PTO and FMLA rules. Whew!

So, here is a shout out to all of you who have freely shared great information. You have done your jobs well! Respect. Appreciation.

If you’re a small business owner, consider taking some time to reach out and thank the organizations that have been there for you during COVID-19.

To make good decisions and take good care of our staff and our clients, we need less shouting, more graciousness, and more data.

Many benevolent associations have been an essential link to critical data for us. Thank you.

This blog is part of an ongoing, weekly series in Input Fort Wayne, following local small business owners as they navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Read Trent's previous blog here.

Read more articles by Trent D. Schrock.

Trent D. Schrock is the Co-Owner of Paragon Landscape, Inc., and Crown and Blade, LLC, in Northeast Indiana. He is one of Input Fort Wayne's small business bloggers, sharing his experience during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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