Last week, the City of Auburn’s Office of Economic Development, in partnership with the Auburn Area Chamber of Commerce, hosted a free webinar conference via Zoom discussing the different tips, tricks, and resources currently available to help assist local business owners and individuals during these unforeseen times. The discussion went over the current advertising campaign, “Buy Local Auburn,” and the different features provided on this website in terms of local business support.

Buy Local Auburn campaign, courtesy City of Auburn

Dana Hinman, the director of administration for the City of Auburn was first to present, initiating the conference by discussing the importance of making sure individuals are getting sufficient funding to help support themselves during these difficult times. She emphasized that people need to get connected to the emergency aid being offered by the federal, state, and the county immediately. Whether it be the Small Business Association, Economic Development, or private grants, these resources are available for individuals to take advantage of. An early start is advised because wait times can be longer than usual. Visit this website for a list of resources for struggling small businesses.

Kacie Bray with Auburn Area Chamber of Commerce discussed topics concerning additional resources provided by the Chamber of Commerce and how individuals can access them. On the chamber’s website, the COVID-19 link features an extensive list providing information on different resources available for all community members. So, if your business has any current needs such as a lack of specific materials, this is where you can get connected with resources to help. Job share is also available on the link for those who have been laid off or are looking for additional help with income.

Matthew Lundh with Sermo Digital spoke about connecting businesses with one another and how to build up from within. Lundh also discussed in detail all of the various ways the Buy Local Auburn website can be of help for local businesses — searching for different products to find and purchase locally, shared positivity in local business success stories, updates on local businesses hours and operations, and more.

Kevin O’Brien with Praece Consulting continued the discussion with information on how to get featured in the list of local businesses on the. O’Brien explained how if you have a business license with the City of Auburn, you immediately are added to the Buy Local list and will be included on the website. Adding information and updates about your business to the site can be accomplished through the self-service portal and can increase where you show up in terms of searches. Currently, take out, curbside, and delivery are huge keywords right now, so if your business if offering these services it is important that you add them to your businesses page to ensure it pops up when individuals are searching.

Jason Morgan with iLOCAL discussed web design and search engine optimization, emphasizing the importance of registering your business on Google Places. He further explained how your website is like a bike and there are five essential gears that every site needs in order to be successful. The first gear is the page title, the second gear is the alias url, third gear being the meta description, fourth gear being the description, and the fifth gear being the content. He then explained how you need all of these gears to work together and, if done correctly, that is how you get your website to show up on the first page of Google.

Timothy Broxholm, a professor in the business department at Green River College, shared some insight for the next 120-day period. He discussed the importance of focusing on the cash that remains in liquidity as well as any revenue that could possibly be brought in at this time, and to have that amount be greater than operating expenses. Broxholm also talked about how it is important to take this time to reexamine your business and figure out your larger purpose. He suggested focusing on your team and your employees well-being, retaining talent as best you can during this time, and coming out of this in a positive position in which you’re running your business as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Click here to listen to the free webinar conference and here view the schedule of upcoming conferences.