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Two years and counting…

So here it is almost 2 years after it all started. Many business are recovering and/or reopening. People are returning to “in person” work.  Many businesses are having difficulty finding workers. We are dealing with a new virus variant. The government is “printing money” to keep the economy going. It’s somewhat controlled chaos. The next few years will be interesting for Small Business.

In February 2021 CBS News reported

“Three out of every 10 small businesses in the U.S. say they likely won’t survive 2021 without additional government assistance during the coronavirus pandemic, a survey from the Federal Reserve Bank shows. Considering there are roughly 30 million small businesses in the U.S., that means 9 million small firms are at risk of closing for good this year.”

As an update a June 2021 Fact Check report quoted a Harvard University-based project called The Economic Tracker. The online platform provides data about real-time economic trends and uses financial transaction activity to suggest whether a business has closed.

As of the week of June 8 2021, the Tracker showed there were 37.5% fewer small businesses open nationwide compared with January 2020, two months before the pandemic hit the United States.

As a small business we are proud and grateful that we have survived and, in some ways thrived during this crisis.  The downturn gave us a chance to re-group. First, we upgraded technology and equipment to keep up with added demand in our Prepress Services (Packaging) area. Second, we entered new markets to help with the crisis(PPE). Third, we are reviewing goals in our Contract Machining area to accommodate new markets. Finally we increased our E-Commerce presence. All this was to keep current with the new normal.

To us the most important part of this was our people Keeping them healthy and employed. These people are like family; their families are like family… I also know that without these people, we can’t serve our customers. Consequently, our customers can’t serve their customers… and it goes on. (The simple definition of Supply Chain). With the help of Federal PPP, State and County Grants, and a lot of “thinking outside the box” we have continued to grow. Although Covid is still with us, I’m optimistic that we have learned how to navigate the health crisis.  I believe and understand that it’s not going to be a straight line out of this. There will continue to be ups and downs, opens and closes, speed ups and slow downs – you get the idea. To us, that’s what you get when you go into business.

You may be asking “how did you do this”. Reflecting back, it’s a blur and a Team effort. At times we would look around at my coworkers and think “why do you do this?” One word comes to mind CULTURE. Excelsior Marking stays together because we have built a culture of respect, empathy, and perspective for each other, and our Customers. These are a few guideposts I maintain to get through.

  • First, Stay present and remember the Law of Impermanence – everything is constantly changing. The good times will come and go/the bad times will come and go.
  • Be Positive – Think Positive – Do Positive (this saying is painted on one of my Manager’s office walls) Positivity is a choice to make every day. There is something good in everything. Even a closure will move you to the next opportunity. No one regrets what they did, they only regret what they didn’t try.
  • Next, watch for Burnout. Stress on the job for a prolonged period  affects our ability and desire to do our jobs. We needed to learn to be empathetic, take breaks, and breathe. A job is what we do, it’s not who we are. This attitude needs to come from the Top. If you manage people, you need to be the model. A few times I caught myself saying “This job is not life threatening”!
  • Always, be open and communicate, communicate, communicate. None of us know all the answers. None of us have been through a pandemic. We will all make mistakes and that’s ok. I stopped “posting” written information because it changes every day and confused all of us. Every morning I check my news feed and walk around the Plant to hear if anyone has heard anything new. (It’s called managing by meandering, and I highly recommend you try it)
  • Finally, Celebrate the “Good Stuff”.  Holidays, Birthdays, Weddings, Babies , the Super Bowl, St. Patrick’s Day, Memorial Day…all happened during Covid. Get the pizza, make the cake, bring in the donuts and celebrate!

One last thing, if you’re one of our loyal Customers or Vendors, WE THANK YOU FOR YOUR LOYALTY”! To all others be well!