• Meghan Harvey

Planning for the Future: Interview with Terry Anderson

COVID-19 has severely impacted small businesses across the country, including those in our own backyard. Even upon reopening, they are not likely to see the same business as before the pandemic hit, making it crucial to not only adapt to the current reality, but to plan for the future.

Terry Anderson of the Saint Francis University Small Business Development Center is using his expertise to help businesses remain active during the pandemic, as well as help them prepare for what comes next.

Terry was hired to specifically work with established businesses that were affected by COVID-19. The majority of his work revolves around helping businesses take advantage of the many financing programs that are currently available, such as the Payroll Protection Program, the Economic Injury Disaster Loan, the Progress Fund, and the PA 30 Day Fund, a recent development fund geared toward small businesses that need some quick financing.

Terry also provides invaluable advice on how businesses can plan for the post-COVID world. “A lot of businesses aren’t going to see business as usual when they open. They might have to look at changing their marketing strategies and adapting their business model. They may have to look at using a different platform to sell their goods or services. The main thing is understanding where your market is going to be now that you’re reopening as part of COVID,” Terry says.

The Saint Francis University Small Business Development Center works with Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Somerset, Fulton, and Huntingdon counties. Because the department is a funded program, all of the services they provide are free of charge.

The SBDC has been helping businesses long before the pandemic came about. “We have consultants that can assist with normal operations, questions on marketing, finances, and loan assistance,” Terry says. “We have students that are working with us and helping businesses with their websites, social media marketing, and marketing material development. We are also a large referral resource. We have a huge network of resources that we can refer businesses to, as well.”

As a business owner, being prepared for change is very important. Although the pandemic has negatively impacted many businesses, it can be viewed as a chance to innovate and find new ways to do business. “In times of crisis is when you really have an opportunity to look at how you’re doing things,” says Terry.

The SBDC will be partnering with Altoona Launchbox to develop virtual webinars over the next two months. These webinars will specifically work with businesses on innovative marketing, adapting your business model, and effectively marketing post-COVID to ensure they remain competitive and sustainable.

If you’re interested in business assistance, contact Terry at (814) 472-3115 or anderson@francis.edu.

Learn more about the Saint Francis Small Business Development Center at francis.edu/sbdc/.

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