Program designed to help small business navigate through the coming months

Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact all aspects of everyday life, small businesses face an ongoing need to adapt to rapidly changing business environments. 

“While many local businesses have successfully pivoted to meet changing needs, others are still trying to discover their best way forward,” said Tim Keohane, director of the Penn State Small Business Development Center (SBDC). “Despite our region progressing to the 'green phase' of reopening, businesses still need to be ready for continuously changing circumstances and prepared to adapt when necessary.”

To help businesses continue the ongoing work of pivoting as times change, the SBDC has developed “R3: Designing a Resiliency Roadmap for the Next 30/60/90 Days, a guided three-month program to help small business owners develop and execute a path to better business operations.

The inaugural “R3” cohort is set to meet at the following dates and times:    

  •  9 a.m. to noon Monday, June 29
  • 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Monday, July 27
  • 8 to 9:30 a.m. Monday, Aug. 24
  • 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Monday, Sept. 28

The R3 process is broken down into manageable sections over a 90-day course: Re-evaluation (day 0-30), Recovery (day 30-60), and Regeneration (day 60-90). The kickoff workshop, a three-hour intensive session, will help business owners identify key pivot(s) that will bring the biggest return on investment. 

The “Re-evaluation” phase involves reflecting on the existing business to identify inefficiencies, vulnerabilities, deficiencies, and bad habits that currently exist. “The goal of this stage is to first help businesses identify broken systems, many of which have gone unnoticed,” said Elizabeth Hay, SBDC business consultant and coordinator of R3. “We have designed a technique to help businesses objectively evaluate their procedures so they may identify areas for improvement and implement lasting change.”

To facilitate small business “Recovery,” program participants will next work with Hay and the SBDC team to develop a roadmap for the next 90 days. “With this roadmap, business owners will have a concrete, actionable guide to enacting new systems that will contribute to profitable operations,” Hay said. 

During the final phase of the program, “Regeneration,” businesses will receive individualized coaching and support as they implement and sustain their new processes. Hay notes that “The end goal is to reach a stabilizing point and start to seek a return on investment in time, impact, and money.”

Following the initial workshop, participants will receive individualized coaching and collective support in the form of cohort meetings at the 30-, 60-, and 90-day milestones.

David Lenze, director of the Smeal College of Business Applied Professional Experience Program (APEX), has contributed his experience in business strategy, strategic consulting, corporate innovation, and organizational change to the R3 program development. He said, “one benefit of the program is the opportunity for small businesses to interact with each other to share experiences in order to learn from one another.”

“By the end of the program, small business owners can expect to have gained tools and a network of support that will help them successfully navigate current and future challenges without severe business disruption," Hay said.

Interested small business owners should visit the SBDC workshop calendar to register for the free program.

About the Penn State SBDC

The Penn State SBDC provides one-on-one, confidential, no-cost business consulting and low-cost seminars to pre-venture, start-up, and existing small businesses located in Centre, Clinton, Lycoming and Mifflin counties. Funding support and resources are provided through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration; by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania through the Department of Community & Economic Development; and in part through support from Penn State and with assistance from Lock Haven University. All services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis.

Last Updated June 23, 2020