All posts tagged venango chamber

How to Work On Your Business When You Can’t Work In Your Business

Your customers are being told to only leave for necessities, your employees are working from home, and you’re looking around an expanse of open space in what used to be a bustling business. What do you do when you can no longer function as the business you’ve always been? Use this time to work on your business, not in it. 

If you are looking for a partner at this time, (someone to help you navigate the uncertainty, help you get your technology updated so you can work remote, or just a peer to reach out to and collaborate with) check our Membership Directory!

Professional Development  

Learn more about your industry, growing a business, and how to lead. You know that feeling you have when you come back from a really good professional training? Where you are motivated and can’t wait to implement the new things you just learned? You can still get that feeling; there is so much information to glean from books, podcasts or seminars.  

TED Talks for Business Owners
10 TED Talks for Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs
10 Must-See TED Talks for Entrepreneurs
The Most Inspirational TED Talks for Small Business Owners

Top 25 Business Podcasts for Entrepreneurs

See what your local library has to offer! The Oil Region Library Association has resources for businesses like:
Gale Business: Plan Builder pw: pl2612
Gale Courses pw: pl2612
Job & Career Accelerator
As well as other resources to keep active and minimize cabin fever like OverDrive (eBooks, eAudio), Kanopy (streaming), etc. Visit their website for more information or email with questions.

Update Your Skillset

Have you always wanted to learn photography to better market your products? Or maybe you need help organizing your information, or you’ve always wanted to perfect your bread making.  Maybe you need a refresher in Quickbooks or to learn how to set up and update your website so you don’t have to hire it out. Heck, maybe you’ve wanted to pick back up the guitar. You’ve got time on your hands, it’s the perfect excuse to learn a new skill.


Implement Systems 

Systems can be great for your business. They help you to respond faster, not have to duplicate processing over and over, batch tasks, and can help you run more efficiently.  

• Set up email auto-responses
• Create checklists for repetitive tasks
• Organize your physical and digital files
• Update your customer databases
• Clean out your inbox
• Set up online recurring payments

Tackle That Project 

You know, the one you’ve been avoiding. We all have projects that we have been procrastinating about that we mean to do. They may seem to be too much time, energy or they will be too disruptive to business. Well, now that you’re out of excuses, it might be the perfect time to do it.  Think of how good you’ll feel when it’s done. And it could be a nice distraction.

• Update your website
• Launch an e-commerce site
• Reorganize your office or store layout
• Upgrade computer systems

Looking for someone to help develop your website, someone to provide legal guidance, or any other partner in this time? Check our Membership Directory!

Find a Mentor

It’s nice to get the perspective of someone who’s been there. And while you’ll probably be bereft of finding someone who’s gone through this exactly; you can certainly find someone who has weathered storms before. Below you’ll find a list of a few great programs for business owners or those looking to start a business. But reach out to us – we would love to connect you with someone in your field!

• Clarion University Small Business Development Center
• Small Business Jump Start

Get a Different Perspective 

Look at your company as if it was someone else’s. What advice would you give them? How does your customer see your business? What suggestions might they have for you? If you were to start all over; would you do anything differently? Are there things that you are doing that don’t provide value? Are there things that could be added that would create value?

• Send a survey out to your customers
• Create a focus group
• Reach out to your peers

Speak up  

Keep communications with your customers and supporters as well as other businesses.

• Let customers know how they can support you during this time
• Continue to post on social media and send out e-newsletters
• Communicate with other businesses; check in with your peer group
• See what others are doing and where you can collaborate
• Network and connect through phone, email, or online business groups and virtual meetups
• Use telecom resources like FaceTime, Zoom, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams and more. Let us know if you need help getting started!

Get Creative 

Are there other ways that you can provide value to your customers? Can you offer services or inventory in a different way? Could you offer online training or sales, virtual updates, delivery options, meetups or classes? Now is the time to step out and try something different. You’ve got nothing to lose and could potentially have a lot to gain.

Support Others 

What will you have wished that you had done with this time looking back? Are there opportunities that you can support or offer your time to organizing? Everyone is going to be feeling the effects of this. Reach out to your local nonprofit or check-in with at-risk populations in your community if you have something to offer. At the very least use your platform to share what others are doing.  


Things are tough now, but nothing is permanent. Take a step back sometimes. It can be overwhelming and scary with so much uncertainty. Take some time away from the business.  Connect with family and friends. Reconnect with nature. Meditate. Get some rest. Take care of yourself and your body. Know that you are doing everything you can and allow that somethings that are outside your control.  

Most importantly, know that you are not alone; everyone is feeling uncertain. No one knows what the future holds. Prepare as much as you can so that when it does bounce back; you’ll be ready, stronger than ever. 

Please let us know how we can help. We are here to support you!
Call (814) 676-8521 or email anytime.

Business Resources for COVID-19

Below you will find a list of resources from a local, state, and federal level. We will continue to update this page as new resources become available. If you know of something that should be listed here, please let us know! Contact the Chamber at 814-676-8521 or if you have any questions.

The Venango Chamber is collecting updates from local businesses. View all updates here.

The US Department of the Treasury, IRS, and the US Department of Labor announced on March 23 a plan to implement coronavirus-related paid leave for workers and tax credits for small and medium sized businesses. Find more information here.

Unsure if your business is still allowed to operate under the order from Governor Wolf on March 19? View the list of Life-Sustaining Businesses here. To request a waiver to keep your location open, submit the form found here.

View live daily briefings from the PA Department of Health for the latest news and updates on COVID-19. View their webpage here.

The CDC has developed a list of resources for businesses and employers. View their resource page here.

Governor Tom Wolf is updating his website and Facebook page with resources, press conferences, and orders. View the website here.

The U.S. Department of Labor has resources to help workers and employers prepare for the COVID-19 virus: View the COVID-19 webpage here.

The U.S. Chamber has released a comprehensive resource kit for businesses. View the kit here. 

The PA Chamber has developed a list of business resources. View their resource page here.

Updates and resources from the Franklin Area Chamber of Commerce. View their update page here.

Guidance for Businesses & Employers from the Small Business Administration (SBA). View the SBA Loan Resources page here.

The Venango County Commissioners are conducting a survey to assess the impacts of Coronavirus (Covid-19) on local business. Complete the survey here.

The PA Chamber hosted a webinar with speakers Dr. Rachel Levine and Jonathan A. Segal on March 19. View the webinar here.

How can residents help support local business?

As you know, the Governor announced recommendations intended to limit the spread of COVID-19 across PA, including a closure of dine-in services, bars, gyms, casinos, and theaters. We understand that these decisions are being made with the best interest of the health of our state, but also recognize that this has a significant and potentially devastating impact on our local businesses. This is new territory for all of us.

The Venango Chamber encourages everyone who has the means to support local at this time. Many restaurants are working hard to offer take-out and pick-up services. Find a list of business updates here.

You can also buy gift cards for later use, shop online, and share positive information on social media to spread the word about shopping local.


Chamber Welcomes Board Members

David Snedden and Greg Plowman were approved as the newest members of the Venango Chamber board of directors at the February board meeting.

David is Branch Manager of the Seneca branch of Hagan Business Machines and previously served on the Chamber board from 2011-2017, holding positions of vice chairman and chairman. Several of the initiatives David helped to bring forth are still in use at the Chamber.

Greg is with Scierka’s Tavern in Oil City, which he owns and operates with his wife Andree. Greg and his family are great supporters of the Be Here program and have hosted FLEX events and a Chamber mixer at the tavern. Greg believes the Chamber is an integral part of our County and looks forward to helping further the Chamber’s mission.

Welcome David and Greg!

Leadership Venango Holds Fourth Session: The Importance of an Educated Workforce

The 2020 class of Leadership Venango met in January at Clarion University – Venango to discuss the importance of an educated workforce.

Hope Lineman of Clarion University welcomed the class and provided an overview of the programs, and some exciting renovations that have taken place in the last few years. She also gave the class an idea of what campus life looks like for the students.

Eileen Mullen, program coordinator for Crawford County K-12 Career Education Alliance, then presented and detailed the many programs that she provides for students, including a STEM camp and mock interviews. Her programs help students understand 21st century workforce skills. She provided understanding of the importance of partnerships with the community and putting your best self forward.

Next was Taylor Snyder of eAcademy explaining the work that her students do. The class learned about the school districts involved in eAcademy and the different field trips the class goes on to learn about the community.

The day ended with Corey Christman of the Center for Victory, who spoke of the importance of understanding a multi-generational workforce and work style differences. He also discussed the levels of engagement employees have with their company and jobs, and how to get the most out of your employees through effective and compassionate leadership.

The next session will be in February at the Venango County Courthouse to discuss “Honorable Leadership.” Learn more about Leadership Venango at

This article was published in the Venango Chamber’s February 2020 VenangoWorks! Newsletter.

Connecting Businesses and Interns

Has your business ever employed an intern? Have you considered the possibility? When done right, having an intern join your staff for a few weeks or months benefits both you and the student.

Knowing where to look for an intern is often difficult, but can be just as hard for students to find internships. Connecting with the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce is a great way to get businesses connected with students who are qualified and interested in working for your business.

Nicole Alden is a Human Resources Intern at Specialty Fabrication and Power Coating (SFPC) in Franklin and a sophomore studying Human Resources at Kent State University. Nicole was not sure how to find an internship when she was coming home last summer, but before her spring term ended, she reached out to Susan Williams, President & CEO of the Venango Chamber.

“The Chamber was integral in helping me find an internship that I love.”

– Nicole Alden

The Chamber was ready to pair businesses with interns, to help both our members and students. Many students are required to have an internship in order to graduate.  For others, they are seeking income, experience, or both. In Nicole’s case, she not only fulfilled her college credit requirements, but she now has a position she hopes to continue in upcoming summers.

Among those the Chamber reached out to was the Venango County HR Group. The secretary of the HR group shared the resumes of intern candidates, provided by the Chamber, with members of the group.  The HR & Safety Manager at SFPC received the resumes and then reached out to Nicole.

Nicole was able to work with a company that not only helped her grow professionally, but also valued her ability to do work. “I was not expecting to get as much hands-on work, but I was happy to learn and work 40 hours a week over the summer, getting a meaningful experience in my field,” she said.

In a perfect internship, a business should benefit from the additional help to relieve regular staff or may accomplish special projects that are otherwise difficult to tackle. Students can bring a fresh perspective and often augment skills of other staff.

Nicole’s internship experience is an example of success that has also been realized at other businesses around Venango County. Susan Williams remarks: “The Chamber has employed interns for the last couple of decades and while reaping the benefits of increased staff, has developed great relationships with these young professionals. By providing them with a meaningful work experience, we have influenced many to see our community from a much more positive perspective.

If your business is interested in finding a summer intern or you know a student looking for an internship, contact the Chamber. Susan said: “We’d love to make an introduction between your business and a future employee.”

This article was published in the Venango Chamber’s February 2020 VenangoWorks! Newsletter.