“How Native Business Owners Can Manage During COVID-19”

“…A chat with expert Tracy Stanhoff,of the American Indian Chamber of Commerce. Stanhoffhosts free webinars aimed at Native business owners dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.” R. Tupica, Native News Online.Net

Tracy Stanhoff-President

Excerpt: How Native Business Owners Can Manage During COVID-19, By Rich Tupica, Native News Online.Net

“Tracy Stanhoff of the American Indian Chamber of Commerce hosts free webinars aimed at Native business owners dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is the third in a series of Q&A profiles spotlighting both established Native American business owners and emerging entrepreneurs who are working through the pandemic. Native News Online shares their story, including how they became the person they are today and how they’re coping with the COVID-19 crisis. If you have a suggestion for a person we should profile, please email rich@indiancountrymedia.com

Being a small-business owner when the economy is strong is often a challenge—surviving through a pandemic turns that into an uphill battle not everyone will survive. 

Luckily, during trying times, there are experts like Tracy Stanhoff, president of American Indian Chamber of Commerce of California, who are offering advice and support to Native business owners across the country.
Back in 1988, she founded AD PRO, a firm located in Huntington Beach, California. The company is a full-service advertising, graphic design and branding firm with clientele that includes everything from Fortune 500 corporations and Tribal enterprises, to government entities and small businesses.

Stanhoff, who is also a former Tribal Chair of Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, chatted with Native News Online about what entrepreneurs can do to weather the storm and be prepared for the post-Coronavirus economy.

NATIVE NEWS: In response to COVID-19, there are some new financial resources available through the Small Business Administration (SBA). What should people know about those?


Tracy Stanhoff: One important thing is, there’s a lot of fraud in the loans right now. Just go through the SBA portal and go to your local bank that you use already. There are a lot of people sending e-mails out saying they are loan brokers for the Small Business Administration, and they’re not. Once you get a loan, document, document, document your uses of the money. You need to do that so you can get it forgiven under the regulations they have. 

NATIVE NEWS: If someone is a new Native business owner, what would you tell them right now?

Tracy Stanhoff: For new businesses, I’d say, ‘Good luck.’ I don’t mean to sound flippant or rude, but when you’re first starting up, there are a lot of challenges— I couldn’t imagine just starting a restaurant during this time. It’s never easy, even when the economy is doing well… So, for new businesses, I’d say, just hang in there or reevaluate what you’re doing, because there might not be tomorrow for you.

NATIVE NEWS: For those looking to be proactive in saving their business, what would you recommend?

Tracy Stanhoff: I’d encourage everyone to join our chamber’s weekly webinars. There are several facets, but one of them is (about) what you can do to stop the bleeding and see where access to capital is going to be. So we’ve worked with the SBA, and the states and the feds to help provide input into the program and stimulus packages that are out there now for Indian Country.


NATIVE NEWS: Your chamber webinars are hosted on Zoom, is anyone able to join in?

Tracy Stanhoff: People are from all over the country. Our California chamber really has a national presence, and it has for a long time… We’re just trying to help anyone we can and we share information. If somebody’s been through something, they’ll reach out and give advice—and we’re open to it. And, it’s nice to be able to connect with people right now, we’re all sitting at our houses so it’s good to be human.

NATIVE NEWS: Where do people goto join these chamber meetings?


Tracy Stanhoff: Go to our website aiccal.org, or follow me on Facebook, I post info on there.

NATIVE NEWS: Face masks, gloves and hand sanitizer are in demand, what would you say to someone looking to pivot in that direction?

Tracy Stanhoff: “There are some opportunities happening now to support the COVID fight. For instance, we just had a webinar on supply chain management: what can be sold to the government and what cannot….Also, what irks me is, I’ve heard people say, ‘Tribes don’t have to follow rules and regulations as strictly as hospitals,’ or whatever. Well, we better! With the liability that you sell something to somebody on a reservation that’s not good, and they think it’s good, and then they expose people — that’s traumatic and negligent…”

Resource Sites for the COVID-19:

INDIAN COUNTRY TODAY:

COVID-19 Tracker in the United States: Story summaries, lists of closures, resources. Last update 04/24/20   Information Here

COVID-19 financial strain? Here are resources in 50 states Federal and state services include monetary and food assistance, unemployment benefits, and more. The National Retail Federation also has over 70 corporations looking for workers.

COVID-19 online resources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Basic information.

Indian Health Service

National Congress of American Indians

National Indian Health Board

For The Kiddies:

Former First Lady Michelle Obama-Reading to Children

Michelle Obama Is Reading Books to Children Stuck at Home, By Mariel Padilla

“Michelle Obama read one of her beloved children’s books aloud on Monday, live streaming to hundreds of thousands of people stuck at home. The virtual story time was the first in a four-week series called “Mondays with Michelle Obama.”

In partnership with PBS Kids, Penguin Young Readers and Random House Children’s Books, Ms. Obama, the former first lady, said she would share some of her favorite children’s books, provide an opportunity for children to practice their reading and give families a much-needed break during the coronavirus pandemic.”

Join me, @PBSKIDS, and @penguinrandom for read-alongs on Mondays at 12pm ET Facebook and YouTube!  https://twitter.com/pbskids/status/1251196381840187395 …

Be Smart…Be Safe!