The Time to Lead is Now: A Business Community Update from the Buffalo Niagara Partnership


Our local businesses are struggling right now. The Buffalo Niagara Partnership (BNP) surveyed the Buffalo community to better understand the challenges they’re facing. And Leadership Buffalo asked Dottie Gallagher, BNP’s President and CEO, to talk about their findings and ways their organization is helping.

Challenges Facing Local Businesses

The Buffalo Niagara Partnership collected details about the status of local Buffalo businesses through their COVID-19 Business Impact Survey. The survey results showed that there are multiple concerns local businesses are managing.

Many are worried how their recent decline in sales and cash flow will affect the longevity of their business. Additionally, they are concerned about the physical and mental health of their employees as they return to work. For many, these concerns will dictate their ability to stay open or reopen. Smaller businesses are at more risk and were more concerned than larger businesses.

You can read the complete findings here

Building a Recovery Plan

As businesses work to overcome these challenges, it’s important for them to develop a recovery plan. The recovery plan should include details on how businesses will adapt the services they provide to a COVID community. It should also include the way the businesses will adhere to the community’s health protocols and enforce mask wearing and social distancing.

For customer-facing organizations, ensure that there is signage that clearly describes the new health and safety protocols. Provide employees with the verbiage and tools to enforce the new protocols and respectfully push back against customers who don’t comply. If a customer refuses to comply, be sure to support the employee in the disagreement.

In addition to planning for company changes in relation to the pandemic, it’s also wise to build equity into the recovery plan. If an organization is restructuring and hiring new people, ensure that steps are being taken to attract diverse candidates. Require current employees to complete diversity and inclusion assessments and training to increase knowledge and help foster a culture of inclusion.

You can find more resources for building a reopening plan on the Buffalo Niagara Partnership’s website:

How the Community Can Help

Support and action from the community are necessary for local businesses to success in this new normal. There are a few ways the community can help:

Support local It may seem obvious but is worth emphasizing. Support local restaurants, shops, professional servicers, day care centers, vendors, etc. Buy locally made products or locally grown foods when possible as well.

Pass it on. Share resources with the local businesses you visit regularly to ensure that they are complying and have the support they need.

A positive community response will help to ensure that local businesses will be able to thrive in our new normal.