Small Press Bit of Advice 7: How to Best Maintain a Press during the Covid-19 PandemicAugust 31, 2020
Months later, and the pandemic continues…
Which means many public events still need to be cancelled…
Attending “trade shows” remains a key component of many businesses, large and small and those in between. To cite one example, my best friend from my undergrad days works for a family company, manufacturing exceptional quality dental instruments for human and non-human patients alike. He went into this work right after graduation, logging many thousands of miles on the nation’s interstates each year, with me occasionally tagging along for moral support or because I just had some extra time to get away and see more of the country with an old friend. In those early days, his parents – his dedicated, instrument-making father, and talented, office-managing mother – sometimes went along to these “shows,” too.
And now, this friend of mine recently acknowledged that these past months have represented the longest straight period that he’s been in his home city, and not out “on the road” at dental conventions, since before he and I ever met. True, he’s had some time to work on projects – plenty of alterations to his home, including remodeling and painting and expanding bookshelves – he remains as much of a book junkie as I am, but that’s not the issue here.
The issue is that he, like I, has not had the opportunity to head out and about to sell in person: to interact with old road friends (lots of different businesses contribute to his industry, including both competitors, plus folks who sell surprisingly comfortable office and dental chairs, among hundreds of other products and services), to greet former clients, to shake hands and speak with potential new clients, to visit landmarks and curiosities in different cities and states. Plenty of folks do not get the chance to learn just how social a small business can be, during all the ongoing and necessary concern about social distancing (actually bodily distancing: social distancing to me more often refers to what folks do with their “smart” phones). Granted, this friend now has a staff of his own (I could only dream of that!), and his parents, the pioneers of his company, have moved on (his mother, a dear and lovely old friend who always welcomed me and various others into her home, died some years back, and his father has retired to another state, to live with his other son).
So, what do we do now…? Those new bookshelves have been completed, and last I knew, this friend has also finished his bathroom and kitchen work. I look forward to visiting his home again, but that raises the related question of when it might again be safer for travel.
And the answer remains… we try and engage as best we can, with old clients and potential new ones alike. Here my friend has a notable advantage, since he has decades of experiences behind his work now, and I’m still not just on my own but also envious of his having employees. If you perused the “Meet the Folks at Stone Ring Press” link above, then you might have gotten the erroneous notion that I’m fortunate to benefit from some talented individuals, but it’s more accurate to describe them as having participated in the creation of Stone Ring Press and helped me get my start, but that they now have their own obligations and interests. That part of the SRP web site is my tribute to them.
So… let’s offer similar tributes where we can: to those who believe in us, and help us, and, once in a while, even buy from us. Please stay safe, everyone. Keep wearing masks and staying apart (as emotionally trying as that has gotten after almost a year!) and waiting until we get to shake hands and hug and do business in person as well as online…
– Editor Ed –