Keeping businesses afloat during shutdown

Sue Curran, a Northeast Philadelphia resident who runs SC Staffing & Consulting, has had to pivot her own business during shutdown, and is coaching other businesses on how to do the same.

When the world went into shutdown last spring, Sue Curran knew she just lost one-third of her business just like that. Curran has been the owner of SC Staffing & Consulting for 13 years, and a major role of the business was to set up conventions that were all abruptly canceled in a socially distanced world. 

Ten months later, Curran is still facing similar issues. SC also remotely helps companies hire temporary and permanent employees and has been able to continue to do so, though even that has had much less opportunity as companies are hiring less during the shutdown.

“It’s been very, very quiet, and we’re just doing all these steps to try to increase business,” Curran said.

The small business is situated in Center City and has a staff of four employees. Curran is hopeful things turn around in the near future, and knows firsthand many small businesses are undergoing similar struggles. She offers advice to other businesses to stay afloat, such as helping restaurants rotate their schedules so they don’t have to lay off employees or helping to bolster the online presence for other businesses.

Curran also works closely with Philadelphia businesses as a business coach for Community College of Philadelphia’s Power Up Your Business Program, and as the chapter lead for the Joseph’s People career services nonprofit at St. Albert’s. Curran has coached 20 businesses across Philadelphia, including five or six based in the Northeast.

Curran works with business owners one-on-one to come up with specific solutions for each company, but she has some advice for all businesses struggling during the shutdown: be creative and use this time to plan for the future. 

“Think of things you could be doing now that would pay off in a few months,” Curran said, mentioning a business she had recently helped taking the time to create an online database for their customers, a project that would take a few months.

Curran also recommends getting involved in programs such as Power Up Your Business and Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, which helps small business owners network and grow.

“We’re going to come out of this, so you have to be as strong as you possibly can be and laying out the foundation right now,” Curran said.