Pictured above Chris Wolowitz, vice president, Shore Business Solutions during a Zoom Cannata Report interview with the executive team of Shore Business Solutions.
With COVID-19 shuttering brick-and-mortar establishments across the U.S. and the globe, business is anything but usual right now. Many companies have chosen to hit the pause button until this crisis blows over. However, for New Jersey-based Shore Business Solutions, owners George Krebs, president, and Chris Wolowitz, vice president, aren’t idling; they’re using this time to ramp up.
On Friday, March 13, Shore Business was well ahead of its first-quarter goals, with the company’s recent efforts to further penetrate their existing printer repair business with new products and services well underway. After a banner 2019, where the company posted over 30% organic growth, purely driven by new ideas and selling opportunities, 2020 goals were set high and Shore’s team was delivering.
By Monday, March 16, the brakes were on. As the pandemic spread, the northeast U.S. had reached a consensus that closing non-essential workplaces was the best method to slow the rate of coronavirus infections. Krebs and Wolowitz responded quickly by instituting all safety precautions in their Wall Township office, including only allowing two to three employees in the office at once, and halted all in-person customer contact.
In the flurry of quick decision-making, Krebs and Wolowitz sat down and made a pivotal choice: They would stick with their 2020 plans to continue investing through this crisis by bringing their existing employees up to speed with new training and certifications, as well as welcome three new sales representatives on March 30.
“We’re making the best of a bad situation,” said Krebs. “We recognize that may become more of a challenge as this goes on, but I think when this is over, and if we marshal our creativity and our efforts the way I know we can, we’re going to be in a great position when the green flag comes down again. We’re trying to maximize in a very dire situation here. We’re in good shape, we are O.K. Every day presents a new challenge, of course, and who knows what tomorrow will bring, but right now, we’re full speed ahead.”
Energized by their leaders, Shore’s employees are actively engaged in continuing education to bolster their technology and service credentials. Since Wolowitz joined Shore Business Solutions 15 months ago, the company has been in high gear, expanding quickly, and this crisis has given staff a moment to step back to focus on personal and career development.
“This is going to make us stronger,” said Wolowitz. “I believe it, George believes it, and our employees believe it. We’re not kicking a stone around in the parking lot. When this lifts we’re going to get out there faster and harder than a lot of organizations we encounter out there.”
Danielle Wolowitz, director of business operations, formerly of Kyocera Document Solutions America, as well TCR 2015 Women Influencer cover honoree and Chris’ wife, is leading Shore’s employee development, as well as marketing and operations initiatives.
“My motto is train, train, train, and when you think you’ve trained enough, train some more,” said Danielle.
Every day, Shore employees are taking advantage of online sessions on various topics offered by in-house leaders and the company’s OEM partners. Sharp, one of Shore’s key business partners, is offering educational sessions each day at 10 a.m., 12 p.m., 2 p.m., and 4 p.m. ET. Kyocera, Shore’s other primary supplier, is also offering specialized training and customized one-on-one opportunities. Both OEMs are shrewdly using this opportunity to broaden the knowledge base within the dealerships they service.
Shore continues to hold staff meetings at the end of every week to check in not only on how things are going on a professional level but also a personal level. Several employees have family members who are employed in the medical field in New Jersey, which has been one of the hardest-hit areas in the U.S.
“We have a lot of people who are directly connected to this [pandemic], and we want to be sure everyone is safe and healthy, and that we’re doing everything we can do to help,” said Danielle.
While only three people are allowed in the office at a time, Shore is also taking this time to renovate its offices. Offices are being freshened up with new paint, a renovated supply room, and a new breakroom.
“We have not furloughed or laid off anyone,” said Danielle. “We’re taking it week by week and that’s the commitment we’ve made to the staff. We also committed we would do whatever we could in our power to keep them working for as long as possible.”
Krebs, Chris, and Danielle Wolowitz are not looking at this Great Pause as a crisis but rather an opportunity. Rather than focusing on short-term challenges, they are taking a long view and committing to growth.
“It’s the hardest thing in the world for any salesperson to stay in and train when you want to sell,” said Chris. “But we’re building our foundation at this time.”
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