As with most other enterprises, at-home businesses have also had to embrace new practices to carry on with work during the COVID-19 pandemic. On September 25, the Sammamish Chamber of Commerce held a virtual roundtable to hear how businesses in the area were doing. Those who participated reported they were adapting well and even seeing advantages to doing business remotely.
Deb Sogge, the chief executive officer at the Chamber, was joined by Jennifer Bromberg, a Financial Planner at Financial Reserve, Nan Gordon, a real estate agent at John L. Scott, and Susan Ursino, a recently retired life insurance agent. Dawn Sanders, a life coach at her namesake company, Sanders Coaching Team, moderated the hour-long discussion.
Bromberg was the first to share her thoughts on managing her financial planning business from home.
“I am enjoying Zoom,” she said. “I am actually able to meet clients that are much further away than I was before. Everyone is kind of used to this now after so many months, and oddly enough it has been a seamless transition.”
After working at Financial Reserve in Bellevue for three years, Bromberg has found that meeting clients is far easier virtually than traveling to meet in person.
“The client relationships I do not feel have suffered at all being virtual,” Bromberg said. “I am getting just as deep and uncovering things just as well as in person.”
Sanders, the life coach, revealed that connections over the phone and video have facilitated deeper connections between her and her clients as well. She concurred with Sogge that contacting and communicating with businesses over the phone has been successful.
Some businesses have matched, or even exceeded, their revenue from last year.
The life insurance agency which Ursino retired from has done as much business as they had done the year before.
Likewise, Gordon at John L. Scott has benefited from a continuous surge in the housing market. She noted that communicating with buyers has been easier than ever before.
Everyone seemed to love the new operating model.
“Now that I am all virtual, the door has flooded open, and showed me that this is going to be part of my practice going forward,” said Bromberg.
After seven months in this new reality, every business in the community has been forced to adapt and make do with the situation at hand. And for the foreseeable future, Zoom meetings and phone calls are here to stay. Ursino summed it up prophetically.
“This is the way we communicate now, this is the way of the world,” she said. “Even when we go back to being able to meet face to face, this is still going to be a part of how we do things.”