May 17, 2021

Wisconsin Business Boosts Small Businesses in Texas and Gets One in Return

The two-month project began when the Wisconsin agency responded to a request for proposal (RFP) from LiftFund in June. The vision for the program came from Tarsha Polk, director of LiftFund’s Women’s Business Center, and then became a reality once Polk and her team applied for a grant through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

“We got a flood of phone calls from business owners who had to temporarily close their doors due to safer-at-home orders and needed help,” said Polk. “Listening to all the challenges and frustrations from small business owners and really understanding what they needed is what prompted the idea for this COVID-19 Business Resiliency Program. The Payroll Protection Program (PPP) funding was only going to go so far to help these businesses and we felt they really needed more support besides just funding.”

As a Small Business Administration (SBA) resource partner, the Women’s Business Center secured a grant through the CARES Act to develop resources and programs to assist small businesses impacted by COVID-19.

“I had the vision,” Polk explained, “but I needed a firm who could help us bring it to life very quickly and professionally. When selecting an agency to produce the materials, we specifically sought out women-owned and minority-owned firms that had done great work with us before and who knew and understood our mission and Writing by Design stood out among the RFP responses for their breadth of experience in creating similar materials prior to this,” Polk said.

The request for proposals to help launch LiftFund COVID-19 Business Resiliency Program provided a much-needed boost for Writing by Design in return. As a small business, Writing by Design was also hit hard by the economic impact of COVID-19.

“We had our best first quarter on record with a 60% increase in sales, moved into a new office and had plans to hire more staff. But that all changed when the pandemic hit,” said Writing by Design President, Patti Purcell. “At the onset of the pandemic, our team began working from home. Then many of our current clients put their marketing projects on hold and we had very limited work coming in, forcing furloughs and a reduction of staff despite receiving PPP funding.”

“This project helped our agency here in Wisconsin navigate through a challenging economic time, while simultaneously helping equip small, minority-owned businesses in Texas do the same,” Purcell said.

Within two months, Purcell and her reduced staff of just two spent hundreds of hours animating and producing eight educational training videos on topics ranging from supply chain to IT, researching, writing and designing a 24-page COVID-19 business survival guide, and supporting handouts and tip sheets in both English and Spanish. The team also scripted and developed an animated video to promote the program and designed a rack card for promoting the program digitally.

“We feel grateful to have been selected by LiftFund to produce this important work,” Purcell said. “Knowing we were developing materials that could make a real difference for small business owners down in Texas made every day so much more meaningful for us. Coming to work—even though it was only virtually—and having such important purpose was very fulfilling for our small team of three.”

About LiftFund Women’s Business Center: LiftFund Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) Women’s Business Center (WBC) supports business owners, especially women and minorities, through business education and business consulting from start-up business planning to advice or training seminars. The DFW WBC is a program of LiftFund, a non-profit small business lender, and a resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration. The WBC is funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.

About Writing by Design: Founded in 2006, Writing by Design specializes in helping national and international Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) companies develop language to launch innovative new products, and assists businesses of all sizes in developing strategic and effective marketing communications from its office in Appleton, Wisconsin and the virtual home offices of its employees.

SOURCE Writing by Design

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