Staying Positive Following Layoff Announcement


One of the toughest challenges that every business in our region must confront at some point is a layoff announcement in our mining community. These events can really shake up consumer confidence and cause people to hold back on their spending, even if they need and want to purchase your products or services. With the uncertainty of what comes ahead with Cleveland-Cliffs’ recent announcement to temporarily idle their Northshore Mining facilities in Babbitt and Silver Bay, we must remember we have faced these challenges before, and we will persevere. Cleveland-Cliffs has committed to taking care of its employees with unemployment, sub-pay, and benefits during the temporary layoff.  For local businesses that are impacted by this announcement, there are some steps you can take to help keep your business steady during this challenging time.


Review your budget

Reviewing your budget can help you find areas where you can cut back and save money. Look at your expenses – like excess supplies or a potential large purchase that can wait —and look for ways to scale back where possible. Start talking with your suppliers now so you are prepared to make any adjustments along the way. Looking over your spending habits and streamlining things is a good place to start preparing for uncertainty.


Think outside the box

Stay positive. People see you’re confident and that you can deal with obstacles in a calm way, so they will seek you out to do business with your company. You’ll be seen as someone who can lead others through tough times, and it will go a long way toward helping you get through challenging times as well.


Have an open mind about new ideas

In every industry, it’s important to stay open-minded about new ideas, markets, and products. It’s possible that you will be approached with an idea that seems outrageous or even contradictory to your goals; however, if you can keep an open mind and take a chance on something truly different, it may pay off in unexpected ways. Take a moment to consider whether making some changes could be beneficial for everyone involved. Find ways to collaborate with other businesses to take advantage of shared risk, multiple customer pools, marketing opportunities, and create new ideas together. Community problem solving is how we forge ahead. Remember: necessity is the mother of invention.


Look into new opportunities

Sometimes, economic uncertainty can open doors and may tempt you to seek new opportunities that weren’t previously accessible. If you’re under-employed or unemployed, a difficult economy might mean you have more time to explore your own business ideas. Or, maybe your situation will create an opportunity to be a more proactive member of your community. Identify potential opportunities for growth, and don’t be afraid to act on them!


Collaborate with your neighbors

No matter what type of business you own, you should find partners that help keep each other afloat. Asking another business owner if he or she will buy your products is one good example of how two businesses can work together and stay afloat. Remember to BUY LOCAL FIRST.


We support mining – and small business.

Mining has supported the Mesabi Iron Range’s economy for 130 years. In that time, many small businesses have evolved and grown along with it. Small business owners have a strong, vested interest in seeing their communities grow and prosper. The reason the decisions of our mining community ripple so far in our region is not simply because the mines employ thousands, but the adjacent businesses that supply the mines are disproportionately affected. Half of all small businesses hold less than a month in cash reserves. 80% of the Laurentian Chamber membership is comprised of businesses with fewer than 20 employees. We know small business. This chamber community has worked together to support one another since its inception and will continue to be a voice for our members with whatever comes ahead.