Business Resources

Local Resources for Businesses

The Winneshiek County Attorney’s Office has outlined important procedures to follow when accepting checks to better protect your business. If your business has received bad checks, contact your local police department.

​As business moves more and more online, it’s important to keep yourself safe. Use these cybersecurity strategies to keep your business and your personal information secure.

The DACC is a member of the Emergency Management Team serving as the liaison for businesses during a disaster. In a disaster, it is important to have a plan. This simple document can make all the difference if a disaster were ever to strike.

The City of Decorah requires a permit to conduct business in the residential district according to the City of Decorah’s zoning code Section 17.16.090.

As technology advances, the opportunity for counterfeit currency to circulate improves. Always know what to look for to protect yourself from losing out on real money!

Accidents are a part of life, but when they happen in your business it’s important to gather as much information as possible to protect everyone involved. Provide your employees with this simple incident report and make sure they utilize the document any time an incident occurs, even when it appears minor. You never know when a simple fall could become something much worse.

When it is time to start a new business venture or expand an existing one, it is important to have enough capital. The Chamber can connect businesses to opportunities and offers its own revolving loan program, backed by the USDA. For more information, please call the Chamber at 563-382-3990


Work on Your Business

Winneshiek County Development and Tourism (WCDT) and Decorah Area Chamber of Commerce (DACC) have teamed up to bring strategies to help small businesses in the wake of social distancing. Now is the time to work on your business, especially if you cannot work in your business.
  • If your business is able to stay open, publish a commitment to public health and outline actions for ensuring a clean facility and healthy staff. Have hand sanitizer available for customers and latex gloves available for employees.
  • Start, maintain, and enhance business web pages, online shopping opportunities, and social media presence.
  • Keep customers updated on new experiences or products you’ll offer when conditions improve. Can you offer “How-To” or “What’s New” videos to engage with your customers? Maybe a behind-the-scenes tour while you are closed. Just make it FUN. Check out the Facebook Live event Modish did with their products!
  • Develop customer membership programs, such as “subscribe and save” on delivery or pickup of coffee beans, fresh produce, etc.
  • Develop online shopping list services. For example, many grocery stores offer grocery pickup or delivery to customers who submit shopping lists online.
  •  Offer digital services and support to virtually sell, answer questions, and provide customer service.
  • Keep it lively! Offer trivia nights via Livestream and provide virtual tours of your shop. Follow The Courtyard & Cellar to see how they do Trivia Night.

Is working from home new to you? Or, maybe you are struggling with the lack of social interaction or lack of structure. Check out these great resources to help you succeed while working from home. Videos by Kathie Rotz of Unity Consulting.

Learn more about your industry, growing a business, and how to lead.

Do you know that feeling when you return from a really impactful professional training? Where you are motivated and can’t wait to implement the new things you just learned? You can still get that feeling; there is so much information to glean from books, podcasts, or seminars. Online training and webinars are popping up daily. If you belong to an industry association check in with them. Find out what your peers are doing and do your own R & D … rip off and duplicate!

  • Books on Leadership, Communication, Marketing, Entrepreneurship
  • Podcasts
  • Virtual Training from the Library Check your favorite associations for virtual alternatives!
  • Increase and Update Your Skillset Have you always wanted to learn photography to better market your products? Or maybe you need help organizing your information. Or you’ve always wanted to perfect your bread making. Maybe you need a refresher in Quickbooks or to learn how to set up and update your website so you don’t have to hire it out. Heck, maybe you’ve wanted to pick back up the guitar. You’ve got time on your hands, it’s the perfect excuse to learn a new skill.
  • If you follow local professionals, watch their videos and tutorials. Check out Photography by Brittany and The Decorah Public Library:
    • Photography 101: Virtual Party! hosted by Photography by Brittany
    • Apply for an Online Account at the Decorah Public Library
      • In an effort to make their electronic materials available to even more residents, the staff at Decorah Public Library has created an online form for applying for an account.
      • To apply for an account:
        1. Visit
        2. Click on the bright orange button that says “Request A Library Card.”
        3. Further instructions will be emailed to you once your account is created.
    • Connect to Free WiFi at the Decorah Public Library
      • In order to help those folks who don’t have regular access to the internet; the Decorah Public Library invites community members to park in the parking lot to connect to Free WiFi. Communicate and download your reading materials.
        • The WiFi name is: Dec_Library_public
        • The password is: metronet
Implement Systems
Tackle that Project 
  • We all have projects that we have been putting off. They may seem to be too much time, and energy or they will be too disruptive to business. Well, now that you’re out of excuses, it might be the perfect time to do it. Think of how good you’ll feel when it’s done. And it could be a nice distraction.
    • Update your website
    • Launch an e-commerce site
    • Reorganize your office or store layout
    • Upgrade computer systems

Form a different perspective about your business. Look at your company as if it was someone else’s:

  • What advice would you give them?
  • How does your customer see your business?
  • What suggestions might they have for you?
  • If you were to start all over; would you do anything differently?
  • Are there things that you are doing that don’t provide value?
  • ​Are there things that could be added that would create value?
  • Speak up—Keep communicating with your customers and supporters and other businesses.
    • Let your customers know how they can support you during this time. Continue to post to your social media and send out e-newsletters. They want to hear from you.
    • Communicate with other businesses. Check in with your peer group. See what other people are doing, communicate and collaborate. Network and connect through phone, e-mail or online business groups and virtual meet-ups. Don’t let the isolation bear down on you. It’s nice to reconnect and realize that other businesses are facing the same challenges you are. Use telecommunication resources like Zoom, Facetime, GoogleHangouts, or even just call them on the phone.
    • Utilize our local social media groups to check in and see how other businesses are doing.
  • ​Collaborate and Share Resources—Look for collaborations. Are there ways you can partner with other businesses and pool resources? Could you barter services during this time? Maybe you have a knack for accounting or a flair for design that another business may be lacking but they could provide you with marketing or technical support.
  • Get creative—Are there other ways that you can provide value to your customers? Can you offer services or inventory in a different way? Could you offer online training or sales, virtual updates, delivery options, or classes? Now is the time to step out and try something different. You’ve got nothing to lose and could potentially have a lot to gain. A great example could be to share and promote certain items online via Facebook or Instagram Live—people will love to see you and often items sell out quickly with the personal touch!
  • Support Others—What will you have wished that you had done with this time looking back? Are there opportunities that you can support or offer your time to organize? Everyone is going to be feeling the effects of this. Reach out to local nonprofits or check in with at-risk populations in your community if you have something to offer. The Decorah and Winneshiek Co. Mutual Aid Network is a great place to submit your offer of assistance.
  • Breathe—Things are tough now, but nothing is permanent. Take a step back. It can be overwhelming and scary; so much uncertainty. Take some time away from the business. Connect with family and friends. Reconnect with nature. Meditate. Get some rest. Take care of yourself and your body. Know that you are doing everything you can and understand that some things are outside your control. Most importantly, know that you are not alone; everyone is feeling uncertain. No one knows what the future holds. Prepare as much as you can so that when it does bounce back; you’ll be ready, stronger than ever.