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A playbook for any crisis
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  • Greater Memphis Chamber 
  • RAE Creative – website design and development

The Greater Memphis Chamber has been a strong advocate and partner for Memphis businesses, passionate about delivering jobs, investment and opportunity to the Mid-South region. A group of seasoned, experienced, seen-it-all directors and members were still forced to grapple with an unexpected challenge that began in 2020, the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic. That is where our work began. 


The Greater Memphis Chamber and Wilson Public Relations collaborated on the launch of Small Business Resiliency, an online and print playbook designed to help small businesses not only survive disruptions, but prosper through them.

Using the PROSPER acronym, each chapter of the playbook addresses key aspects of doing business and steps to take that encourage continuity amid disruption: Perspective and Refocus, Operations, Systems, People, Engagement, and Resiliency. 

Each section contains guidance proven by statistics and trends, as well as input from successful business owners in Memphis. Further resources and helpful tools relating to each facet are also included.

Drawing insights from some of the city’s top business minds, our goal in shaping the Small Business Resiliency Playbook was to create a dynamic, evergreen tool that any small- or medium-sized enterprise could consult time and again, for dilemmas, transition periods, and crises both large and small. 

The result was a resource that can unleash the innate power of any enterprise to PROSPER and indeed endure – whatever the next major change brings.



We leveraged and engaged in extensive research with subject matter experts throughout Memphis to gauge the local business impact of the pandemic. The World Economic Forum suggested Memphis had 24% fewer small businesses open in 2021 than it did in 2020. To help the small business community proactively brace itself for the next crisis or disruption, Wilson Public Relations sought to create resources that could be applied to a variety of situations, ranging from internal management issues to external industry challenges.

First, media outreach was a strong component of the holistic public relations plan. Mentions were secured in the Memphis Business Journal, Inside Memphis Business, Local 24 Memphis, The Daily Memphian, and The Commercial Appeal. Additionally, cityCURRENT shared a podcast feature.


The Greater Memphis Chamber released their Small Business Resiliency Playbook, serving as a guide for small businesses navigating the uncertainty brought on by the ongoing pandemic and other environmental factors.

The Playbook is available online, on a website we helped shape in partnership with RAE Creative, or in a downloadable format, and it is written to help small business owners not just survive, but thrive amidst disruption. 

The content was built around conversations that happened when the Chamber invited a group of Memphis-based small business owners to come together to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on their businesses. Responding to the challenge, “there is no playbook,” the group invited and secured experts in their fields to share best practices.

While it can be difficult to quantify the impact of the Playbook, several actions were studied:

Advocacy as a measure of success: This encompasses what contributors can do or promote via their own social media accounts. Project contributors consisted of local business experts in a variety of industries. 

Their shares and commentary on the project expanded upon traditional media outreach and shared the Playbook in a more organic way, thus reaching a wider segment of the intended audience.

Adaptation by local small business incubators: The Chamber is a supporter of Small Business, hence its dedication to creating this Playbook. The tool was introduced at its Annual Chairman’s Luncheon, which is attended by the region’s most prominent business leaders. Small Business Council events and Women’s Business Council events were also used as promotion for the guide. 

Webinars connected small business leaders with the tools they need from the Playbook, especially during a time where social distancing was still prevalent. Partner organizations, such as Society of Entrepreneurs, introduced the Playbook to their members. Epicenter and its Next Big Thing competition also referenced the Playbook. 

To boot, many members and community organizations continue to reference and link to the Playbook in their communications to this day.